#ChangeStartsWithUs Children call for change, as poll reveals they avoid school, social media and social life to escape bullying


Children have set out their recommendations for change from tech companies, government, media, parents and schools, as a poll suggests that many of them miss school and avoid spending time with friends to escape bullying.

The survey of over 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds, published by the Anti-Bullying Alliance ahead of Anti-Bullying Week, shows the scale of bullying that children are experiencing on a day-to-day basis, with nearly a quarter (24%) saying they have been bullied once a week or more during the last six months. Nearly one child in every classroom (3%) said they are bullied every day.

One in ten children (11%) said they have missed school due to bullying. Even greater numbers have changed their route to school (14%) and nearly one in five (19%) have steered clear of spending time with friends to avoid being bullied. A similar amount (19%) have avoided social media and online gaming because of bullying, underlining how being bullied as a child can have serious repercussions, often lasting well into adulthood.

While many of the children who had been bullied said it happened in school (83%), other flashpoints included their journey to and from school (26%) and time spent online (30%).

Anti-Bullying Week, supported by O2, is urging everyone to remember that "Change Starts With Us" underlining how everyday acts like listening to young people, having a conversation, thinking about the impact of our words or stopping before hitting ‘like’ on a hurtful social media post, can all help to reduce bullying.

Children highlighted where they thought change should start, with over three quarters (76%) of those polled saying that social media and gaming platforms should do more to change the way they address bullying, and nearly half (48%) saying their schools should do more. More than four in ten (44%) of children said that the media and influencers had the power to reduce bullying. 

Three quarters (73%) of children said that adults needed to step up to help tackle the problem, and a quarter (25%) said grown-ups were not good role models for online and face-to-face behaviour. Some children reported having seen grown-ups bullying each other either in the community (10%) or online (9%). Nearly a quarter of children (23%) said their parents had not spoken to them about bullying.

Working with young people, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and O2 have published a report setting out young people’s recommendations about what we can all do to address bullying:


  • Schools and education settings must record how much bullying is taking place and understand the ‘hotspots’ where bullying is more likely to happen, such as the journey to and from school.
  • Social media and online gaming companies should set children’s default privacy settings to the highest level.
  • Media and influencers should use their power responsibly and portray real life rather than an ideal.
  • Parents and carers should attempt to understand the technology that children use, and take time to listen to children.
  • Government and parliamentarians should act as role models in how they treat each other, and fund more training for schools.
  • Children and young people should think about the impact of their words and actions.

Martha Evans, Director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, part of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

“If one in ten children have reported missing school because of bullying, we clearly have a problem. To turn this around, it’s important to bear in mind that everyone has a part to play in reducing and stemming the impact of bullying.”

“Through the publication of our ‘Change Starts With Us’ report, young people can be a catalyst for a change in the way we address bullying both face to face and online. We must work together to avoid the long-term impact that bullying can have on young people. Of course that means change on a national scale – for example, improving support online or conducting research – but it’s also about the everyday actions that each of us can take to help someone who is suffering because of bullying. That’s the idea behind ‘Change Starts With Us’, and we’re encouraging young and old to get involved.”

Ann Pickering, Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff, Chair of Responsible Business Taskforce, O2, said:

“We’re very proud to be working with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and to be adding our voice to the call to stamp out bullying once and for all. The report shows that bullying isn’t an isolated problem. It exists in many forms – in schools, in the community and online – and as a responsible business, we know we need to play our part in tackling it.

“Our own research shows that 63% of parents are worried about bullying via smartphones, and 48% don’t feel supported enough to deal with it. At O2, we continue to work hard to put resources in place to help parents and their children feel more empowered, and to have those open conversations that can help in finding a solution. Working collaboratively is the only way we’re going to tackle bullying, and we’re urging everyone from parents, young people and educators, to government, media, influencers and other tech companies to join the discussion, and make a commitment to change.”

Anti-Bullying Week is expected to be celebrated in over three quarters of schools across England between 11 to 15 November

Forming part of Anti-Bullying Week, CBeebies star Andy Day, along with his band Andy and the Odd Socks, are urging people to support Odd Socks Day on 12th November. Every year, Andy and the Odd Socks record a song and make a video inspired by the theme of Anti-Bullying Week.

This year the song is called ‘Change’ - an infectious, toe-tapping tune that brings the message to life for children. Andy is encouraging children and adults to wear odd socks to school during the campaign to show their support and raise money for a good cause.

Andy Day said:

“This is our third year working with the Anti-Bullying Alliance and each year we are seeing an increase in support for such an important issue. Encouraging acceptance of individuality at an early age can help prevent bullying later in life and raising awareness on this is crucial.

“Highlighting the important issue of bullying in a fun way, Odd Socks Day aims to not only encourage children to be themselves, accepting one another, but also aims to celebrate what makes us all unique.

“This is why we’re calling for all schools to don a pair of odd socks and get involved. We’d love your support!”

About the poll: The poll, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, surveyed 1,013 secondary school children aged 11 to 16 in the UK. The survey was conducted between 1st and 7th October 2019. The data referenced in the quote from Ann Pickering comes from a separate YouGov Plc poll of 1,021 GB parents with children aged 18 or under, conducted between 25th and 29th October 2019.

About Anti-Bullying Week 2019: Supported by O2 and co-ordinated every year by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, is urging everyone to remember that ‘Change Starts with Us’. We have worked together with young people to publish a ‘Change Starts With Us Report’ outlining their recommendations for change and what evidence there is for what works to address bullying both face-to-face and online. There are recommendations for young people, schools, government, tech companies, influencers, media and parents and carers – we all have a part to play.

During Anti-Bullying Week we will also announce winners of our awards for school staff who go the extra mile to tackle bullying.

About Odd Socks Day: On 12 November, we celebrate Odd Socks Day for Anti-Bullying Week, supported by SafeToNet. Following on the success of last year’s Odd Socks Day – which reached almost 4 million pupils – Andy Day, one of the UK’s most-loved children’s TV personalities, is once again working with the Anti-Bullying Alliance for Odd Socks Day 2019, together with his fun and fearless children’s band, Andy and the Odd Socks.

Odd Socks Day celebrates what makes us all unique and highlights the issue of bullying in a fun way.  You don’t need to spend money on a costume, simply wear your favourite odd socks to symbolize how we are all different and to encourage children to be themselves, accepting of one another and to celebrate difference.

Aimed at primary school children, Andy and the Odd Socks have created a new song and video ‘Change’, the catchy tune set to encompass this year’s theme, ‘Change Starts With Us’. 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Jo Moriani added a new event 2 hours


Overview In these difficult times it is really important that training providers work with their employers to keep as many apprentices as possible...

  • Tuesday, 14 July 2020 02:00 PM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page