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Relationships and Sex Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 265597, tabled on 17 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria his Department plans to use to assess the effect of reformed statutory relationships and sex education on the (a) severity and (b) level of bullying in schools.

Answered on

20 June 2019

The Government has no plans to require schools to report centrally on incidents of bullying, but the Department included questions in its School Snapshot survey in winter 2017 to obtain information on different types of bullying. The results can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-snapshot-survey-winter-2017.

Similar questions have been included in the summer 2019 survey. The results of this survey will be published next year.

The Government has sent a clear message to schools that all bullying, for whatever reason, is unacceptable. The public sector Equality Duty means that schools must have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and to foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not.

The Department has issued guidance to schools about how to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy. It has also published the Respectful Schools Communities tool to support schools to develop a whole school approach which promotes respect amongst all pupils and signposts further sources of advice.

This will be supported by the introduction of compulsory relationships education in all primary and secondary state-funded schools. Statutory guidance for schools sets out that pupils should be taught about different types of bullying, the impact of bullying and how to get help. We are committed to ensuring schools are supported and ready to teach these new subjects to high quality and have announced a budget of £6 million in 2019-20 financial year to develop a programme of support for schools. The Department is establishing an early adopter school programme to support early teaching of the new requirements. It is also working with early adopter schools to support the design of the training programme and to refine supplementary guidance to ensure that the teaching of the subjects is as effective as possible.

The Department is also providing over £2.8 million of funding between September 2016 and March 2020 to four anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes the Anne Frank Trust who have developed the Free to Be debate programme, which encourages pupils to think about the importance of tackling prejudice, discrimination and bullying. It also includes the Anti-Bullying Alliance, whose programme has a particular focus on reducing bullying of those with special educational needs and disabilities. Between 2016-2019 the Government Equalities Office provided £3 million of funding to prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. In the LGBT Action Plan published last year, it committed £1million to continue the programme until 2020.

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