In November 2004, The Children's Legal Centre (CLC) provided updated
guidance commissioned by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) in a document
called 'Bullying: A Guide to the Law.' You can access the document from
the link below:
Bullying: A Guide to the law
This is a very useful and informative guide covering in depth on
issues such as:
- About Bullying
- What Are the schools’ responsibilities
- What to do if your child is being Bullied
- Withdrawing children from school
- What LEGAL action can you take if a bullying problem is not addressed?
- Bullying out of school
The guide also has some sample letters of complaint should the need arise.
Why Should Bullying Concern Schools?
What Does The Law Say in brief?
Children Act (1989)
All state schools have a duty to ensure the safety and to protect the emotional well-being of every person in its care. If a young person is being harassed or abused, the school must take action to protect them. The duty of care is the same for all. Young people who are lesbian or gay or are being homeiphobically bullied must be offered no lesser a standard of care than their peers, or indeed, offered inappropriate care.
Education Act (2002)
- two broad aims for the National Curriculum and schools should ensure that it:
- 'provides opportunities for all pupils to learn and achieve'
- 'promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.'
- requirements of governing bodies:
- 'The governing body of a maintained school shall make arrangements for ensuring that their functions relating to the conduct of the school are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are pupils at the school.'
(Education Act - 2002. Chapter 32. London: The Stationary Office)
Human Rights Act (1998)
- Head Teachers must have a policy to prevent bullying among pupils that complies to this Act.
- 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' (Article 3)
- 'Everyone has the right of respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.' (Article 8)
(Human Rights Act - 1998. Chapter 42. London: The Stationary Office)
National Healthy School Guidance
- Schools should have 'a policy and code of practice for tackling bullying, which is owned, understood and implemented by all members of the school community and includes contact with external support agencies.'
(Department for Education and Employment - 1999)
OFSTED Framework for Inspecting Schools (Effective September 2003)
- inspectors to report on the extent to which pupils are free from bullying, racism and other forms of harassment.
- to assess how effectively schools deal with bullying incidents
- to assess the effectiveness of the school's links with parents
Inspectors will assess the extent to which the school:
- deals effectively with incidents such as bullying, racism and other forms of harassment
- does all it can to promote good attendance
- is inclusive, by ensuring equality of access and opportunity for all pupils
- ensures that pupils work in a healthy and safe environment
seeks, values and acts on pupils' views
Inspectors will assess the extent to which the school actively enables pupils to:
- understand and respect other people's feelings, values and beliefs
- understand and fulfil the responsibilities of living in a community
Inspectors will assess the extent to which pupils:
- are free from bullying, racism and other forms of harassment
- form constructive relationships with others
- have confidence and self-esteem
Inspectors will assess the extent to which teachers:
- promote equality of opportunity
And the extent to which:
- each pupil has a good and trusting relationship with one or more adults in the school
- pupils have access to well informed support, advice and guidance as they progress through the school
(OFSTED - 2003. Inspecting Schools: Framework for Inspecting Schools. HMI 1525. London: OFSTED)
Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
- schools are required to promote race equality rather than to simply react to racist incidents.
- good practice indicates that the requirements of the Act should be linked to a school's Anti-Bullying Policy
(Race relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Chapter 34. London: The Stationary Office)
School Standards Framework Act (1998)
schools have certain statutory responsibilities regarding behaviour
'the head teacher shall determine measures (which may include the making of rules and provisions for enforcing them) to be taken with a view to . . . . .b) encouraging good behaviour and respect for others on the part of pupils and, in particular, preventing all forms of bullying among pupils.'
(School Standards and Framework Act - 1998. Chapter 31. London: The Stationary Office)
Social Inclusion: Pupil Support - (DfES Circular 10/99)
outlines government expectations and the legal duty of Head Teachers with regard to bullying.
specifically mentions bullying behaviour related to race, sexual orientation, a child's appearance, behaviour or special educational needs.
'The emotional distress caused by bullying in whatever form - be it racial, or as a result of a child's appearance, behaviour or special educational needs, or related to sexual orientation - can prejudice school achievement, lead to lateness or truancy and, in extreme cases, end with suicide.'
(DfES - 1999. Social Inclusion: Pupil Support Circular 10/99. London: DfES)
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UK 1991)
schools should have a bullying policy
each child should be informed of what to do if they find themselves being bullied
(United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - 1989)
Every Child Matters
The Government has now created a separate fully comprehensive web site titled 'Every Child Matters.' This includes details of and downloadable key documents and appropriate and current news bulletins and events.
To go to this site follow the link below: