Bullying: a new approach?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBlog post


Research shows us that fundamental changes are needed to how we approach anti-bullying work – both in national policy and practice on the ground, says Dr Elizabeth Nassem.

My research has shown that bullying has become so entrenched within our schools that most pupils have learnt to accept abusive relationships with other pupils rather than challenge them (Nassem, 2017).

I have found that some pupils are beaten up, hit and kicked as they walk between lessons, some children with learning difficulties are ostracised to the point where they spend playtimes alone, and children who misbehave have spent several days in isolation, segregated from others and unsure of what they have done wrong.

I have been researching bullying – and how to resolve it – for a decade now. My work has included observations, focus groups and one-to-one interviews in schools across the North of England and the Midlands.

Unfortunately, I have not seen significant improvements in how schools resolve bullying and it remains a prevalent problem, as highlighted by the Children’s Society’s 2016 Good Childhood Report.

For substantial improvements to be made, there must be a paradigm shift in how policy-makers understand bullying and the strategies they recommend. So, what needs to change?


  • School bullying
  • policy
  • practice


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