Any form of intolerance or bullying, including antisemitism is unacceptable. Schools must promote our shared values, which includes mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. The department supports schools to implement this requirement through a range of resources, such as those included on the Educate Against Hate website, as well as by working with networks of experts on the ground who provide direct support to schools on this. Every state-funded school, maintained and academy, must also teach religious education to all pupils up to the age of 18.
Schools must comply with the requirements of the Equality Act and must also have a behaviour policy which includes measures to prevent bullying. Recent research commissioned by the department details common strategies that schools have found to be effective for combating bullying.
The department is funding a number of projects to help schools tackle bullying, including hate-related bullying. This includes funding the Anne Frank Trust to develop their ‘Free to Be’ debate programme, which encourages young people to think about the importance of tackling prejudice, discrimination and bullying. We also recently published the ‘Respectful Schools Communities’ toolkit; a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline.
The department is fully committed to educating pupils about the Holocaust and is the only topic that is compulsory in the national curriculum for history. We fund the Centre for Holocaust at University College London to train trainee and serving teachers to teach this important subject and to set up a network of Beacon schools to share good practice. We also fund the Holocaust Education Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme, which enables teachers and sixth form students to visit Auschwitz.
Schools can also address intolerance and bullying as part of non-statutory personal, social, health and economic education. We are also making relationships education compulsory in all primary schools and relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools. We have completed a public consultation on draft guidance which is clear that pupils will be taught about the importance of building respectful relationships including, for example, understanding the impact of bullying and how stereotypes can be damaging.
Subject to making the regulations, schools will be required to teach these new subjects from September 2020, but they will be encouraged and supported to start teaching them from September 2019 on a voluntary basis.