Racism and bullying about race got worse immediately before and during lockdown, according to a new study.
The research, commissioned by youth charity The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society, has revealed the true extent of concern around racist behaviour and bullying in schools among both parents and young people.
Half of parents (50%) feel racism is a problem in schools, while almost a third (32%) of young people have heard someone being racist at school.
Lockdown has exacerbated the problem, with a quarter (24%) of young people noticing more bullying around race just before and during lockdown, and 74% of parents believing it is a problem online.
More than a quarter of parents (28%) believe lockdown will have a negative impact on the way children behave towards each other when they return to school.
Despite all of this, it seems communication between parents and their children is lacking, with 41% of parents saying they have not discussed racism with their child recently.
The survey, which targeted 1,000 parents of 6-15-year olds and 1,000 young people aged 6-15, explores the subject of bullying in its various forms, the effects of lockdown on young people and feelings around the return to school in the midst of the pandemic.
Statistics reveal that even with Covid-19 and the lockdown, 46% of young people have experienced bullying, 66% have seen or heard bullying behaviour in their school in the last year, and a third (33%) were more worried than usual about returning to school following lockdown.
These statistics come in advance of The Diana Award’s first The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly 2020 in partnership with Nationwide Building Society, which will be a celebrity-packed virtual event beamed into primary school classrooms and homes across the country on Monday 28 September via YouTube.
The assembly will bring together hundreds of thousands of children empowering them to tackle bullying with a host of celebrities including; Peter Andre, Gareth Southgate, Twist & Pulse, Ade Adepitan and James McVey.
This campaign marks the commencement of a three-year partnership in which Nationwide Building Society and The Diana Award will train more than 10,000 young people as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in primary schools across the UK.
‘I suffered a lot of racism; some was standard bullying, and some was racism,’ says Peter Andre. ‘Either way – it was bullying.
‘At six years old we immigrated to Australia. I stood out like a sore thumb – I had dark hair; I had an English accent. It started straight away – it was bullying, but [with] the added fuel of racism.
‘Being called names was one thing and very hard to deal with as a kid but it turned to violence where the kids would tie me up to the fence at school and take turns throwing stones to see which one would hit me in the head. It was a really horrific time.’
‘I remember moments when children used to stand outside my parent’s house, laughing, making monkey noises,’ says Paralympian and TV presenter, Ade Adepitan.
‘There were other times when people used to just laugh at me because I had a disability or because I used a wheelchair, and I’ve even been judged because of the colour of my skin. It made me feel really lonely.’
‘Racism is still a problem for our schools, young people and society,’ says Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award.
‘Our aim, with the support of Nationwide Building Society, is to continue to provide the resources and guidance to educate young people and equip them with the tools to help stamp out all forms of bullying for good, starting at a young age.’
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