Girls are more likely to be bullied than they were nine years ago, while the proportion of boys being bullied has fallen, new research has found.
The Department for Education research found that, excluding cyberbullying, a third of Year 11 girls reported being bullied in 2015, compared with 29 per cent in 2006.
But for Year 11 boys, the overall rates had dropped from 29 per cent in 2006 to 25 per cent in 2015, driven by declines in threats of violence and actual violence.
The research, based on interviews with more than 10,000 Year 11 students, found that when cyberbullying was included, 35 per cent of girls and 26 per cent of boys reported bullying in 2015.
The types of bullying were different for boys and girls, with cyberbullying, name-calling and bullying linked to "social exclusion" affecting twice as many girls as boys.
Boys were more likely than girls to report violence or threats of violence – and it is this type of bullying that has fallen.
The report said: "While violent forms of bullying have declined significantly, name-calling and social exclusion have increased since 2006.
"The success in reducing violent bullying shows what can be achieved; the challenge is to replicate this success across all forms of bullying."
The researchers also looked at the same group of children when they were in Year 10 and found that rates of bullying had dropped as the children had got older.
More than a third of children with special educational needs or disabilities (36 per cent) had been bullied, compared with 29 per cent of those without SEND.
Young people of Asian or African ethnicities were least likely to report being bullied, with those of mixed ethnicities or white pupils most likely to report being bullied.
The report states that this could be down to cultural differences in what is considered bullying – or differences in the likelihood of reporting it.
“There may also be complex relationships between ethnicity...and the places in which they [young people] live which influence the prevalence of bullying in different ethnic groups,” the report stated.
The most commonly cited reason for why young people thought they were being bullied was “looks” – mentioned by 22 per cent of those targeted.
For pupils from an ethnic minority, while "looks" was still the most common reason – given by 21 per cent – race was mentioned by 16 per cent and skin colour by 14 per cent.