Current Affairs

Campaigning MP welcomes government bullying commitment

Tony Grew July 6, 2007
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Stephen Williams MP, a Liberal Democrat who has campaigned against bullying in schools, has welcomed the commitment from the Minister of Children to stamp out the problem.

The first Commons investigation into bullying by the Education Select Committee was instigated last year at the request of Mr Williams.

The committee heard evidence from charity Anti-Bullying Alliance that between 30-50% of young people in secondary schools attracted to people of the same sex will have directly experienced homophobic bullying compared to the 10-20% of young people who have experienced general bullying.

Their report also highlights the rise of cyber-bullying, where children are harassed by email or text message.

At yesterday’s Stonewall Education for All conference in London Kevin Brennan, the Minister for Children, committed the government to tackle homophobic bullying and said new guidance for teachers will be issued in September.

“This is welcome news and a good start for the new Minister,” Stephen Williams told

“The guidance will make a difference to the lives of thousands of children. It is important that all schools, without exception, adopt the new guidance.”

The select committee of MPs attacked Roman Catholic church-run schools for refusing to implement government guidelines on setting up anti-homophobic bullying policies.

“However, the teaching of the diversity of different sexualities is essential to promote understanding and acceptance of gay children or the children of gay parents,” said Mr Williams

“This can’t be achieved unless all schools are also obliged to teach Personal, Social and Health.”

Mr Williams, the MP for Bristol West, is a Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman on Higher Education.

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