Exclusive: Kate Green on how bullies left her 'torn-up'

Shadow education secretary tells Tes she was bullied in school and warns the problem is still causing 'harm’ to pupils

Bullying in schools: Labour shadow education secretary Kate Green has spoken about being bullied in school

Shadow education secretary Kate Green has opened up about being bullied at school, saying that at the time she didn’t know she could speak out about it.

Ms Green, the Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston who has also served as shadow minister for woman and equalities, was giving an exclusive interview to Tes in which she spoke of her life as a pupil in Livingston, near Edinburgh, in the 1960s and 70s. 

She said she worried that an “underlying culture of bullying" was still causing "deep unhappiness and harm” to children and young people in school, but added that pupils are educated to be much more aware of it nowadays.

Read: Kate Green appointed as shadow education secretary

Exclusive: Teachers 'need an end to joyless curriculum'

Kate Green: GCSE 2021 grading ‘needs to be regional’

Ms Green said: “When I was a child not only was there a lot of bullying in school but it did not have anything like the acknowledgement and recognition and [nor was there the] determination to deal with it that we see in schools today.

Tackling bullying in schools

“A lot of us were [bullied] and we didn’t know that we could or should speak out about it. We kind of took it for granted and yet I think there were a lot of unhappy kids around experiencing bullying when I was in school

“It wasn’t constant but there were periods all through school years that I can remember incidents. I suspect people who were carrying out bullying were also bullied. I think you see that pattern still today.

“[My feeling] was the same as how it makes everybody feel when it happens to them, and it’s the same in adult life – you feel frightened, you feel torn-up inside, and you try to put on a brave face and laugh it off.

“And at times it can preoccupy you and stop you from really doing other things that you really want to be doing and should be doing to get on with your life”.

Ms Green also called for an end to the "joyless" curriculum, and spoke out about the "fear" in schools of Ofsted inspectors calling for "collaborative and supportive" inspections post-pandemic.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

Latest stories

Covid in schools, GCSEs 2021, teacher safety: LIVE

Coronavirus and schools: LIVE 1/3

A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the ongoing pandemic will have on their working lives.
Tes Reporter 1 Mar 2021