Harassment and bullying in schools – Government action
UK Government actions
- In July 2021, the UK Government published a revised draft of its statutory guidance for schools, ‘Keeping children safe in education 2021’, which came into force in September. The updated guidance includes context on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children, and clearer advice for how staff should respond, following a public consultation launched in December 2020.
- In June 2021, Ofsted published the findings of a UK Government-commissioned review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges and made recommendations to improve safeguarding. In response, the UK Government announced additional support for schools to better identify sexual harassment.
- In April 2021, the UK Government set up a new helpline to report sexual abuse in schools and colleges. In June 2021, the helpline was extended for a further four months.
- In April 2021, the UK Government launched a procurement process to provide funding for 2021–2024 to organisations supporting schools to prevent bullying of all pupils, including those with protected characteristics.
- In June 2019, the UK Government adopted new relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education guidance. This stipulates that, by the end of primary school, pupils should know about different types of bullying, including cyberbullying, as well as the impact of bullying and how to get help.
- In April 2019, the UK Government published a statutory code of practice for providers of online social media platforms to help prevent bullying and other harmful conduct on their sites.
- In May 2018, the UK Government published advice for schools on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children. It covers dealing with incidents and allegations, and how to approach prevention, including through the curriculum.
- In July 2017, the UK Government published advice for schools on preventing and tackling bullying. This sets out the obligation on schools to have measures in place to prevent and address bullying.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on harassment and bullying in schools.
Welsh Government actions
Education policy is devolved to the Welsh Government.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government launched a consultation on its draft race equality action plan. The race equality action plan proposes action to improve guidance on bullying and address identity-based bullying in schools, universities and the workplace.
- In 2020, the Welsh Government included a long-term aim to eliminate harassment and bullying based on protected characteristics in its Strategic Equality Plan 2020–2024. There was a similar aim in its 2016–2020 plan.
- In January 2020, the Welsh Government updated guidance on the new curriculum for Wales, with specific guidance for teachers on developing the curriculum to focus on personal effectiveness, including empathy, kindness and compassion, healthy relationships and emotional intelligence.
- In 2019, the Welsh Government launched a range of guidance to address bullying in schools, including targeted guidance for parents and carers and a guide for young people, and statutory guidance, anti-bullying toolkits and specific provisions on prejudice-related bullying for schools.
- In 2017, the Welsh Government commissioned a report on barriers to learning faced by Black and mixed ethnicity learners. It includes recommendations to the Welsh Government to evaluate how racist incidents are recorded, monitored and reported, and to analyse bullying incident data to ensure that racism is not concealed in categories such as bullying related to appearance, language or clothing.
Read our assessment of the Welsh Government’s progress on harassment and bullying in schools.