DOZENS of parents with children who were bullied in Swindon schools say that the problem was not dealt with well.

But nearly half the parents who responded to a new poll praised their children’s school.

The survey by Ofsted asked 686 parents in Swindon if they agreed that the school their children went to ‘tackled bullying quickly and effectively between the start of the 2019-20 school year and this April’.

Of those who responded, 280 said the question applied to them, and 32 per cent (85 people) of those parents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the school had acted in this way.

On the other hand, almost half (48 per cent) of the 280 parents (139 people) agreed with the statement, while the remaining 20 per cent (56 people) said they did not know.

In Swindon, nine per cent of parents said their child was not happy at their school, and eight per cent said their child did not feel safe.

Headteachers stressed that tackling bullying is a top priority and there are several ways they ensure pupils feel safe and crack down on antisocial behaviour.

Ridgeway School and Sixth Form headteacher James Povoas said: “We take any form of poor behaviour seriously and seek to intervene before it gets repeated so that there is no victimisation of students.

“We work closely with them so that they feel confident enough to report any issues.

“It is key that pupils think they will be protected and the issue will be dealt with if they report it, so we deal with every issue thoroughly and effectively.

The school’s Ofsted report supports this, saying that bullying there is a very rare occurrence and is dealt with quickly and effectively by staff when it does occur.

Kingsdown School head Emma Bennett said: “All headteachers in Swindon place anti-bullying measures high on their agenda.

“In our last Ofsted report, the students said they felt safe and can learn without disruption. There is very little bullying here and when it does occur, staff tackle it well and quickly.

“A huge amount of work has gone into improving the culture and behaviour.

“We educate, we monitor, and we intervene. First, we teach the children respect, care and consideration in our personal development curriculum.

“We have tutors who stay with the same children as they go through school and can notice if something’s wrong or the student needs to report something. Reporting online anonymously is another option.

“There’s a reason people choose to bully others so we try to get to the bottom of that with behaviour therapy and emotional support to ensure this behaviour stops.

“Bullying is something we will not tolerate and comes with some of the most significant sanctions the school has if it happens repeatedly.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “All our schools have rigorous procedures in place to deal with bullying and we offer support to schools on their policies and processes if required.”

More than 200,000 parents across England completed the Ofsted survey, and 37 per cent said the question applied to them. Of those, 28 per cent said that their children’s school had not quickly or effectively dealt with bullying.