Bullying

Education and Skills written question – answered on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban Conservative, Fareham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance her Department has produced to deal with (a) bullying of early years pupils and (b) bullying issues that arise in the infant age group.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Schools), Department for Education and Skills

The Education Act 2002 embeds the Foundation Stage as part of the National Curriculum and supports our aim of giving all children a better start to school life. This will support staff in equipping children in their early years with the key skills they need for their learning journey and will feed through to higher educational attainment, supporting standards and improved behaviour within schools and outside.

In order to meet children's diverse needs, and help all children make the best possible progress, practitioners should provide a safe and supportive learning environment, free from harassment, in which the contribution of all children is valued and where racial, religious, disability and gender stereotypes are challenged.

'Personal, social and emotional development' is part of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. This includes 'developing respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition to learn'. Children learn to understand what is right, what is wrong and why; and to consider the consequences of their words and actions for themselves and others. Guidance to practitioners includes involving children in agreeing codes of behaviour and taking responsibility for their implementation.

To support this the Department has appointed the Institute of Psychology, King's College London to develop a training programme on young children's personal social and emotional development to support the Birth to Three Matters and Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage documents.

The materials will address various aspects of children's personal social and emotional development and its promotion, implications for practice and multi agency-working. The emphasis will be on producing effective, user friendly, quality materials setting out key messages. Through these key messages children will develop respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition to learn.

In June 2005, the DfES is making available to all primary schools curriculum materials to help reduce bullying. They include age related materials for pupils in Foundation Stage, KS1 and KS2, and are part of the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum resource.

All primary schools also have access to the DfES anti bullying resource pack for schools 'Don't Suffer in Silence', which provides a number of anti-bullying strategies including co-operative group work, circle time, circle of friends, all of which are suitable for use with infant age children.

Head teachers, staff and learners from various primary schools have been involved in the Make the Difference conferences sharing effective practice from their own schools with others.

We are currently developing advice for schools on Countering Racist Bullying, which will cover issues for all children from foundation stage upwards.

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