Open Letter – Call for a public inquiry into bullying, physical and sexual violence related suicides and harms in UK schools.

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP                                                                          

Prime Minister,                                                                                               

10 Downing Street,                                                                                         



10 April 2023

Dear Prime Minister,

Having previously written to you on numerous occasions since 2019, firstly as an MP and then as Prime Minister, 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 once again to ask for your help. I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you, that this letter will also be made publicly available online as an open letter. Being sadly one of the more senior MPs that has never provided any response whatsoever to previous correspondence, I would hope that not only a genuine concern for the safety of children across the UK but the public nature of this letter, would elicit an 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 commission 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 Prime Minister, 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. In view of this, commissioning an Independent inquiry is arguably the most appropriate action you could undertake, given the significant public concern regarding these events.

Given the above information, can you ensure that as Prime Minister, you provide as soon as is possible, a definitive answer stating whether or not, you will now agree to commission 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 Cabinet office and to the office of the Prime Minister.

6 Replies to “Open Letter – Call for a public inquiry into bullying, physical and sexual violence related suicides and harms in UK schools.”

  1. It is shocking that the government has not responded to this situation. I think it is about time it is addressed before any more tragic deaths.

  2. All Children & Young People Have The Right To Be Happy Have The Right To Be Educated At The Place Of Their Choice But First & Foremost Have The Right To Be Safe Both At Home At School Or In Any Other Establishment If You Or Anyone You Know Is Struggling Please Speak Out & Ask For Help Remember That You Are Not Alone We Are All In This Together Supporting One Another Standing Strong Like Beacons Of Light Emanating Hope Positivity Love & Kindness Thinking Speaking Acting & Leading From Our Hearts With Honesty Humility & Discernment Helping To Raise The Collective Consciousness Of Humanity Stand Up Speak Out Be The Voice That Makes The Difference Its Time To Talk Its Time For Change Silence Is Not An Option We Can All Impact The World For Change I Only Hope That One Day I Will Be Able To Share Our Story With Others To Make Sure That No Other Family Has To Suffer In Silence & That All Children Are Safe It Is Important That This Story Is Exposed & That The Places That Our Children Are Meant To Be Safe Are Held Accountable & They Do Think That It Acceptable To Protect Their Reputation Rather Than The Children Of Whom We Have Entrusted Them To Look After When We Are Able To Share Our Harrowing Story & Be Listened To It Will Be Part Of Our Journey Of Healing As The Last Five Years Have Been Particularly Challenging Negating Our Child Through As A Result Of Be Abused At School I Look Forward To Having The Opportunity To Sharing This With You & Others As I Have Said To Every Single Person Who Has Sat Opposite Me As I Share This Unacceptable Ordeal & Look Them Straight In The Eye & Say How Would You Feel If You Were Sitting In This Seat & ThiWas Your Child Who Had Been Repeatedly Abused & Tortured At School & None Of Them Can Really Answer That Question & Its Obvious That It Makes Them Feel Extremely Uncomfortable How Would You Feel If It Is The First Thing That You Think About In The Morning & The Last Thing You Think About At Night Images Of Your Child Being Abused & Tortured Going Over & Over In Your Mind Its Excruciating & When You Are Sitting In Meetings With People In A Position Of Responsibility Asking For Answers & The Truth & They So Disingenuous More Interested In Protecting Their Reputation Than The Children When You Ask For A Redacted Copy Of The Report Of Their Findings Of The Investigation & You Are Asked To Sign A None Disclosure Agreement…The Story & Scandle Goes On & On Its Like A Living Nightmare Day In & Day Out Affecting Every Part Of Your Life So Please Take The Time To Act Upon This As Quickly As Possible So That No Other Children Suffer In Silence & That No More Lives Are Harmed Or Lost I Look Forward To Hearing From You & Working With You On This Extremely Important Subject That Has Impacted On Our Lives Directly Kind Regards Debra Donnelly 🙏

  3. This needs to be addressed immediately as these terrible things are happening all the time , and they get swept under the carpet

  4. The damage carried out upon my daughter in the 80s within school, has had a major life effecting harm to her, she is now Agoraphobic, and Afraid of social situations, very Sensory processing affected! Born with developmental delays which were acutely obvious, she had no acknowledgement for her problems in all her school years, from Education, Community Living teams, Psychiatry, Psychology, They all carried out more harm than good for Decades.

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