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I am extremely worried by reports (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/22/xenophobic-bullying-souring-lives-of-east-european-pupils-in-uk) that some EU children are experiencing increased xenophobic bullying since the Brexit referendum. How do your programmes, including Schools for Success, Healthy Schools London and Teach London combat bullying and discrimination?
It is very disturbing that this research found that 77 per cent of EU background pupils surveyed said they had suffered racism, xenophobia or bullying, and that of these 49 per cent said the attacks had become more frequent since the EU referendum. Amongst the uncertainty over our exit from the EU, it is more important than ever that our school environments are safe places for young people to discuss concerns, explore different opinions, and to celebrate the diversity which is our greatest asset.
In my recent letter to all London headteachers – including those involved in my Schools for Success and Teach London programmes – I highlighted National Hate Crime Awareness week and asked schools to join me in making the most of this opportunity to kick-start a year of action against prejudice and hate. As part of my Healthy Schools London programme, schools must meet a set of criteria relating to anti-bullying. These include nominated staff who are responsible for emotional wellbeing and mental health, having an anti-bullying/behaviour policy, and embedding emotional wellbeing and mental health including anti-bullying into the curriculum.