Concerns about bullying and 'falling behind' as children return to school

As 10 million children prepare for the start of the new school year, many of them attending secondary schools or new classes, a study commissioned by youth welfare organization The Diana Award and the Nationwide Building Society reveals significant concerns about return to school among boys People (24%) and their parents (36%).

Almost a third (31%) of young people who are concerned fear being bullied, while 37% fear they have fallen behind in their school performance. More than a third (33%) are afraid of making new friends (33%) or reconnecting with old ones (26%) and more than a quarter (26%) are afraid of getting Covid-19, while others Fear of leaving the security of their home and home “bubble” (19%).

The survey, which was directed at 1,000 parents of 6-16 year olds and 1,000 young people aged 6-16, found that over half (58%) of parents believe that Covid-19 affects their child’s social development negatively impacted and almost a third (30%) are concerned about how their child will adapt to real life interaction after returning to school.

40% of teenagers said they had been exposed to bullying behavior in the past. Parents said that most of the cases occurred in school (80%), but this also extended to social media (22%) and text messaging services (20%). Young people confirmed the development of the problem during the lockdown with a worrying number (44%), saying that despite having practiced school activities over the past year, they felt no longer protected or protected from bullying. One in five (19%) said they had not participated in school activities (face-to-face or virtual) in the past year for fear of bullying.

Cultural events over the past 12 months have had a significant impact on young people and their parents. On the positive side, almost half (48%) of parents have recently spoken to their child about racism, while a third (33%) have talked about sexuality, disability (32%), homophobia (24%), politics (21%). ) and transphobia (14%). However, almost a third of parents (32%) have not discussed any of these issues with their child recently.

The children and adolescents surveyed stated that they feel more self-confident (23%) when they openly talk about topics such as bullying, racism, sexism and homophobia (29%), that they feel more self-confident (23%), inspired (18 %). and empowered (11%).

Kids named sports stars like Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Tom Daly and Paralympians and Olympians, alongside TV personality RuPaul, singer Ariana Grande and YouTubers like James Charles, Unspeakable and Preston, who most inspired them last 12 months – make them feel like it is okay to be themselves or to be different.

The stats come ahead of the Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society’s second annual “The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly”. This virtual event full of celebrities is beamed into it Elementary schools and homes available across the country on Monday, October 4, 2021, as well as for viewing at the Diana Award AntiBullyingPro YouTube channel.

The gathering will bring hundreds of thousands of children together and empower them to tackle bullying with a wide variety of celebrities including CBBC Newsround host De-Graft Mensah, Sky Kids FYI TV host, inspirational spokesperson and bionics model Tilly Lockey, Actors Will Poulter and Sam Retford, YouTuber and TV presenter Nikki Lilly, musician James McVey and TV personality and British Youth Mental Health Ambassador for the Department of Education Dr. Alex George.

Viewers will enjoy a variety of personal stories, messages and special performances from celebrities, as well as essential information and guidance on how to identify and deal with bullying and the support available. Celebrities will band together to invite children, teachers, parents and guardians alike to “raise their hands” and commit to ending the bullying.

This initiative is part of a pioneering three-year partnership in which the Nationwide Building Society and the Diana Award will work together to train over 10,000 young people to become anti-bullying ambassadors in elementary schools across the UK and build mutual respect.

As the UK’s largest building society, Nationwide is committed to investing and improving communities in the UK. Nationwide hopes it can use its position as a member-owned mutual and one of the UK’s largest financial services providers to support the Diana Awards’ anti-bullying campaign.

Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of the Diana Awards, said: “Millions of young people are returning to school, meeting new teachers and classmates, and overcoming the fear of finding their place in new surroundings. Add to this the significant events of the past year – both in terms of Covid-19 and the impact of cultural movements – and it’s easy to see that it’s more important than ever to ensure that young people are safe and free from harmful bullying . Last year’s Back to School campaign was a huge success and we are delighted to be working with the Nationwide Building Society to bring the Great Anti-Bullying Gathering back to thousands of young people. “

Paul Hibbs, Head of Advertising at Nationwide Building Society, said, “We are very excited to bring The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly back after a successful start in 2020 reaching 2 million elementary school children. Our partnership with the Diana Award is a great opportunity to spread the anti-bullying message and achieve our goal of training 10,000 new anti-bullying ambassadors. We hope that this next gathering will again be a great success, reaching more young people than ever before and building mutual respect across society. “

To date, the Diana Award has trained over 35,000 young people in 4,000 schools in the UK and Ireland to become anti-bullying ambassadors. This network of young people develops and shares best practices and has been trained to provide ongoing peer support to their cohort. The program, supported by the UK Ministry of Education, has received hundreds of positive endorsements in Ofsted’s school inspection reports to reduce bullying and increase safety and wellbeing.

The Diana Award offers schools across the UK their anti-bullying ambassador training free of charge. To register for training, advice, and support, visit and follow the Diana Awards social channels.

The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly by the Diana Award and the Nationwide Building Society will air in elementary schools and homes nationwide on October 4, 2021, before being made available at the Diana Award AntiBullyingPro YouTube channel. To sign up, download free resource packs and for more information visit

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