SHEU in the House, and some hard questions

The echoes of our Autumn report rumble on.

We were asked to give some more detail for the House of Commons magazine (below) in November, and Jo Swinson asked a question about our work in the House of Commons chamber itself:

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will assess the recent research conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit on links between bullying and appearance. [87797]

Mr Gibb: Tackling poor behaviour in all its forms—including bullying—is a top priority for this Government. Schools need to work proactively to identify the driving issues behind prejudice among their pupils and put in place measures to prevent bullying and poor behaviour fuelled by peer pressure, as well as clear processes to respond to bullying when it does occur.

The Schools and Students Health Education Unit's (SHEU) report records statistics such as the number of young people who want to lose weight, who do not eat breakfast, and who eat fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Although none of these issues are necessarily directly linked to bullying or the fear of being bullied, the research summary says that up to 22% of 10 to 11-year-olds report being picked on for the way they look. No child should feel victimised because of their appearance, or for any other reason, and where bullying occurs, schools must have robust procedures in place to respond to it quickly and effectively.

Jo Swinson MP is chair of an all-party group about body image and is co-founder of a related campaign; see her website for details.

The piece that appeared in the House Magazine is below.  Dr.Dave comments: must be the hardest set of questions I've been asked!