Monday, August 15, 2016

Reply from Department education

Dear Mr Clarke

Thank you for your email of 2 August about your complaint against Westland’s School.

I was sorry to read your account of what your friend’s son has experienced at school. I appreciate this must be a difficult and distressing time for all of you.

It is unacceptable that your friend’s son has been subject to this kind of treatment. It is the government’s priority to ensure that every school tackles bullying effectively. Young people should be able to enjoy their education free from harassment or bullying. It is important that when a bullying incident occurs, schools respond in a way that supports the bullied and ensures that the bullying does not happen again.

It is unclear from your correspondence whether your friend has made a formal complaint to the school. He can raise a formal complaint by following the school’s complaint procedure. The school must provide parents with a copy of their policy on request and he should ensure that any correspondence is marked as a formal complaint.

I should explain that there is little scope for the Secretary of State to intervene in cases of this nature. She can only do so where a governing body or a local authority has failed to carry out a legal duty or has acted unreasonably in the performance of such duties.

I can explain more generally the measures that the government has in place to support schools to tackle bullying.
The government does not want any young person to go to school dreading the treatment they will get. It is never acceptable for a child to be victimised or harmed in any way. That is why this government has made preventing and tackling poor behaviour and bullying a top priority. Ministers have sent a clear message to schools that such behaviour is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

By law all schools must have measures in place to prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. In addition the government has issued advice which sets out the steps schools can take to tackle bullying effectively and includes a section on prevention and intervention. You may wish to read this advice which is available at:

Schools are held clearly to account by Ofsted for how well they deal with bullying. Since January 2012, school inspections focus on the four core areas of a school, one of which is behaviour and safety including bullying. Inspectors must consider pupils’ freedom from harassment, bullying and discrimination. This approach will encourage schools to focus on this area and improve where necessary.

Your friend may wish to report this matter to the ‘Director of Children’s Services’ at his local authority.

He may also find it helpful to view the document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, which can be found at:

Once again, thank you for writing.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2016-0037516. If you need to respond to us, please visit: and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at:

Yours sincerely

Marie Duffy 

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

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