One in three pupils bullied

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A THIRD of secondary school pupils have suffered from bullying, according to a survey published today. But the vast majority of the 4,000 11- to 16-year-olds surveyed by MORI felt their teachers were aware of problems and could do something about them.

Union leaders said it added weight to their claims that teachers spent too long on paperwork, leaving less time to deal with children's needs.

Peter Smith, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which commissioned the poll, said it was the first real indication of the strength of feeling among children. He said: "Bullying is a serious problem in schools and there is a great deal of concern about it from children and parents.".

The survey, carried out in 350 state schools across England and Wales, asked children whether teachers were aware of the fact that bullying was going on in their school. A third of children replied that their teachers were very aware, and another third said staff were fairly aware. Nine per cent said they were bullied often, and 27 per cent said they had sometimes been victims of bullying.

Asked about drugs in schools, nearly 60 per cent of pupils said staff were very or fairly aware of the problems.

Mr Smith said the survey had also revealed a "laddish culture" in classrooms, with boys declaring that they were "too cool for school". He called for primary schools to recruit more male teachers as role models, and said there was a need for more research into pupil attitudes.

Forty eight per cent of children thought girls did better, with just four per cent answering that boys had the upper hand. Of those who thought girls did better, 69 per cent thought they worked harder, 64 per cent said boys did not concentrate, 62 per cent said girls were more mature and 58 per cent said boys though schoolwork was bad for their image.

Mr Smith said interviews had supported traditional views of boys' and girls' attitudes to schooling "The message is that girls are more conscientious. They work harder and there's a great deal of macho mucking about among boys. In Cool Britannia, boys working hard at school is not cool."