Ahead of Anti-Bullying Week, Schools Minister Nick Gibb spoke to the News of the World about the importance of tackling bullying in schools:
Around half of all children say they’ve been bullied at school and had their lives blighted by fear. And it’s not just at school where young people encounter bullying.
It’s simply unacceptable for a child to be victimised - whether it’s in or out of school, or on their mobile phones, or on social networking sites like Facebook.
That’s why the coalition agreement that unites the government gives priority to tackling bullying and raising standards of behaviour in the classroom.
There are 3 clear principles behind the government’s position:
- we can’t allow any young person to go to school dreading the treatment they will get
- when a bullied child is brave enough to speak out, we must support them - not the bully
- when bullies are identified, we can’t just suspend them for a couple of days and then allow them to saunter back into school to torment their victims all over again
Our schools white paper later this month will put heads and teachers back in control, giving them a range of tough new powers to deal with bullies and the most disruptive pupils. Heads will be able to take a zero-tolerance approach and will have the final say - both in and outside of school.
We will also give teachers the right to remove disruptive children from the classroom without fear of legal action. They will be able to search pupils for weapons, and items like iPods and mobile phones, and confiscate them.
Schools will have revised guidance to make sure they know how to tackle bullying effectively.
We trust headteachers and teachers to use these powers. But there will be no-notice inspections for schools where behaviour, including bullying, is out of control.
As Schools Minister, I am determined to do everything I can to tackle bullying and to help schools raise standards of behaviour in the classroom.