Down for the record

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A consultation document has been launched on a proposed new duty for schools to record serious and persistent incidents of bullying between pupils, racist incidents and incidents of verbal and physical abuse against school staff.

Bullying continues to be a high profile issue in English schools.  The proposals are justified on the basis that keeping records:

  • ensure bullying behaviours are picked up quickly and dealt with effectively
  • help schools review the effectiveness of their anti-bullying policies 
  • keep parents, pupils, governors and the LA  better informed on how bullying incidents are dealt with
  • promotes the anti-bullying work of schools

However, not all incidents of bullying need to be recorded. The terms ‘serious’ and ‘persistent’ are used although of course these are still open to interpretation. It is suggested that further guidance will help clarify how these terms might be used as well as indicating exactly what information the records should contain.

The consultation asks questions about:

  • whether data from the record should be sent to the local authority from schools
  • whether data from the record should be sent to central government
  • the degree to which different bullying incidents should be categorized e.g. those related to race, religion or culture, disability or SEN, sexuality, gender
  • whether all racist incidents should also be recorded this might include using racist language, producing racist graffiti or distributing racist literature

The Government is also to introduce a new duty to record incidents of physical or verbal abuse by registered pupils against school staff. The record will cover only incidents of physical or verbal abuse (including internet abuse) that cause harm or distress to staff.

The consultation asks questions about:

  • whether data from the record should be sent to the local authority from schools
  • whether data from the record should be sent to central government
  • the degree to which different   incidents should be categorized e.g. those related to race, religion or culture, disability or SEN, sexuality, gender

It should be noted that the government is only proposing that ‘anonymised’ data should be sent to the LA and central government.

It is likely that standard records will be made available for schools to use as part of school management information systems. The DCSF website points out that having this kind of information recorded can be useful when applying for quality marks such as National Healthy Schools and when completing the SEF.

It is expected that the range of incidents recorded would include those taking place outside of the school gates.

The consultation is now live and will close on Thursday 4th March 2010. The results of this DCSF consultation will be published on the e-consultation website in summer 2010.

Every Child Update
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