Education and Skills Committee

27 March 2007

Bullying must not be tolerated, say MPs

A report on bullying from the Education & Skills Committee says that bullying is unacceptable, and that while awareness and action on bullying has improved over the past decade there are still areas of concern. There are examples of good practice but also, unfortunately, examples of schools which do not tackle bullying in a robust way. Ministers must maintain their robustness and resolve on the subject, the Committee say.

Commenting, Barry Sheerman said:

"The idea that bullying is in some way character building and simply part of childhood is wrong and should be challenged. However, without excusing bullying, we believe that bullying behaviour is influenced by attitudes and behaviour in society in general. From pupils to Ministers, all those involved in the lives of young people need to give the clear message that bullying, for whatever reason, is wrong."

Bullying, they argue, can have a negative effect on the educational and social achievements of children and young people. Schools should deal with all types of bullying consistently, including prejudice-driven bullying and should have effective anti-bullying programmes in place.

There is a lack of reliable information about the scale of the problem. Schools must record all incidents of bullying and further research is needed to identify trends in bullying as well as effective anti-bullying programmes.

The attitude of school leaders is vital to tackling bullying but teachers, staff, pupils, governors and others in the community all have an important role to play in tackling bullying. Guidance from the DfES and Local Authorities should ensure that minimum standards are met while giving schools the freedom to develop their own policies.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Embargoed copies of the report will be available from the House of Commons Press Gallery and the Reception 7 Millbank SW1P 3JA from 10.30am on Monday 26th March 2007.

  2. For detailed information the Education and Skills Committee can be contacted on 020 7219 6243.

  3. The membership of the Committee is as follows: Mr Barry Sheerman MP (Chairman) ,Mr Douglas Carswell MP, Mr David Chaytor, Jeff Ennis MP, Paul Holmes MP, Helen Jones MP, Fiona Mactaggart MP, Mr Gordon Marsden MP, Mr Andrew Pelling MP, Stephen Williams MP, Mr Rob Wilson MP.

  4. The report's title is 'Bullying' HC 85.