How can we stop prejudice-based bullying in schools?

Advice and Guidance

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What is prejudice-based bullying?

Some groups of young people are more likely to experience bullying than others.

Prejudice-based bullying is any type of direct physical or verbal bullying, indirect bullying or cyberbullying based on protected characteristics such as:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex 
  • sexual orientation

Tackling prejudice-based bullying in schools

Helping schools to identify and prevent all forms of bullying: this animation describes the scale and the long lasting impact of bullying on pupils’ lives.

Tips for tackling prejudice-based bullying

To prevent prejudice-based bullying, use a whole school approach.

Look at the culture of the whole school and consider:

  • what your school is required to do under the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • creating a school culture that reflects safety and inclusivity
  • celebrating difference 
  • using the language of diversity
  • including and involving all pupils 
  • empowering staff and students

What to do when prejudice-based bullying happens

  1. Have a good reporting system in place.

    Make sure that your reporting system for bullying is flexible, accessible and confidential.

    It should be like this for everyone, including those with disabilities and additional support needs.
  2. Take every report of bullying seriously.

    It can be very harmful to a young person if their reports are dismissed.
  3. Don't blame the victim.

    Children should never be told to just ignore it, or to change who they are - it is the children doing the bullying that need to change their behaviour and their attitude.
  4. Avoid stereotypes.

    It is not true that girls are 'bitchy' and boys have a punch up and get over it – anyone can be capable of bullying behaviour and it has a serious impact on everyone involved.
  5. Find out who else is involved.

    Bullying is very rarely one-on-one behaviour. Getting the wider group to change their behaviour can help it to stop.
  6. Know when and where to get outside advice and support.

    This may be particularly useful when those involved in bullying are coming to terms with their gender or sexual orientation.
  7. Monitor the levels of prejudice-based bullying in your school.

    This will help you to take action to prevent and tackle it in an informed way.
  8. Learn from bullying incidents and pupil surveys.

    Use these to revise anti-bullying policies and prevention measures.

Last updated: 29 Mar 2019

Further information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

Phone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084

You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.

Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.


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Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.