As the government announces that thousands of schools are set to benefit from further support and training to help combat bullying, brand new Parentkind research reveals that concerns over children's mental health and wellbeing have grown significantly among parents even since last year.
Parentkind's Parent Voice Report 2021 has found that almost half (49%) of parents are concerned about bullying, where almost a third (31%) report that their child has experienced it. Bullying is a top three mental health concerns for parents. The issue is not confined solely to secondary school pupils, with almost one in three (29%) parents of primary school-aged children reporting that their child has been bullied. The good news to emerge from these stark findings is that 60% of parents agree that bullying is dealt with fairly at their child’s school, where only just over one in ten (11%) disagree.
In order to tackle the epidemic of bullying and other mental health-related issues among children, parents’ top proposed solutions are mental health support workers providing timely support, and professional counselling services in schools. The government's new wellbeing support package is announced as Parentkind research finds that 41% of parents want any additional school funding to be spent on child mental health services, making it parents' second biggest priority behind only learning resources.
Parentkind CEO John Jolly says, "Our latest Parent Voice Report shows that mental health and wellbeing have successfully gone mainstream in parental priorities for their child’s education and schooling. We welcome the new government support and funding that schools and colleges will receive to help them do even more to tackle bullying, but we want to see additional support reach every child who needs it. Parents tell us that bullying remains a big concern, and it contributes significantly to mental health issues in children. We also know that they will support the new initiative: 87% told us that it is important that the curriculum at their child’s school focuses on developing good mental health and well-being. The new RSHE curriculum, which will be used to deliver teaching about bullying, must now be developed in consultation with parents. Parentkind would like to see greater parental participation in education across the board, but especially when parents have the legal right to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Bullying can have a devastating impact on the whole family, and parents must be a part of the conversation when it comes to prevention and conflict resolution."
Parentkind's Parent Voice Report 2021 was carried out online with a nationally representative sample of 3,751 parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 3rd June and 19th July 2021.