More than a quarter of parents whose child was bullied in Cumbria say their school did not deal with it well, a new survey suggests.

With figures showing tens of thousands of parents nationwide expressing similar fears, anti-bullying charities have warned bullying can “devastate lives” and seriously affect a child’s well-being.

Ofsted asked 1,929 parents in Cumbria if they agreed that their school had dealt with bullying quickly and effectively, between the start of the 2019-20 school year and this April.

Of them, 577 said the question applied to them, of whom 25% disagreed or strongly disagreed that the school had acted in this way.

More than half (56%) agreed with the statement, while the remaining 19% said they did not know.

In Cumbria, 5% of parents also said their child was not happy at their school, and 3% said their child did not feel safe.

Anti-bullying charity Bullies Out said no school can claim not to have any bullying.

It estimates it affects half of all young people, but said that schools can help by dealing with incidents quickly and effectively.

More than 200,000 parents across England completed the survey. Of them, 28% said that their children’s school had not quickly or effectively dealt with bullying.

Linda James, the founder of Bullies Out, said: “Bullying is an issue of strategic, as well as operational, importance. It is not ‘kids being kids’ or ‘part of growing up’.

“It can devastate lives and seriously affect a person’s academic, social, emotional and physical well-being.

“For a school to reduce bullying, the emphasis must be placed on creating a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect.”

She added that bullying can cause feelings of self-doubt, depression and even suicide, making it vital children and parents have confidence in schools to deal with the problem.

Chief executive of Kidscape, an organisation that helps children cope with bullying, Lauren Seager-Smith said: “As an anti-bullying charity that supports children and families impacted by bullying, we are in contact with children who do not feel safe in school, and parents who are frustrated by the lack of school action to address bullying.”