£750K scheme to target 'sexual bullying' in schools

Government plans bullying crackdown as Ofsted investigates concerns of a 'rape culture' in schools

Amy Gibbons

The DfE is funding a scheme to tackle sexual bullying in schools, weeks after allegations on the Everyone's Invited website raised fears of a 'rape culture' in schools

The government has set aside up to £750,000 for a scheme aiming to clamp down on bullying in schools, new documents reveal.

The Department for Education's "anti-bullying programmes" will address "sexual" or "sexist" bullying and should also help to protect pupils who identify as LGBT, or those who are targeted based on their race or religion, according to contract documents.

The news comes within weeks of the government launching a review into sexual abuse in schools, amid "rape culture" concerns linked to thousands of allegations of peer-to-peer sex abuse received by the Everyone's Invited website.


'Rape culture': Government launches review into school sexual abuse

Concerns: Children's tsar wants Ofsted safeguarding 'focus'

Ofsted: Call to deal with school 'rape culture' firmly


The department is currently seeking bids for a contract to supply the anti-bullying programme, valued at between £450,000 and £750,000, which is set to start on 1 August 2021 and run for just over three years, ending on 31 August 2024.

DfE scheme to stop 'sexual bullying'

In the contract description, the DfE said the purpose of the funding was to "embed practice to help to prevent and tackle bullying in schools, including that of pupils with protected characteristics such as LGBT, SEND, race or religion/and belief or sexual/sexist-based bullying".

"Bids should demonstrate how they will increase the quality of support and information available to schools; ensure support is based on the evidence about what works in this space; and how they will embed practice into other areas such as relationships, sex and health education," it said.

"As a result of this programme, we would expect to see a reduction in the prevalence of bullying, including that of pupils with protected characteristics, as well as increased school confidence and ability to respond to incidents of bullying effectively."

The department also made reference to its own behaviour policy, with a focus on "clear systems of rewards and sanctions".

"We expect schools to take a strong stand against all forms of bullying," it said.

"Schools should take action to prevent bullying, and to tackle it at the earliest opportunity when it does occur, so it does not escalate. This is particularly important given the impact it can have on pupils both emotionally and physically.

"The department's advice on behaviour and discipline makes it clear that having a whole-school policy, consistently applied, with clear systems of rewards and sanctions is key to securing good behaviour. Pupils will be happier and achieve more if they are free from disruption and fear of bullying."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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