By Paul Millar
BULLYING in secondary schools in the UK is worse than the rest of Europe, a new British Council survey has found.
The study, published in February, found nearly 46 per cent of UK secondary school pupils think that bullying is a problem in their school and they believe language difficulties, skin colour, race and religion, are the main reasons which cause it.
The research was conducted in schools across Europe and included Germany, and Spain.  They were chosen for their mix of children from different backgrounds.
A total of 3,500 children were asked a series of multiple-choice questions, including over 1,500 from the UK.
Across Europe, first generation migrants were 50 per cent more likely to have been made fun of, while in the UK, they were 24 per cent more likely to be bullied.
England was found to be the worst place for bullying.  Nearly half of pupils think bullying is a problem in school, compared to 43 per cent of pupils in Scotland and 32 per cent in Wales.
The research is part of a project designed to kick-start an improvement in diversity and integration in European Schools.
Stephen Roman, regional director for west Europe at the British Council, said: “Bullying is endemic in schools.  But working with young people we are finding ways to change this”.
Spain came out best with only 22 per cent having experienced some form of bullying, while 29 per cent of German students said bullying was a problem in their school.
A more positive finding was that UK students said they were happier in school most of the time compared to the rest of Europe.  They were also more likely to feel it was ‘very important’ to do well at school.