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Written Question
Schools: Antisemitism
Tuesday 24th May 2022

Asked by: Sarah Owen (Labour - Luton North)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect Jewish (a) pupils and (b) teachers from anti-Semitic abuse in schools.

Answered by Robin Walker - Minister of State (Education)

The government is clear that antisemitism, as with all forms of bullying and hatred, is abhorrent and has no place in our schools. All educational institutions should be inclusive and welcoming for students and staff from all backgrounds.

The department is aware of reported increases in such incidents, during an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May 2021, which is why the former Secretary of State for Education wrote to schools to remind them of their responsibilities to deal with antisemitic incidents with due seriousness as well as their legal duties regarding political impartiality. The department has also published further guidance on political impartiality in schools to help them to ensure educational initiatives in schools are not politically biased or one-sided.

The government continues to take action to support schools to tackle all forms of bullying, including antisemitism. Our Preventing and Tackling Bullying guidance sets out that schools should develop a consistent approach to monitoring bullying incidents and evaluating the effectiveness of their approaches. It also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality, as well as sexual harassment and sexual bullying.

The department is also providing over £2 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of groups who share protected characteristics, including race and faith and belief, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying.

The government has also supported Holocaust education for many years and is fully committed to continuing this support. In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. Effective teaching about the Holocaust can support pupils to learn about the possible consequences of antisemitism and extremism, to understand how society can prevent the repeat of such a catastrophe. The department provides funding for several programmes to support school pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust.

The department has published guidance for schools on the Equality Act 2010, which sets out the general provisions that apply to schools in their role as employers. The guidance is clear that all of the protected characteristics are covered by these provisions and that harassment or victimisation against potential or existing employees in relation to any of the protected characteristics is unlawful. We encourage schools to consult the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidance and Codes of Practice for Employers for more detailed information on their obligations to their teachers and other staff.

Written Question
Codes of Practice: Bullying
Monday 3rd February 2020

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to amend the Ministerial Code to include the steps that will be taken in the event that a (b) a Minister and (b) Special Adviser is accused of bullying a civil servant.

Answered by Chloe Smith - Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Ministerial Code makes clear that: “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the Ministerial Code and will not be tolerated”. Sections 1.4 to 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out steps to investigate allegations of a breach of the Ministerial Code.

The model contract for Special Advisers and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers sets out the standards of conduct expected of special advisers, and the disciplinary procedures that will be followed where necessary.

Written Question
Internet: Children and Young People
Wednesday 26th June 2019

Asked by: Chris Elmore (Labour - Ogmore)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect (a) vulnerable children, (b) young people, (c) young carers and (d) people in the care system through regulation of the internet.

Answered by Margot James

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. This will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups. We will establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. This regulator will set clear safety standards, through codes of practice, backed up by mandatory reporting requirements and effective enforcement powers.

At the same time as the White Paper, the Government published the Social Media Code of Practice, which sets out actions that the Government believes providers of social media platforms should take to prevent bullying, insulting, intimidating and humiliating behaviours on their sites.

In addition to providing children with the tools to go online safely, we already expect companies to protect them from inappropriate content. Ahead of the new regulatory framework, we will produce a new, additional draft code of practice focusing specifically on child online safety. The draft code will set our expectations about what is required to keep children safe and will examine existing resources available, including whether specific guidance should be available to parents and carers.