SHOCK new findings reveal that close to half the pupils at a Borders secondary school were bullied in the last year.

Scottish Government’s Health and Well-being Census asked primary pupils and secondary students if they had been a victim of bullying in the 12 months to March, when the survey was carried out.

The highest percentage of S1 to S3 pupils who said ‘yes’ to the question ‘have you bullied in the last year?’ attended Hawick High School at 43 per cent, followed by Selkirk High School at 35 per cent and Galashiels Academy at 34 per cent.

The lowest rate was Kelso High School at 21 per cent.

The abuse ranged from name calling to physical harm and a small number even said it happened “most days”.

The report also looked at S4 pupils’ relationship with drugs, with 35 children admitting to taking cannabis in the 12 month period and 13 saying they’d taken cocaine.

However, the vast majority – 83 per cent – of the 440 students who responded to that particular question said they hadn’t taken any illegal substances.

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The largest percentage of bullying incidents took place in school but some pupils were targeted outside and online.

Children from across the Borders, in the last three years of primary and the first few years of secondary, were asked for their views on a variety of issues in the census – all questioned with permission from their parents or guardians.

Scottish Borders Council has highlighted four key areas of the report which “require further work and consideration”.

But it notes work is already well under-way on updating the local authority’s Respectful Relationships Policy – its anti-bullying charter for children and young people.

Despite the concern over bullying, the census does provide a huge amount of useful data – much of which is positive.

For example, 83 per cent of primary school pupils said they ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ with the statement ‘most of the time I am happy at school’.

Meanwhile, 89 per cent of secondary students agreed with the statement ‘getting an education is important to me’.