Page last updated at 23:48 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 00:48 UK

Teachers report 'racist bullying'

Secondary school pupils
All schools must have an anti-bullying policy

Nearly half of teachers say racist bullying is a problem in their schools, a survey has found.

A Teachers TV survey of 802 teachers found two thirds said their schools had no policy on such bullying, and many worried about religious intolerance.

A third of teachers said more training would help them tackle the problem.

The government said all schools should have a strong anti-bullying policy, which should also include measures to tackle racist bullying.

Teachers TV questioned 802 teachers to coincide with its anti-racism week.

One in five said they were aware of Islamophobia in their schools.

Some of those who said racist bullying was a problem said teachers had been targeted.

Teachers TV chief executive Andrew Bethell said: "The education workforce recognise racism as a significant issue in schools and have expressed a desire for further training and knowledge of how other schools deal with racism."

'Serious'

Schools have a statutory duty to record all incidences of racist bullying and report them to the local authority, and schools must ensure that all pupils feel safe.

The local authority should monitor the frequency of racist bullying to spot any increase in such behaviour.

The goal, the government says, is a school where there are "few racist incidents and these are dealt with effectively: Pupils from different ethnic backgrounds mix and get on well with each other".

64% said they agreed or strongly agreed that racism was an issue in schools generally
46.4% thought it was a problem in their school
10.2% said teachers had been a target of racist bullying
2.6% said they had seen teachers bully pupils racially
15% said they thought racism had increased in their school
73% of teachers questioned worked in non-faith schools
Source: Teachers TV survey

Government advice to teachers says: "The distinctive feature of a racist attack or insult is that a person is attacked not as an individual, as in most other offences, but as the representative of a family, community or group.

"Other members of the same group, family or community are in consequence made to feel threatened and intimidated as well."

The advice warns that a single incident of racist bullying must be treated very seriously, even if it appears to be an isolated case.

"A single one-off incident may have precisely the same impact as a series of incidents over time," the guidance says.

"This is because it may be experienced by the person at the receiving end as part of a general pattern of racist hostility. It can in consequence be every bit as intimidating, rejecting and hurtful as a series of events over time."

Children's minister Delyth Morgan said racism in schools was "completely unacceptable".

"Children are not born racist and we must work hard to ensure they are educated to be tolerant of difference, and stop bigoted views from outside schools spilling over into the playground," she said.

"We are funding the National Strategies and the Anti-Bullying Alliance to ensure our guidance is implemented effectively in local authorities and schools, and are monitoring the situation closely."



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