Current Affairs

MPs to demand action on bullying in schools

Tony Grew March 26, 2007
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The House of Commons education and skills committee will publish a report tomorrow about the extent of bullying in schools.

Lib Dem MP and committee member Stephen Williams suggested they investigate victimisation of children based on race, sexuality or other factors.

“I hope this investigation will make a difference to the welfare of kids up and down Britain,” he told

“We have looked at identity-related bullying like racial, SEN (special educational needs) and homophobic bullying.”

A new report from charity Beatbullying and the News of the World, found that 61% of parents are concerned that their child could become a victim of bullying at school.

And of those parents of bullied children, 92% contacted the school about it and over a third (37%) considered the action taken to be ineffective with 13% describing the teachers as unresponsive and unhelpful.

This rises to 46% and 16% respectively when the child is aged 16-18.

During the committee hearings MPs heard about the less well-publicised bullying of children with conditions like autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

The report is expected to criticise the reluctance of some head teachers to admit to bullying in their schools. It will also highlight the rise of bullying by text or online.

Gordon Brown, who is expected to take over as Prime Minister from Tony Blair later this year, spoke out against harassment in schools.

“My plan to stop bullying starts with giving teachers the real power – and the capacity – to pick out, stop and exclude the bullies,” the Chancellor said yesterday.

Beatbullying want Mr Brown to pledge four pounds per child to prevent this widespread problem.

The charity claims that if the government spent £4 of the £6,660 ringfenced for every child’s education on anti-bullying prevention schemes then bullying and child on child violence could be significantly reduced.

Mr Williams, the MP for Bristol West and an out gay man, has consistently brought attention to homophobic bullying in schools since being elected to Parliament in 2005.

Last month he took part in a Channel 4 schools programme, Coming Out To Class, about the experiences of kids who reveal their sexual orientation while still at school.

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