Follow Us:

Anti bullying guidance for Church of England schools

Hooks with school children's coats and bags

Share This Post

The Church of England has published new anti-bullying guidance for use in its 4,700 Church schools.

The document, entitled ‘Guidance for preventing and tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying’ is the first of a new suite of resources and will come into effect from September 2024 after a consultation period. This suite, named ‘Flourishing for All: Anti-bullying guidance for Church of England schools,’ will expand with additional sections in the coming months.

In total, five resources will address bullying on the basis of protected characteristics, including race, special educational needs and disability, religion and belief, as well as sexist bullying and sexual harassment, alongside the anti-HBT bullying guidance released today. This new guidance replaces the earlier document, ‘Valuing All God’s Children’, first published in 2014.

With a consultation now open, schools, parents, or other stakeholders are invited to respond individually or on behalf of a group.  The guidance is informed by a range of statutory and non-statutory frameworks and guidance documents for schools, including the recent draft government guidance on Gender Questioning Children (2023) and by the final report and recommendations to NHS England from Dr Hilary Cass (2024).

The new Church of England guidance will reflect any changes in the final Government guidance once published. An original publication date for the draft in June 2024 was postponed due to the General Election, but with the election concluded the resources have now been shared promptly to allow schools to provide input before the end of term.

The Church of England has contributed to the consultation on the draft Government guidance, welcoming its publication but identifying areas needing clarification, such as the requirement for robust pastoral support for individuals and families, and alignment with Dr Cass’s findings. The Church’s feedback also advised that legal assertions in the guidance require clarification to give school leaders confidence that their actions will not be contested if they follow the guidance.

Writing in the introduction to the guidance, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Jonathan Frost, said: “Bullying has no place in our schools; every child deserves to learn in an environment where they are loved, supported, and respected. 

“Our hope and prayer is that these resources will be used by schools across the country to enable such flourishing and ensure that each and every child, knowing they are unique and made in the image of God, will find in our schools a safe environment where bullying of any kind is not tolerated.”

The Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders, added: “The Anti-Bullying Alliance has recently revealed that nearly 1 in 4 children in England report frequent bullying. Over the last ten years, the terminology has changed, and with the rise of social media, the debates on gender and sexuality have become polarised, which does nothing to help the young people whose wellbeing should be our first priority.

“We are starting with anti-HBT bullying guidance because there is a need in schools for updated guidance this autumn following the Government consultation and the publication of the Cass review. 

“We hope these new resources will help to support anti-bullying efforts in schools, ensuring dignity and fairness for all children, which reflects the Church of England’s vision for education.

Anti-bullying guidance for Church of England schools | The Church of England