MORE than 400 pupils each year ask to switch schools in Essex after becoming victims of bullying.

The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information response by Essex County Council (ECC), show there have been almost 1,100 applications in the last three years.

In 2012/13, ECC received 441 applications, only two fewer than the previous academic year.

At the time of the Freedom of Information response, dated April 23, ECC had received 200 applications in the current school year.

The authority handles primary school applications itself, but secondary applications are processed by schools directly.

Responsibility for dealing with bullying lies with individual schools, an ECC spokesman said.

He said: “We are always looking at ways in which we can support our schools to tackle bullying.

“ECC is a member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the Stonewall Education Champions Programme and the Bullying Intervention Group.

“However, schools are ultimately responsible for dealing with bullying and the role of the local authority is to offer support and guidance.

“Our behaviour support team help schools deal with the challenging behaviour of young people.”