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Estimating the prevalence of young people absent from school due to bullying

Limited rights - contact Davy Jones
Researchers: Liz Clery
Published: May 2011

Aim

This study aimed to provide an estimate of the total number of young people of secondary school age (aged 11–15) who are absent from state school because they have experienced severe bullying. 

Findings

We estimated that 16,493 of young people in this age group are absent from state secondary school as a result of bullying.

Parents cited the following reasons for frequent absence from school:

  • health (87%)
  • holidays (27%)
  • a child who did not like or was not suited to school because of teaching (20%)
  • home factors (19%)
  • and experiences of bullying (18%)

When asked for the main reason for their child’s absence, 3.4% of parents identified bullying. Even if bullying is not the main reason, it is clearly a contributory factor, especially in conjunction with health problems.

Parents of young people who were home-schooled gave the following reasons for removing their children from state schooling:

  • their child did not like or was not suited to school teaching (54%)
  • the academic or social limitations of schools (52%)
  • and experiences of bullying (43.8%)

When asked for the main reason for home-schooling, 18.4% identified bullying.

Methodology

These findings are based on responses to a postal survey questionnaire that was sent to the parents of two groups of 11-15 year olds among whom bullying was judged to be most likely to occur. Samples were selected from the National Pupil Database (for young people identified as frequently absent from school) and local authority-held registers (for young people who are home-schooled). The data was weighted to take account of the effect of some particular characteristics among the young people.

Read the report