Barking and Dagenham reports 200% increase in school bullying over lockdown


England’s worst areas for school bullying during lockdown have been revealed in new research that has explored the number of exclusions across the country.

Using the latest Department for Education data1, released yesterday, Oxford Home Schooling identified the regions which have experienced the biggest increases and decreases in bullying exclusions between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Barking and Dagenham is the biggest lockdown bullying hotspot, with the local authority seeing a 200% increase in the number of suspensions and permanent exclusions for this reason compared to the previous school year.

The London borough is followed by North Tyneside, which experienced a 143% increase, and Trafford, where the number of bullying exclusions rose by 138%.

Across England, ten local authorities saw their figures more than double.

The local authorities that reported the biggest increases in bullying exclusions were:

Barking and Dagenham – 200%
North Tyneside – 143%
Trafford – 138%
Milton Keynes – 123%
Stoke-on-Trent – 122%
Peterborough – 114%
Isle of Wight – 114%
Kensington and Chelsea – 100%
Halton – 100%
Sutton – 100%

However, the national picture looks far more positive, largely due to school closures affecting the amount of contact time students had together.

In England, the number of bullying exclusions dropped by 31% from 3,450 to 2,456 – equivalent to 63 such exclusions a week, compared to 91 the year before.

In 2018/19, there was one bullying exclusion per 2,327 pupils in the country, but this has risen to one per 3,385.

Thurrock, in the East on England, saw the most significant improvement, with a 100% decrease seeing its bullying exclusions drop to zero. Shropshire also experienced a large fall, with a 93% decline.

In fact, every English region saw its figures plummet. Schools in the South West are the best performing in this regard, with the area experiencing 41% fewer bullying exclusions in the last year compared to the previous period.

In contrast, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the smallest decrease, but still reduced its figure by 24%.