“All pupils should be able to carry out their daily school life free from bullying. We encourage schools and local authorities to study the report closely, learn from those schools where best practice was observed and consider how they can implement those recommendations relevant to them”.
– Welsh Government Spokesperson
It says it has issued a series of materials called Respecting Others which give anti-bullying guidance:
"Included in the guidance are five key sections - homophobic bullying; cyberbullying; bullying on the basis of race, culture and religion; sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying; and bullying involving pupils with SEN and disabilities. We are currently in the process of publicising the guidance more widely."
Inspectors say too many pupils suffer from bullying during their school lives.
A report published today by Estyn also says schools have a responsibility to tackle bullying in all forms under the Education Act 2002, but the ways in which schools deal with bullying varies widely.
'Action on bullying', found that even schools with good strategies to address the problem don't have a common understanding of how important it is to focus on groups of pupils with a higher-than-average risk of being bullied.
They include gay, lesbian and transgender pupils, those with a disability and pupils from a minority ethnic background.
Actor Spencer Wilding's acting credits include appearances in Harry Potter, Wrath of the Titans, Batman, Game of Thrones and Dr Who. But now he's taken on a new role, as patron of a campaign which is tackling bullying in the North Wales town where he went to school.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood insists there needs to be 'consistency' in the way records are compiled on incidents of homophobic bullying in schools. She says that 'unless we have a true picture of exactly what's going on, then it's very difficult to put policies in place to overcome the problem.'
Bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable. In October last year, we published a suite of comprehensive anti-bullying guidance which includes a specific section on homophobic bullying.
The guidance advises on preventing, responding to and monitoring and recording homophobic bullying. Good recording procedures allow schools to demonstrate that they are taking steps to tackle bullying, and that initiatives are effective.
We would encourage all local authorities to work with schools in adopting systems to record incidents of homophobic bullying and ensuring they are acted upon.
Welsh councils are 'in the dark' over incidents of homophobic bullying at schools, because many don't record them, a Plaid Cymru AM says.
This Plaid survey is worrying because it reveals that most local authorities are in the dark over the extent of homophobic bullying and, possibly, bullying generally. Some local authorities like Ceredigion and Conwy clearly have systems in place to record this information which is to be applauded. Knowing the extent of any problem is key to dealing with it, so something needs to change. Schools need to pass on information to local authorities or local authorities need to ask them to pass it on. It is also important that we know incidents are also being dealt with.
– Lindsay Whittle AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Equalities spokesperson
The party contacted councils with Freedom of Information requests - and the majority of Wales' 22 local authorities said they didn't keep records, as it was done by schools.
Lindsay Whittle says 'the Welsh Government may need to take action to ensure that incidents of bullying, including homophobic bullying, are recorded and acted on.'