To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle bullying of (a) LGBT and (b) other students in schools.
18 December 2020
The government has sent a clear message that bullying should never be tolerated, and we are committed to supporting schools to tackle it. All schools are legally required to have a
behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying, and have the freedom to develop their own anti-bullying strategies and monitoring approaches to best suit their environment. The department provides advice for schools, which outlines schools’ responsibilities. The advice makes clear that schools should make appropriate provision for a bullied child's social, emotional and mental health needs. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.
We have published a research report which details common strategies that specific schools have found to be effective for combating bullying, including case studies with examples about actions schools have taken to improve preventative practices and support for LGBT pupils. It is available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/approaches-to-preventing-and-tackling-bullying.
We have also 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, including hate-based bullying. It is available here: https://educateagainsthate.com/school-leaders/?filter=guidance-and-training-school-leaders.
On 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust - to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those with SEND, those who are victims of hate related bullying and those pupils who identify as LGBT.
We are also making sure that all children in England will learn about respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of new mandatory Relationships, Sex and Health Education. This includes content on the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders, and how to get help.
We are investing £10 million through behaviour hubs. Schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures can work closely with schools that want to turn around their behaviour, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers. The aim is to improve their culture, and spread good practice across the country. ?The first hubs are planned to launch in spring 2021, and will run for an initial period of 3 years.
The Government Equalities Office invested £4 million over 4 years, from 2016, to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2250 schools in England. This funding concluded in March 2020, and the Department for Education is currently evaluating next steps, as the department responsible for anti-bullying in schools. The department will confirm what funding is available for the financial year 2021-22, in light of the Spending Review outcome. We will also consider what more the department can do to ensure that schools have the right support to prevent bullying of pupils with protected characteristics.