2 May 2024
Bullying in Schools

Bullying is absolutely unacceptable and should not be tolerated in our schools. All state schools in England are required to have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils. While schools are free to develop their own anti-bullying strategies, they are held to account for their effectiveness by Ofsted.

Schools also have an important role to play in promoting community cohesion and integration. They are required to support pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and to promote fundamental British values.

The Department for Education has also funded work to target bullying. I am glad that the Department provided over £3 million of funding between August 2021 and March 2024 to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. Ministers have worked with all five organisations to ensure any training and resources produced as part of these projects are in line with the department's requirements.

The department also has the 'Educate Against Hate' website, which provides teachers, school leaders and parents with guidance and trusted resources to safeguard young people from radicalisation. It also helps to build and encourage resilience to all types of extremism and promotes shared values. I understand that the department has also published the 'Respectful School Communities: Self-Review and Signposting Tool' to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can enable educational settings to combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying. 

The department is making sure that all children in England learn about respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of mandatory relationships, sex and health education (RSHE). This includes content on the different types of bullying, the impact bullying has, the responsibility of bystanders, and how to get help. RSHE guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The department is also committed to ensuring that all schools are calm, supportive and safe environments for pupils to learn and thrive in. As such, it is investing £10 million through behaviour hubs so that schools that want and need to improve their behaviour can work closely with schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers, to improve their culture. 

Ultimately, it is important that school leaders identify any bullying in our schools and work hard, with the support available, to stamp it out.