Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-47)


10 MAY 2006

  Q40  Chairman: David, everything you have said is absolutely sweet reason, but why is not Ofsted doing more about it? You recognise the problem. It is not reported. You do not seem to have encouraged more than 6% of schools to keep a register, so we do not really know the stats. Surely Ofsted should be much more active in this than you have been?

  Mr Moore: I think that Ofsted is very active in it, but we do not make policy; we merely report back to the Department.

  Q41  Chairman: Come, on David! You go into schools; part of your job is to assess the overall culture and effectiveness of the education in that school. If loads of kids are not learning because they are being bullied, or even because they are bullying, surely that is an Ofsted responsibility? Everything you have said has been first-class. I have to say that I have been very impressed by what you have said, but it does not seem to reflect what Ofsted is doing on the ground.

  Mr Moore: I think it is what Ofsted is doing on the ground.

  Q42  Chairman: Why is it only 6% of schools? You go in; the school does not have a policy on bullying; schools do not have a proper system of reporting. Why are only 6% doing it, if Ofsted is doing its job?

  Mr Moore: They are figures that are given that people say have been said. It is not hard evidence.

  Chairman: It leaves me with a feeling that Ofsted could do a lot better. Wind up, Stephen.

  Q43  Stephen Williams: I will wind up briefly. What single thing could the DfES do to improve this situation—from each of the three of you? Is it to do with collecting statistics? Is it a particular policy a school needs to have in place, or what?

  Mr Moore: The one thing they could do would need the support of people like yourselves: that headteachers have to ensure that there is proper training for their teachers, and not just leave it all the time to initial teacher training to try and resolve that problem, in the short space of time they have. It is an ongoing issue and it has to be regular, updated training of people.

  Ms Elliot: I think the one thing that schools could do would be to ensure that, say, every pupil had something—and this is actually done by one of your MPs, Dan Norris—

  Q44  Chairman: A very good MP, if I may say so.

  Ms Elliot: Yes, and I agree.

  Q45  Chairman: Universally admired!

  Ms Elliot: He is going to absolutely love that!

  Q46  Chairman: He is sitting behind you.

  Ms Elliot: Is he? No, he is not! This is just an example. It was done in his constituency, locally. Argos is now going to pay for this to go across the entire country. That is good practice. The same with this, which is a DVD that we developed. It is now going to every secondary school in the country, to give them exactly what they can do. Not a method. Here is a smorgasbord of things that work. Kidscape, which is tiny, had to go out and find the money to send this out. I have only 10 members of staff. It would have been very nice for the DfES to send this out free to every school, and to every primary school. We have just raised the money to do a DVD for primary schools. So the reality is practical things. Let us do things that actually get to the children, so that we do not keep getting the calls from these distressed parents, saying, "My kid has attempted suicide, aged nine, because they're being bullied".

  Mr Robinson: High-quality in-service training, paid for from the top, either by the DfES itself or by the local education authority. There is really no substitute.

  Q47  Chairman: Thank you very much. That was an excellent session. We learnt a lot. I am sorry if I was being bit hard on you there, David.

  Mr Moore: That is all right. I am used to it.

  Chairman: We have to be hard on Ofsted. Again, thank you very much. We have learnt a lot, and we are now going to talk to some heads about bullying.

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