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Thousands more children to benefit from anti-bullying app

 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.

Today 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.

     
   
 
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