Rugby star takes anti-bullying campaign into schools

As apprehensive youngsters settle into their first term at ‘big school’, new research suggests that most teachers have had no training on the heightened risk of bullying children face as they begin their secondary school careers.

A survey by Prospero Teaching, which recruits teachers to roles in thousands of schools, reveals that a massive 73 per cent of teachers have received no specific training on bullying among children transitioning from primary to secondary school.

And some 32 percent of the teachers surveyed believe this lack of expertise is an issue that parents should be concerned about.

To coincide with the publication of the research, Prospero Teaching has launched a national campaign, Balls2Bullying, led by rugby great Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas who captained Wales 100 times during his career.

Gareth will be visiting schools all over the country to work with children on building resilience to bullying.

He said: ‘People might not believe it to look at me – because I’m a big lad – but bullying has a lot to do with my life story, who I am and where I come from.

‘I hope my reputation as a sportsman in a tough game can help to remove the stigma some children feel and overcome their reluctance to speak out. My experience shows that being bullied is nothing to do with being weak.’

He adds: I think the time when kids move up to big school is a really serious fault line in the system. You’re in a new environment. You don’t walk as confident, you don’t talk as confident. You’re vulnerable.’

If you’d like Gareth to run a bullying workshop at your school, phone 0207 404 6383. Find out more about the teacher survey and Balls2Bullying at