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Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to schools on tackling bullying via mobile phone; and if he will make a statement. (81695)

This Government have made clear that all forms of bullying, including bullying via mobile phone, are unacceptable and should be punished.

Misuse of mobile phones was one of the specific issues considered by the Practitioners’ Group on School Behaviour and Discipline, in its report “Learning Behaviour” (October 2005). The report points to the fact that, while mobile phones are now a part of daily life, head teachers need a clear policy on their possession and use on school site. The current Education and Inspections Bill re-enacts and strengthens the duty on schools to establish a behaviour policy. The accompanying Explanatory Notes require

“the head teacher to determine measures (which may include rules and provision for enforcing them) that promote self-discipline and a proper regard for authority, encourage good behaviour and respect for others, prevent bullying, secure that tasks are completed, and generally secure an acceptable standard of behaviour by pupils” (Clause 76).

We will be producing guidance on that duty which will specifically address the issue of mobile phone misuse.

The seriousness with which bullying by mobile phone should be treated is referred to in our anti-bullying guidance pack for schools “Don’t Suffer in Silence”. This resource is currently being revised to ensure that schools are provided with the most up-to-date information available.