To date we have published three reports on the nature and experiences of bullying on school buses.
The Vodden Report (2019): An Agenda for Change
The third Vodden report was published in September 2019. The aim of this study was to focus on current interventions and strategies used, to tackle bullying on school buses. For this study we collected data from:
- Local Authorities on their use of auditing, alongside monitoring and referral systems to record pupils experiences of bullying on the school bus.
- 68 bus drivers to examine their experiences of witnessing and managing bullying on the school bus, alongside their opinions of the usefulness of interventions such as the use of CCTV to tackle bullying.
- 76 young adults on their recollections of being bullied and witnessing bullying on the bus, alongside their opinions of the usefulness of interventions such as the use of CCTV to tackle bullying.
The findings of the study found that approximately half of the participating local authorities completed an audit of pupil journeys to and from school. 32% of local authorities (N=26) collected data from pupils on bullying on the school bus. Furthermore findings from the bus driver and young adult survey support previous research that suggests that bullying can be a frequent on the school bus (e.g. Raskausak, 2005; Vodden, 2014; Vodden, 2015). The study also highlights that some young people are bullied only on the school bus, and not in other locations (20%, N=13 reported this. On the basis of the findings from this study, and the previous Vodden reports, a whole community approach is needed to 1) raise awareness of bullying on the school bus, 2) develop appropriate interventions to tackle the behaviour, and support those who witness and experience bullying, and 3) better understand the effectiveness of interventions used to tackle school bus bullying. You can download a copy of the full report here.
The Vodden Report (2015): In The Drivers Seat
The aim of this report was to highlight the findings of a survey designed for school bus/coach drivers to report the behaviours they witness. Ninety-four school bus/coach drivers filled in the survey, of which 67.4% had witnessed bullying on their buses – verbal and physical bullying in particular. In addition to this, almost all drivers indicated feeling distracted by the children and their behaviour whilst on the bus; despite many receiving no training on working with children. As a result, it was apparent that many drivers were unaware or unsure of procedures in place to report school bus bullying; and of those that were able to report these behaviours, many were either unsure or certain no appropriate action had been taken. Furthermore, the school bus drivers mostly indicated that despite having no other adult on the bus, nor CCTV, both would be useful in assisting with bullying on school buses. Therefore, it is recommended that a designated adult is present on the bus, along with CCTV and training to monitor and deal with bullying on school buses. You can download a copy of the full report here.
The Vodden Report (2014): Bullying on Dedicated School Buses
The aim of this report was to utilise a survey in order to determine the extent to which bullying on school buses took place, and to discover the involvement of bus drivers. The survey was circulated online and shared across social media. Among 541 responses, 268 referred to bullying on a school bus. It was discovered that experiences of bullying started on a school bus for 31% of respondents, which commonly started in year 7. Reports of bullying included both physical and verbal bullying, along with reports of theft. Such behaviours indicated that some students felt humiliated, angry and sad; along with symptoms of suicidal ideation and self-harm. Despite such incidences being reported, many reports were not followed up; and of those victims that were offered advice and support, many reported either no change, or the bullying becoming worse over time. With regards to the bus drivers, many did not intervene and sometimes joined in with the bullying. Furthermore, many of the victims were unaware of support offered from local authorities, including Safer Travel Policies. As a result of these findings, several recommendations are offered in relation to training school bus drivers, and ensuring support is available to victims of bullying on school buses. You can download a copy of the full report here.