Authored article

Michael Gove on bullying and bad classroom discipline in 'News of the World'

Michael Gove outlines how the Education and Children's Bill will give headteachers and teachers powers to deal with bullies and weapons.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

For too long, too many children in our country have suffered the misery of being bullied on a daily basis.

The numbers of children being bullied is declining - but last year as many as a quarter of children were still victims at least once.

And it’s simply unacceptable for even one child to be victimised, whether it’s in or out of school, or via text messages or social networking sites.

That’s why I have made tackling bullying and bad classroom discipline top priorities.

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.

We can be proud of the vast majority of young people. But 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. Yet in 2008 just 90 children were expelled for bullying.

Our Education and Children’s Bill in the autumn 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.

I’ll 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.

We trust that headteachers will use these powers. But there will be no-notice inspections for schools where behaviour is out of control.

These are the measures that will put heads and teachers back in control so they can enforce discipline in their schools and tackle bullying.

Published 7 September 2010