Parents urged to join battle against bullying

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Parents were told that they must show children that bullying is unacceptable.

Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, told a conference in London that it would be wrong to leave the war against bullying to teachers and schools.

She confirmed that appeals panels would no longer allow back to school those children excluded for bullying or carrying an offensive weapon.

Ms Morris told the conference organised by Unison, the public sector union: "There is never ever any excuse for bullying." She added later: "Parents have an obligation to give the message to their children that bullying is no way to behave. Children need boundaries and if they don't get clear messages from home or somehow think bullying is OK, they will cross those boundaries."

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This guidance will strengthen the hand of headteachers in dealing with the unacceptable behaviour of some pupils.

"Appeals have been placing too much emphasis on the position of the excluded child and insufficient on ensuring schools can educate all their children in an atmosphere of security."