Survey reveals bullying and sexting increase

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Texting. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

Texting. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

There has been a significant increase in self-harming, bullying and sexting in schools across St Helens according to a council survey.

The research found that 1-in-10 pupils in Year 10 have been asked to put undignified pictures of themselves online for the public to see.

The students that have had pictures put online said the images made them feel uncomfortable, with most of them saying they regretted sharing the them.

Around 3,400 pupils took part in the survey, which was done in schools throughout St Helens in February. The findings are now under review by a select panel that are responsible for children and young people’s services.

There are, however, some more positive findings from the report with 99% of the pupils asked saying that they brushed their teeth at least once a day. Some 95% of pupils asked also said that they had never taken drugs.

On top of that only 7% of the school kids questioned said they smoke regularly with fewer than one in five saying they had a drink in the last week leading up to the survey.

The survey was also asked in primary schools with some levels of improvement. A total of 43% of Year 6 school children said they had been bullied in school – an 11 point drop on the 54% of students who felt they had the year before.

Although it is a positive step for the schools, there is still work to be done. Amanda McEgan, a teacher at a primary school in St Helens, feels the bulk of the work is now mainly done from inside the schools.

She told JMU Journalism: “There used to be a massive input from the local authority and particularly with PHE which is what bullying would come under but since 2011/2012 there’s basically no one left at the local authority so the push would have come from inside the school.”

Awareness workshops and class talks are planned throughout the borough to help combat these problems. There is hope these figures will be reduced sooner rather than later.

About Jack Whitehead, JMU Journalism