To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of children excluded from school for racist bullying in England and Wales in the last year; and what assessment they have made of the implications of such bullying and exclusions for social and community cohesion.
17 December 2018
The most recent data from academic year 2016/2017 show that there were 25 permanent exclusions (0.3% of all permanent exclusions) and 4,565 fixed period exclusions (1.2% of all fixed period exclusions) recorded with the reason of ‘racist abuse’. This includes derogatory racist statements, racist bullying, racist graffiti, racist taunting and harassment and swearing that can be attributed to racist characteristics. The data can be sourced from the National Tables spreadsheet (table 4), published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2016-to-2017
Racism has no place in our schools and any incident is unacceptable. The department supports head teachers using exclusion where it is warranted.
The government want to make sure that all children learn the values that underpin our society – including fairness, tolerance and respect. These values help knit our communities together, which is why education is at the heart of the government’s integration strategy. All state funded schools have a legal obligation to promote community cohesion.
The government has committed to providing over £2.8 million of funding from September 2016 to March 2020 to four anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes the Anne Frank Trust, which we are funding to develop and deliver their ‘free to be’ debate programme. The programme encourages young people to think about the importance of tackling prejudice, discrimination and bullying.
In November 2018, the department published the attached 'Respectful School Communities' publication, a self-review and sign-posting 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.
In March 2018, the government launched an externally led review of exclusions practice, chaired by Edward Timpson CBE. The review is exploring how head teachers use exclusion, and why pupils with particular characteristics are more likely to be excluded from school. It is also considering the differences in exclusion rates across primary and secondary schools in England.
The full terms of reference for the review are attached.