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Where does bullying take place?

When in 1989, children from 10 Scottish secondary schools were asked about bullying, 44% of those who had been bullied recently said that the most common place was the playground. 28% thought the classroom was the most common place. Fewer children stated that it happened travelling to and from school (particularly younger children and those travelling on the school bus), in the corridors and toilets and outside school.
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Article details

A Mellor (1997) 'Bullying in Scottish Secondary Schools', SCRE Spotlight, Number 23. Available from the Anti-Bullying Network and to download online here.
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Graph details

'Where does bullying usually take place? (Pupils' responses)' taken from the above article, table 5.

'Where does bullying usually take place? (Victims' responses)' taken from the above article, table 6.

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Author details

Andrew MellorAt the time of the study, Andrew Mellor was a practising teacher who had received funding from the Scottish Education Department to carry out this project. He has been actively involved in anti-bullying work in Scotland for almost 15 years, speaking at conferences, writing for academic and non-academic audiences and running in-service courses for teachers. He is now manager of the Anti-Bullying Network, which is funded by the Scottish Executive and based at The University of Edinburgh.

A study which looked at bullying in English and German primary schools found that in both countries, the playground was by far the most common location for bullying. In England, the classroom was the next most common place. It was much more likely to be bullied there than on the way to or from school or in the corridor. In Germany, after the playground, the most common places to be bullied were in the classroom and on the way to and from school. It was far more likely be bullied in these two locations in Germany than England.
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Article details

D Wolke, S Woods, K Stanford, H Schulz (2001) 'Bullying and Victimization of Primary School Children in England and Germany: prevalence and school factors', in 'British Journal of Psychology', Volume 92, Issue 4, pages 673-696.

Over 2,000 pupils (aged 10 - 14 years) took part in a survey of bullying in England in 1997. The answers of those who had been bullied revealed that the most common place for bullying to occur was the playground (65%). It was only slightly less common to be bullied in the classroom. 37% had been bullied in the corridors or hallways. Areas mentioned less often include: toilets, changing rooms, out of lesson time clubs, gymnasia and behind the school building.
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Article details

P K Smith and Shu Shu (2000) 'What Good Schools Can Do About Bullying: findings from a survey in English schools after a decade of research and action', in 'Childhood', Volume 7, (2).
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Author details

Peter SmithProfessor Peter K Smith is Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, London. He has been involved in bullying research for a number of years and has published widely on this topic.

Peter Smith may be contacted by email, and the website of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College may be found here.

A nationwide study of bullying in Irish schools found that at primary school level, the most common location of bullying was the playground. Seventy four per cent of children bullied at primary school said that it had happened in the playground. Thirty one per cent of bullied primary school pupils said that it had occurred in the classroom. The picture was different at secondary school level, where the most common location of bullying was the classroom (47% of bullied pupils reported that it had happened in the classroom). The next most common place at secondary school level was in the corridors (37%) and then the playground (27%). Other areas of bullying in both primary and secondary schools included the changing rooms, locker areas and toilets. In boarding school locations of bullying included dormitories. Almost 20% of primary pupils who had been bullied and almost 9% of bullied secondary pupils said that it had occurred on the way to or from school.
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Article details

Mona O'Moore (no date), 'School Issues' - this article can be found on the website of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College Dublin here.

A M O'Moore, C Kirkham and M Smith (1997) 'Bullying Behaviour in Irish Schools: a nationwide study', in 'The Irish Journal of Psychology', Volume 18, Number 2, pages 141-169. Special Issue: 'Bullying Behaviour in Schools'.
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Graph details

'Percentages of victims reporting a) in which class/year were the pupils who bullied them and b) where in the school they were bullied', from the article 'Bullying Behaviour in Irish Schools: a nationwide study' (full article details above), table 10, page 153.

Primary
N=3101
Post-Primary
N=1775
(a) Class or year where the bullies were
In the victims own class 56.5 46.3
In a different class but the same year 15.3 30.8
In years above 36.4 35.6
In years below 9.5 4.5
N=3056 N=1750
(b) Where in the school they were bullied
In the corridors 7.0 37.8
In the playground 73.7 26.8
In the classroom 31.2 46.5
Other places in school 15.5 15.4

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Professor Astrid O'MooreAuthor details

Professor Astrid Mona O'Moore has been involved in extensive research into bullying in Ireland. In 1993-94, she led the first nationwide survey of bullying behaviour in Irish schools, which looked at violence between pupils and also violence between pupils and school staff. In a more recent survey, she examined workplace bullying in schools. She is Co-ordinator of The Anti-Bullying Centre, at the Department of Education, Trinity College, The University of Dublin, Dublin, The Republic of Ireland. Professor O'Moore may be contacted by email.
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