Do anti-bullying policies build character?

In January 2015, the Department for Education announced an awards scheme for schools that teach perseverance, resilience and grit.  Yet this move comes in the context of a proliferation of anti-bullying policies, which seem to imply children are in need of constant protection from not only violent bullies, but from childish nastiness.  Definitions of bullying are broad-brush and include ‘teasing and name-calling’, ‘spreading rumours’ and ‘exclusion at playtime or from social events and networks’. There is even official advice on protecting teachers from being bullied by their pupils.  Is there a danger that ubiquitous anti-bullying initiatives make children fearful of interactions with their friends and contributes to a generation of ‘cotton wool’ kids?  And why have schools, policymakers, the media and academia become so preoccupied with bullying?

Battle of Ideas session details