Department for Education
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Thousands more children to benefit from anti-bullying app

£4.4 million government fund backs projects including tootoot app to let children use screenshots of online abuse to report bullying.

An online app that lets children report bullying using screenshots of social media will be rolled out to hundreds of schools thanks to a £4.4 million government fund.

‘Tootoot’ is an online platform providing 24-hour support to young people who are victims of bullying or online abuse.

Cyber bullying gives bullies the cover of anonymity but the app counteracts this by allowing children to report bullying incidents anonymously themselves.

They can screenshot abusive messages or even take photographs of bullies in action, then send them via the app. The reports will then be read by staff at the child’s school, but no one else.

Yesterday the Department for Education announced that tootoot and 9 other innovative schemes to tackle bullying in schools are being backed with £4.4million of government investment.

As a result, 120,000 students across 300 schools will be able to use the programme to report incidents such as bullying, cyber bullying, or homophobic, transphobic and biphobic abuse. The scheme, run by Internet Matters, will also train 4,500 teachers and educate 60,000 parents about how to protect their children from cyberbullying. An online hub will provide thousands of children, parents and carers with support around the clock, including in school holidays, with advice on tackling bullying and tips on how to block and report abuse on a range of online platforms.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

School should be a safe place where children can go to grow and learn. No child should ever be bullied and apps like this now mean support for any child is only a click away.

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters, said:

We’re delighted to be working with tootoot - an organisation giving students a safe environment to report bullying through its innovative app. We’re pleased that the Department for Education is helping us and tootoot roll this programme out to as many schools as possible.

Intimidation and victimisation used to be limited to the playground, but now extends beyond the school gates. Reporting tools like tootoot allow children to raise issues like bullying confidentially.

The £4.4 million fund includes £1.6 million over 2 years from the Department for Education and £2.8 million from the Government Equalities Office for projects tackling homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying.

Other projects receiving grants from the fund include:

  • A new Rainbow Flag Award recognising schools’ work to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) abuse. Schools are nominated by students for how well they address HBT bullying and promote inclusion
  • An extension of The Diana Award’s peer-to-peer Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme, with an additional 4,000 young people trained to lead campaigns to empower themselves and others to take responsibility of bullying, behaviour and wellbeing of the student body and engage in good Anti-Bullying practice. They will also be developing dedicated anti-cyber bullying toolkits and resources with support from top social media providers
  • Barnardo’s and Stonewall will each be working with faith organisations and schools in separate projects to tackle HBT bullying and support young LGB&T people of faith
  • A project by the Anne Frank Trust which encourages debate and discussion to help tackle the hate-related bullying issues faced by young people today

Dominic Arnall, Head of Projects and Programmes at Stonewall, said:

We want our work on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools to reach even further, so every lesbian, gay, bi and trans young person can feel safe and supported in the classroom and can achieve their full potential.

This funding will enable us to work in partnership with faith groups and schools to deliver training appropriate to each of the major faiths and help teachers create learning environments where every child can be accepted without exception.

Further information

Studies have shown that between the ages of 14 to 16, more than half of young people who later identify as LGB experienced bullying within the last 12 months.

Evaluation of the government’s previously-funded projects on HBT bullying found:

  • An increase from 25% to 85% of participating teachers who agreed or strongly agreed that they had sufficient knowledge of different strategies they could use to address homophobic and biphobic bullying
  • An increase from 19% to 82% of participating teachers reporting knowledge of where to access shared learning or good practice in challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying
  • An increase from 21% to 78% in teachers’ reported ability to discuss the link between gender stereotyping and transphobia

View more information on the programme evaluation online.

For further information, please contact our newsdesk on telephone: 020 7783 8300.

The successful projects

Funded by the Department for Education:

Internet Matters

Internet Matters will work to support reporting of cyber bullying to schools, with the award-winning tootoot online platform at its core. The innovative tool, which works on mobiles and tablets as well as computers, allows young people, parents and carers to report bullying incidents to schools simply and privately, and include evidence such as pictures or screenshots from social media.

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters, said:

Internet Matters believes strongly in working with organisations to give parents and children the tools and advice they need to help tackle bullying in all its forms. We’re delighted to be working with tootoot - an organisation giving students a safe environment to report bullying through its innovative app. We’re pleased that the Department for Education is helping us and tootoot roll this programme out to as many schools as possible.

Bullying can take many forms. Intimidation and victimisation used to be limited to the playground, but now extends beyond the school gates. Sometimes children can feel embarrassed talking to their teachers and parents about cyberbullying. Reporting tools like tootoot allow children to raise issues like bullying confidentially.

Diana Award

The Diana Award will be extending their peer-to-peer Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme, with an additional 4,000 young people trained to lead campaigns to empower themselves and others to take responsibility of bullying, behaviour and well-being of the student body and engage in good anti-bullying practice. They will also be developing dedicated anti-cyberbullying toolkits and resources with support from top social media providers.

Tessy Ojo, CEO, The Diana Award said:

We are delighted to receive this government grant for The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme. We know that early intervention is critical in the prevention of bullying behaviour and we put children and young people at the heart of our work using our successful ‘Power of Peer’ model to shape attitudes and change behaviour. This grant will go directly towards empowering 4,000 children and teaching professionals to keep themselves safe both online and offline.

Anti-Bullying Alliance

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (National Children’s Bureau) will extend their All Together programme, which focuses on reducing bullying of children withSEND, to reach other groups of vulnerable children, including looked after children and young carers. The programme includes face-to-face training for teachers, including trainees, helplines and online information for parents of children with SEND, and engaging young people in the development of resources for the programme, including the establishment of an advisory group of disabled young people.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said:

We know that disabled children and young people and those with SEN remain significantly more likely to experience bullying than those without SEN/disability. The All Together programme has a proven track record of reducing bullying and improving the school experience of disabled children and those with SEN and we are really pleased that the Anti-Bullying Alliance we will be able to continue their work in partnership with the Council for Disabled Children, Achievement for All and Contact a Family to develop and embed, in schools and settings across England, the All Together programme to reduce bullying of disabled children and those with special educational needs.

Anne Frank Trust

The Anne Frank Trust will develop their Free2choose debate resource and workshops, which educate young people to challenge all forms of discrimination and hate-related bullying. This resource will be used to reach 30,000 young people in primary and secondary schools. In addition the Trust will train a selection of young people to become peer educators, creating their own discussion resources and using them to hold in-school debates.

Robert Posner, Chief Executive, The Anne Frank Trust UK, said:

We are delighted to be working with the Department for Education to tackle bullying in schools. Their support will help us to develop our programmes to allow young people to debate hate in an open and honest way, and empower them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle prejudice and discrimination. Continuing societal divisions mean that the work we do is needed now more than ever. We believe that only by reaching young people at a formative stage can we help them to critique their own attitudes before they are fully formed, and work towards a society safe from discrimination.

Funded by the Government Equalities Office

LGBT Consortium

The LGBT Consortium will galvanise the local expertise of specialists working with young LGBT people and schools, to deliver a mixture of a whole school approach and staff training to promote inclusive environments. The Consortium will particularly focus on reaching rural areas and areas of high deprivation. Young LGBT people will be actively involved throughout the design and delivery of their programme, which will be supported by tools including an ‘Advice for the Advisor’ helpline where school staff can get support on specific HBT issues.

Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Consortium (Lead Partner for the LGBT Schools Project Partnership) said:

“As a Partnership of LGBT youth-focussed organisations from across England, we see the impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying on a daily basis. Our new project, in conjunction with other funded projects, has the opportunity to be a real game-changer by working with a diversity of schools and school staff so they are better equipped to tackle issues with confidence and with the right back-up support. We are looking forward to supporting schools in both rural and urban areas create environments where every young LGB and Trans student can learn and grow in a safe and supportive space.”

Proud Trust

Proud Trust will work in partnership with SexYOUality, Allsorts and DISC (who all deliver UK LGBT youth support) to deliver a whole school approach and training for schools. This will include the Rainbow Flag Award – awards for each colour in the rainbow to recognise schools’ achievements, from supporting the confidence of leadership teams to pupil-led initiatives. Pupils are encouraged to fill out report cards for their schools, rating how well they address HBT and promote inclusion.

Amelia Lee, Strategic Director of the Proud Trust, said:

The Proud Trust and our partner groups are all very excited about this opportunity. The Rainbow Flag Award will help make lasting changes in schools to promote equality and make all school environments positive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students.

We are proud to be working with the Government Equalities Office on a project which helps tackle inequality and bullying, through putting young people at the heart of positive changes in schools, in partnership with their teachers, parents and governors.

Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s will deliver both a whole school approach and teacher training programme in partnership with faith organisations, addressing HBTbullying and supporting young LGBT people of faith. They will closely work with local authorities to identify schools most in need of support, and develop tailored support for them.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

No child should ever have to deal with the trauma of being bullied. We want all schools to tackle HBT bullying and create an environment where every child and young person feels respected, supported and safe.

Our work has shown us that homophobic, biphopic and transphobic (HBT) bullying is a particularly malicious form of abuse. The funding will provide the much needed resources to tackle HBT bullying at its core and will help to give those affected by bullying support if they need it.

Metro

Metro will work with 2 pioneering schools to deliver a tailored package of support and training for 200 schools – including a support line for pupils, parents and staff, counselling, and the formation of equalities steering groups in schools. HBT bullying ambassadors will act as LGBT role models, helping to start a conflict mediation programme with sixth formers to empower pupils.

Dr Greg Ussher, METRO Charity CEO, said:

We are delighted that our bid to deliver a comprehensive project taking an innovative, tailored approach in preventing and responding to HBTbullying, and creating an inclusive school environment has been successful. We will be working with two pioneer schools ensuring viability and appropriateness of a suite of interventions including HBTbullying ambassadors, peer conflict mediation, staff training, workshops for parents, diversity days, ally groups, counselling, equalities steering groups and an advice line for pupils, parents and teachers, with a trail-blazing school-centred approach to engaging further schools.

We will draw on our unparalleled record of high-quality HBT bullying work with CAMHS, youth groups, local authorities, schools and colleges to deliver this exciting new program.

Stonewall

Stonewall will work in partnership with faith organisations and faith schools across England. They will create specific guidance for schools to support LGB&T pupils within their communities, offer bespoke consultation to leadership teams, and deliver school staff training through their expert faith delivery partners. They will also create new training modules on the topics of gender and trans identities, and provide resources to help engage students.

Dominic Arnall, Head of Projects and Programmes at Stonewall, said:

We want our work on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools to reach even further, so every lesbian, gay, bi and trans young person can feel safe and supported in the classroom and can achieve their full potential.

This funding will enable us to work in partnership with faith groups and schools to deliver training appropriate to each of the major faiths to help teachers tackle anti LGBT abuse effectively. We’re working with expert faith partners on this project who will not only help us consult with schools but will also help deliver bespoke training and support. We’ll be equipping hundreds of teachers with the skills and tools that will enable them to create learning environments where every child can be accepted without exception.

National Children’s Bureau

National Children’s Bureau will draw on the expertise of Anti-Bullying Alliance, Sex Education Forum and Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) to work with six local authority areas across three regions to become national beacons of excellence in HBT anti-bullying practice. They will provide support to school staff and senior leadership teams through face-to-face training, e-learning and action plans to preventHBT bullying and sexism in the classroom.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said:

We are delighted that our Sex Education Forum will be working with EACH and the Anti-Bullying Alliance to create more inclusive school environments that support the wellbeing of children and young people. The project will be working with primary and secondary schools to develop a holistic approach to anti-bullying, LGBT+ equalities activities, and sex and relationships education (SRE). We will be offering training and support for school staff so that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can be addressed with confidence and ultimately prevented.

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