Bullying in Maltese schools

The Malta school-based intervention program "Flourishing at School and at Home" drew on the 2014 Ministry for Education and Employment "Respect for All" and its associated "Addressing Bullying Behaviour in School" (Ministry for Education and Employment,2014). The findings from the pretest data for 12-year-old Maltese preadolescents highlights that they report being seriously bullied at a level consistent with earlier Maltese research(Borg, 1999) and with more recent studies by Askell-Williams, Cefai, and Fabri (2013b) and Cefai and Galea (2015). Cyberbullying is now a reality for 1 in 10 students. Following the delivery of the six-lesson "Flourishing at School and at Home" intervention, which was expressly designed for Maltese schools, there was a significant reduction in the level of self-reported bullying among seriously bullied students, a significant reduction in the amount of verbal bullying for seriously bullied students, and reductions in other forms of bullying, but there was a small increase in self-reported cyberbullying and being ignored. In addition, seriously bullied students were less likely postintervention to engage in nonproductive coping strategies, but they were also less likely postintervention than other students to use productive coping strategies. The intervention was associated with positive changes in seriously bullied students' positive feelings about school. The evaluation confirmed that the issue of bullying is at a significant level among Maltese students, but there is cautious optimism that teachers can effectively intervene to reduce the level of serious bullying in their classrooms and schools.