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Northern Ireland - 22 per cent of children bullied

More than one in five Year 7 pupils in Northern Ireland were physically bullied at school last year, findings of a survey suggest.

Twenty-two per cent of children said they had been victims of physical bullying either a lot or a little in the two months leading up to the survey being carried out. One in three were bullied in other ways, including name-calling, being left out of games or having rumours spread about them.

The Kids' Life and Times Survey, carried out by ARK at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, questioned 3,657 children across Northern Ireland.

It also showed girls are happier than boys at school - 84 per cent of girls and 73 per cent of boys said they were "mostly happy".

Brendan Harron, senior official for the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, said teachers are fighting an "uphill battle" when it comes to bullying. "It's more subtle now, with cyber bullying and text messages," he said.

"All that schools can do is continue to enforce their anti-bullying policies and tackle the subject in PSHE."

Dr Katrina Lloyd from Queen's University said the annual survey gives children the opportunity to voice their opinions and influence government policy. "It is important that those involved in educating our children understand the extent to which (primary pupils) do or do not enjoy being at school and the pressures they are under," she said. MR.

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