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Background. Recent research has highlighted the issue of bullying in schools. However, little attention has been paid to the knowledge and beliefs of trainee teachers, who will hold a key position in reducing the problem of bullying in schools.

Aims. To determine (i) trainee teachers' beliefs about some aspects of school bullying; (ii) their recommended strategies for pupils to cope; (iii) their confidence in dealing with bullying issues as future teachers; (iv) the value of specific aspects of training; (v) the importance for these of sex, and primary/secondary training.

Sample. This comprised 270 students enrolled on either a one-year postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course (N =197) or a four-year degree in education (BEd) course (N =73). Age ranged from 18-51 years (mean=28 years).

Methods. Questionnaire completed and returned within a 2-week period.

Results. Bullying was seen as an important issue. Some aspects of trainee teachers' knowledge of bullying were accurate, others less so. Telling teachers, and parents, were the strategies most highly recommended to pupils. The great majority were in favour of teacher training courses incorporating information regarding ways of combating bullying. However, they had less confidence about their ability to deal with bullying. Respondents expressed more confidence when dealing with victims rather than bullies and working with the parents of victims rather than the parents of bullies.

Conclusion. It is important that teacher-training programmes incorporate information about school bullying, and are designed to take account of existing knowledge, and areas in which trainee teachers may feel less confident.