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Schools: Antisemitism

Question for Department for Education

UIN 3740, tabled on 17 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect Jewish (a) pupils and (b) teachers from anti-Semitic abuse in schools.

Answered on

24 May 2022

The government is clear that antisemitism, as with all forms of bullying and hatred, is abhorrent and has no place in our schools. All educational institutions should be inclusive and welcoming for students and staff from all backgrounds.

The department is aware of reported increases in such incidents, during an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May 2021, which is why the former Secretary of State for Education wrote to schools to remind them of their responsibilities to deal with antisemitic incidents with due seriousness as well as their legal duties regarding political impartiality. The department has also published further guidance on political impartiality in schools to help them to ensure educational initiatives in schools are not politically biased or one-sided.

The government continues to take action to support schools to tackle all forms of bullying, including antisemitism. Our Preventing and Tackling Bullying guidance sets out that schools should develop a consistent approach to monitoring bullying incidents and evaluating the effectiveness of their approaches. It also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality, as well as sexual harassment and sexual bullying.

The department is also providing over £2 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of groups who share protected characteristics, including race and faith and belief, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying.

The government has also supported Holocaust education for many years and is fully committed to continuing this support. In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. Effective teaching about the Holocaust can support pupils to learn about the possible consequences of antisemitism and extremism, to understand how society can prevent the repeat of such a catastrophe. The department provides funding for several programmes to support school pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust.

The department has published guidance for schools on the Equality Act 2010, which sets out the general provisions that apply to schools in their role as employers. The guidance is clear that all of the protected characteristics are covered by these provisions and that harassment or victimisation against potential or existing employees in relation to any of the protected characteristics is unlawful. We encourage schools to consult the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidance and Codes of Practice for Employers for more detailed information on their obligations to their teachers and other staff.