UK Cabinet Minister brands Abertillery bullying incident 'sickening' as fundraiser tops £80,000

Raheem Bailey's mother Shantal claims her son had to have his finger amputated after fleeing from racist bullies. Credit: Media Wales

The UK government's Education Secretary has described an alleged racist bullying incident at a Welsh school as "sickening".

Raheem Bailey, 11, had to have his finger amputated after injuring it while "fleeing school bullies" in Abertillery, his mother said.

Shantal Bailey said he got it caught while climbing a fence.

Raheem has been facing "racial and physical abuse" as well as being bullied about his height since he started secondary school at Abertillery Learning Community in South Wales in September, according to Ms Bailey.

In response to the incident, Cabinet Minister Nadhim Zahawi recalled being racially abused and dunked head down in a pond by bullies during his school days.

The UK Government Education Secretary has said the alleged incident is "sickening". Credit: Media Wales

Mr Zahawi, whose family fled Iraq for the UK when he was a child, told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: "It's sickening, we always need to do more.

"I suffered bullying when I first arrived on these shores. I couldn't speak English and it was hard, I remember my first experience... being chased around the park as a sort of entertainment for bigger boys and then throwing me in the pond or dunking my head down in the pond, pretty horrific for a child who has just arrived on these shores."

'Teachers have a responsibility to safeguard all children in their care', UK Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi MP says

Asked if there was a racist element to the bullying, Mr Zahawi replied: "I don't know, it was a long time ago but I've certainly been on the receiving end of other racist slurs, words, whatever.

"It's a horrible thing and I'm determined to stamp it out, as I'm determined to stamp out antisemitism in our schools or in our universities.

"There's no place for racism anywhere in our society, let alone in education."

Raheem's case prompted the Welsh Government to release a statement, saying: "We condemn bullying and racial harassment in any form and expect allegations and incidents of bullying and racism to be fully investigated by schools with appropriate action taken to address the matter and prevent further instances from happening.

Ms Bailey claims the alleged bullying of her son was racially motivated. Credit: Media Wales

"We understand that this incident is being investigated by the school and the local authority, and that Gwent Police are involved and carrying out an investigation."

A spokeswoman for Abertillery Learning Community said: "We are currently working closely with Gwent Police and the local authority to establish the full details of the incident.

"The wellbeing and safety of our pupils and staff remains of paramount importance."

Gwent Police confirmed it is investigating the incident, after receiving a report on Wednesday.

More than £83,000 has been donated to Raheem via a GoFundMe page which his mother set up to raise money for a prosthetic finger and money to aid his recovery.