Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Bullies Are Being Thrown out of Schools

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Bullies Are Being Thrown out of Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

MORE bullies are being removed from schools as headteachers move to stamp out abuse, new figures show today.

Children were suspended or expelled for bullying on 860 occasions in London schools last year, up 52 per cent from 567 in the previous 12 months.

Headteachers said the figures showed schools were taking an increasingly zero-tolerance approach to bullies.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, predicted the crackdown would continue. He said: "It may well increase and then decrease as the message gets home."

The Evening Standard obtained data from 22 of the 33 London boroughs under the Freedom of Information Act, showing how many temporary and permanent exclusions were carried out in the 2003-4 and 2004-5 school years.

Exclusions rose in 17 boroughs and went down in only five. There were wide variations between authorities.

Last year, one child was suspended for bullying in Hounslow while, at the other end of the scale, there were 88 suspensions and two expulsions in Bexley. All schools must have anti-bullyingpolicies and appoint a senior teacher to co-ordinate them but critics say that too many schools still refuse to accept that bullying is a problem.

Simon Blake, spokesman for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said: "There is sometimes reluctance for people to acknowledge that there is an issue of bullying. There isn't a school in the country, as far as I know, that doesn't have some sort of bullying that they have to address at some particular time.

It is not something to be ashamed of."

Mr Blake said that the tendency of some schools to ignore evidence had its roots in the old attitude that bullying was "just a phase" and would pass if a child ignored it or fought back.

"We've still got that funny culture where we think it's either characterbuilding, or it's a fact of life, or it will go away, or they are just teasing you about the colour of your hair. …

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