Bullying in any form is unacceptable and can have a devastating effect on children, young people and their families.
That’s why, as anti-bullying week continues, we have confirmed funding for five leading organisations, worth over £1m in total, to support schools and colleges as part of their responsibility to tackle all forms bullying.
We have also launched a new mental health support scheme for school leaders, which will help promote teachers’ wellbeing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new measures announced today.
1. So, what have we announced today?
Thousands of schools in England are set to benefit from further support, resources, and training to help them combat bullying, promote diversity in children and young people, and improve wellbeing for staff.
Building on the £3.5m the Department has already delivered to charities and organisations to prevent bullying since 2016, the latest funding boost will go towards projects and programmes that tackle bullying focused on protected characteristics including LGBT+, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and victims of hate-related bullying.
As part of the department’s wider measures to promote good wellbeing across pupils, teachers and school and college staff, a new support scheme for school leaders is also being launched today, backed by £760,000 of Government funding.
2. Which organisations will receive this new funding for anti-bullying support?
Organisations that will receive grants from the Department are:
- National Children’s Bureau (Anti-Bullying Alliance): ‘United Against All Bullying’ will focus on reducing bullying of those most at risk: children and young people with SEND, children and young people who experience racist and faith-targeted bullying, sexual bullying, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, looked-after children, young carers and those on free school meals.
- Diversity Role Models: This will deliver a package of interventions for schools to ensure staff have the knowledge and skills to tackle and prevent bullying and create inclusive school cultures. This will be anchored by training about diversity and the protected characteristics, featuring personal lived experience stories to embed empathy.
- Equaliteach: This intensive, evidence-based, anti-bullying programme will be delivered to at least 80 schools per year. Each school receives a dedicated EqualiTeach Representative who will work with them on policies, consult with the school community, review existing practice, and develop and implement a bespoke action plan. Each school will also receive a series of online and in-person staff training, networking opportunities with other schools and an Agents for Change event for pupils.
- Anne Frank Trust: ‘Different But The Same’, an intensive anti-bullying support 3-year project, will provide training and support for nearly 80,000 young people, their teachers and schools to tackle bullying focused on protected characteristics including LGBT+, SEND, race, religion/belief or sexual/sexist-based bullying.
- The Diana Award: This project will empower young people with the skills, tools, confidence and knowledge needed to significantly transform school culture and provide support to peers. The award has the aim of reducing prevalence of bullying with particular focus on protected characteristics and associated bullying, and increased school confidence and ability in responding to incidents of bullying effectively.
3. Can I hear more about the support scheme for teachers?
The new mental health support scheme for school leaders will be delivered by the charity Education Support and will run from this autumn until March 2023.
The scheme will provide one-to-one counselling and peer support to around 2,000 school leaders, helping those at deputy head level and above with their mental wellbeing.
It builds on a pilot involving over 350 school leaders, which was launched in response to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Eligible school leaders can access the programme from today through the Education Support website and helpline.
An updated Education Staff Wellbeing Charter will also be published this week, which sets out commitments from the government, Ofsted, education unions and charities, to promote and protect the mental health of the education workforce.
Through the charter, the department pledges to work with the sector to drive down unnecessary workload, improve access to wellbeing resources, and champion flexible working, among a range of actions to support staff wellbeing. The department is now encouraging all state funded schools and colleges to sign up to the charter to create a united approach to supporting staff wellbeing.
4. What else is the government doing to help tackle bullying in education?
There are a range of measures in place to combat bullying in the education system. A few of these are outlined below.
- The department’s relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) guidance and training resources give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, while fostering respect for others and the understanding of healthy relationships.
The new RSHE subjects also include teaching about bullying, healthy friendships, equality and the risks of stereotyping and online safety to ensure children are kept safe both in school but also at home, where cyberbullying can continue. Online safety should also be included in a school’s child protection policy. The Department for Education’s Teaching Online Safety in Schools guidance aims to support schools in teaching pupils how to stay safe online within new and existing school subjects, such as RSHE, Citizenship and Computing.
- The Government’s Online Safety Bill will also deliver a ground-breaking new system of accountability which will require internet companies to protect its users from online abuse and will make it easier to report harmful activity.
- The Department’s Preventing and Tackling Bullying guidance provides further advice for schools on preventing and responding to bullying, including advice for head teachers and school staff on cyberbullying. As part of this, schools are also required to have policies to prevent all forms of bullying that give head teachers the confidence to ensure they can deal with any behaviour that prevents a calm, disciplined learning environment.
- Today’s funding also comes ahead of the UK government hosting its first global LGBT conference in June 2022. As announced by the government earlier this year, the theme of the event will be ‘Safe to be me’, with an aim to make progress on legislative reforms against violence and discrimination and protect and promote the equal rights of LGBT people from around the world. The global event will bring together elected officials, policy makers, and the international LGBT community to protect and promote the rights of LGBT people around the world.