OPEN LETTER – Call for an Independent Statutory public inquiry into bullying and violence related deaths and harms in UK schools.

The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer MP                                                                          

Leader of the Opposition,                                                                                               

House of Commons                                                                                         




Dear Keir Starmer,

Having previously written to you on numerous occasions since 2018, firstly as an MP and then as Leader of the opposition, regarding failures within government to investigate concerns related to numerous harms, suicides and deaths of children, due to bullying, physical and sexual violence in UK schools, I am now writing to once again to ask for your help. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you, that this letter will also be made publicly available online as an open letter. Having failed to receive any response from you on numerous occasions, I would hope that as a possible future Prime Minister, not only a genuine concern for the safety of children across the UK but the public nature of this letter, would elicit the appropriate response from you on this occasion.

Since 2015, it has been evidenced that the Government Safeguarding systems, that should be in place to protect millions of children from harm in UK schools, are systemically flawed. It has been further evidenced that these flaws have likely resulted in failings, that have occurred on numerous occasions, that have resulted in numerous bullying and violence related harms, suicides and deaths over decades. The Government since 2017, being made aware and provided with the evidence of this, have at no stage done anything to investigate and as a result, it can be demonstrated that this may have resulted in further unnecessary harm and loss of life.

It was accepted in a High Court hearing in November 2021, during an application for a criminal prosecution, that on the face of the evidence, the failure to investigate demonstrates tremendous incompetence on the part of government ministers and the DfE, and that questions regarding a deliberate cover up of the issues, by various DfE ministers both past and present, in order to hide the extent of the harm and deaths potentially over decades, remain Un-answered.

The Court’s findings have now led to an obvious and clear call for an Independent Statutory public inquiry into these matters. An inquiry would reach comprehensive, independent conclusions about what has happened within the system and determine in relation to these issues, whether or not school is in fact presently, a safe place for every child to be and if not, what needs to be done to ensure that in future, this will be the case as far as is possible and that the risk of harm and further tragedy can be minimised.


The alleged failings are linked with a number of the estimated 200 school age suicides that take place every year according to ONS statistics, which equates to around 4 suicides a week. A failure to support the call for an Independent inquiry into matters, would potentially allow any alleged misconduct within Government and the DfE to be covered up and a significant risk of harm to children to go unaddressed and for there to be the likelihood that further unnecessary deaths will occur as a consequence.

As an MP, you have a legal duty under articles 2 and 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998, to make sure that reasonable steps are taken to ensure that not one more child is seriously sexually or physically assaulted, raped, lost to suicide or unlawfully killed unnecessarily in a UK school again. Supporting the call for an Independent inquiry, is arguably the most appropriate action you could undertake given the circumstances and the significant public concern regarding these events.

Given the above information, can you ensure that as Leader of the opposition and as a matter of urgency, you provide within 7 days, a definitive answer stating whether or not, you will now agree to support the call for an Independent Statutory public inquiry into these matters.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Barnett

Safer schools campaign lead

NB: This open letter is a copy of the private correspondence that has also been sent to the offices of Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour party.

Image Credit: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor