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Pupils: Intimidation

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will consider increasing the frequency of schools' holding of anti-bullying weeks to encourage a greater focus on different aspects of bullying and appropriate responses. (231356)

The materials provided for anti-bullying week by the Anti Bullying Alliance, and the Department's own anti-bullying guidance and materials, are designed to engage schools in anti-bullying activities throughout the year. Anti-bullying week in November provides an opportunity for schools to celebrate all the work they have done throughout the year to prevent and tackle bullying, and it also sets the agenda for the future school year. The slogan for anti-bullying week this year is ‘Being different, belonging together’, and the focus is on ensuring that schools' anti-bullying strategies are underpinned and supported through excellent practice on diversity, inclusion and equality. The Government have also introduced a statutory duty for head teachers to determine measures to prevent all forms of bullying, including those motivated by prejudice, and we have published detailed guidance which provides schools with advice oh how best to fulfil this duty.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the first year of the Secondary Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning programme in tackling bullying. (231357)

There is some early evidence on the effectiveness of the first year of the Secondary Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme in tackling bullying. The University of Manchester conducted an interim review and found evidence that pupils and teachers who are involved with SEAL were better equipped to tackle bullying. The full effects of SEAL will inevitably take some years to be fully felt. However, when SEAL is effectively implemented across the whole school, it establishes strong foundations that work to prevent bullying can build upon.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the national anti-bullying strategies regional advisers have taken to spread good practice in anti-bullying policy since inception. (231360)

The national strategies have a team of cross-phase regional advisers, each of whom provides support and challenge to a group of local authorities (LAs) in all areas of behaviour including anti-bullying. Universal, targeted and/or intensive activities are developed in LAs, according to need and priority.

Universal support and challenge is provided through regular discussions with LAs, termly regional network meetings and data gathering. It is also provided through a range of materials and resources, including core training materials, an anti-bullying toolkit and focused anti-bullying units in the primary and secondary Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) materials. Evidence and impact of LA work is tested partly through school visits and robust analysis of the data submitted by LAs.

Good grace is disseminated nationally through termly regional network meetings and locally through termly Behaviour and Attendance leader network meetings, planned and delivered by Behaviour and Attendance consultants and often supported by the regional advisors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what response he has received from schools to the recommendation in Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools that they should record all incidents of bullying, including by type, and report the statistics to their local authority. (231363)

We have not asked for a response from schools on this issue.

We are now proposing to introduce a statutory requirement for all schools to record (not report) incidents of verbal or physical abuse which are linked to bullying. We will be going out to consultation on how to take this forward in the new year and will invite comments from a range of stakeholders including head teachers, professional associations, governors, parents and young people.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will invite Ofsted to assess the extent to which schools are demonstrating effective leadership in promoting an open and honest anti-bullying ethos. (231365)

All inspectors are required, when carrying out Section 5 and ‘reduced tariff’ inspections, to ensure that they check the school systems for dealing with all forms of bullying. Inspectors consult parents and pupils and, while inspectors are not expected to follow up individual cases, they are expected to follow up on the overarching issues and to take appropriate action.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has to contribute to Anti-Bullying Week in November 2008. (231366)

The Secretary of State is considering this matter in consultation with key stakeholders including the Anti-Bullying Alliance. He will set out what he intends to do in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what estimate he has made of the incidence of bullying in pupil referral units in each of the last three years; (231382)

(2) what estimate he has made of the incidence of bullying of pupils in maintained schools in each of the last three years;

(3) what estimate he has made of the incidence of bullying in maintained schools on grounds of (a) race or religion, (b) sexual orientation and (c) disability in each of the last three years;

(4) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of schools' data recording systems in relation to the effectiveness of their anti-bullying policies.

We are unable to provide figures for the number of bullying incidents in either PRU's or maintained schools as we do not collect these data centrally. However, we do collect data on young people's perceptions of bullying through the annual TellUs survey and have recently published the results of TellUs 3. The survey showed that 48 per cent. of children and young people experienced bullying during the previous year, either in school or in another setting.

We do not collect regular data on bullying related to race or religion, sexual orientation or disability and special educational needs. However, our annual Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) survey shows that white pupils, religious pupils not belonging to one of the mainstream religions, pupils with a disability and/or pupils with special educational needs are more likely to be bullied than their peers. The prevalence of bullying in all these groups decreases as the pupils get older.

We have introduced an indicator on bullying which underpins the Child Safety Public Service Agreement (PSA 13, NI69), and made clear that we expect the proportion of children and young people who experience bullying to go down over the spending review period. We have made clear that we will monitor progress on this indicator using the annual TellUs survey. My Department has also set up a board to monitor progress against the PSA. The board will look at a range of evidence and data to ensure that we are making satisfactory progress against this indicator including evidence in respect of bullying related to race and religion, sexual orientation, special educational needs and disability. We will seek to ensure that the proportion of black and minority ethnic, gay or disabled young people who experience bullying also goes down.

We have not carried out a systematic assessment of schools' data recording systems in relation to the effectiveness of their anti-bullying policies. However, we have asked the Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Strategies to work with local authorities and schools to ensure that they are effectively implementing the Department's guidance, and using the Anti-Bullying Charter to draw up robust policies. As part of this process, they will seek to ensure that schools have appropriate procedures in place for recording bullying incidents. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families, recently announced that we would introduce a new statutory requirement for schools to record incidents of verbal or physical abuse relating to bullying. We intend to consult key stakeholders on this over the coming months.