A lot of schools use anti-bullying programmes but there have been few trials to compare their effectiveness. Researchers from University College London, Baylor College of Medicine in the U.S. and the University of Kansas studied 1,345 children aged between 7 and 11 in nine primary schools. They compared the effectiveness of School Psychiatric Consultation (which targets problem children for individual therapy), treatment-as-usual (TAU) and CAPSLE (Creating A Peaceful School Learning Environment). CAPSLE works on the relationships between bullies, victims and bystanders and assumes that all school members - including teachers - play a part in bullying. It aims to improve people's ability to understand what other people are thinking in the hope that this will reduce bullying. The study found that CAPSLE was the most effective of the three approaches. It reduced bullying, aggression and 'aggressive bystanding' compared to TAU schools. CAPSLE also produced a significant decrease in 'off-task' and disruptive classroom behaviour - changes which were still there when the children were followed up after a year. However, results for self-reported victimization, 'helpful bystanding,' and beliefs in the legitimacy of aggression did not differ between the groups.
Fonagy, Peter ... [et al] - A cluster randomized controlled trial of child-focused psychiatric consultation and a school systems-focused intervention to reduce aggression Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry May 2009, 50(5), 607-616