Schools: Bullying

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to schools on handling (i) incidents and (ii) sustained cases of (a) racist, (b) xenophobic, (c) Islamophobic and (d) antisemitic bullying.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is clear that all bullying is unacceptable and should be tackled by schools. The department issues guidance to schools on how to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their statutory behaviour policy.

It sets out that bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally. The guidance is clear that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour – or communications – could be a criminal offence. It sets out that if school staff feel that, during an incident, an offence may have been committed they should seek assistance from the police.

The guidance also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality. The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

On 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust. This is to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. More information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-mental-health-support-for-pupils-and-teachers.

The department has also made resources available through the Educate Against Hate website. This website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with the information, guidance and support they need to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs. The website is available here:

https://educateagainsthate.com/.

In November 2018 we published Respectful School Communities, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind and is available here:

https://educateagainsthate.com/school-leaders/?filter=guidance-and-training-school-leaders.

From September 2020, relationships education will be compulsory for all primary aged pupils, relationships and sex education will be compulsory for all secondary aged pupils and health education will be compulsory in all state-funded schools in England. Under the content for respectful relationships, the guidance sets out that pupils should know about the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders and how to get help, and it is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/.

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