One of the reasons that the Department for Education made aspects of PSHE education statutory in all schools, was a report on sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools to the House of Commons Women and Equalities committee (2016). This was followed by the OFSTED review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges (2021) which recommended that:
“…even where school and college leaders do not have specific information that indicates sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are problems for their children and young people, they should act on the assumption that they are.”Ofsted Report on Sexual Harassment and Sexual violence 2021
Schools are still struggling to respond to the anonymous testimonials of sexual abuse published on the website ‘Everyone’s Invited’.
Teaching about Sexual Abuse in the context of Relationships and Sex Education
Ofsted found that most children felt that the relationships and sex education (RSE) they received didn’t give them the information and advice they needed to navigate the reality of their lives. Girls were frustrated that there wasn’t clear teaching of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and many had turned to social media or their peers to educate each other. One female pupil told inspectors, ‘It shouldn’t be our responsibility to educate boys’.
Teachers are unprepared
Many teachers said they don’t feel prepared to teach outside their subject specialism, or lack knowledge on topics like consent, healthy relationships and sharing of sexual images. In a few schools, leaders did not value the importance of RSE. Insufficient time was given to the subject and curriculum planning was very poor.
Find out more about the Ofsted Report into Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges here
Putting the Ofsted report into Sexual Abuse in Schools & Colleges into Practice
Although relationships and sex and health education is now expected in all schools, keeping children physically and emotionally safe, is of paramount importance, and is essential to improving their learning and life chances. Schools’ effectiveness at addressing this also forms part of any Regulatory or Compliance Inspection by ISI or Ofsted.
Schools are also expected to have provided dedicated CPD to ensure that they meet the expectations of the recently released Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022, to ensure that the keep children safe from sexual harassment and abuse.
For details on our KCSIE update webinar follow this link
We recommend that all schools ensure that all staff understand the new guidance and that Senior leaders prepare to update safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure they are clear and consistent and contain sufficient detail about sexual violence, sexual harassment, online abuse and harmful sexual behaviours. Our expert -led webinars are an ideal way to prepare your staff for this.
We are offering two age and stage specific 2 hour expert-led webinars on addressing sexual abuse which would be suitable for an after school twilight in existing staff meeting time:
Webinar: Approaches to Addressing Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Primary Schools
This training for primary school leaders will help colleagues to ensure safe, appropriate and effective teaching to cover all of the statutory expectations, including age-appropriate approaches to address sexual harassment – through the PSHE education curriculum.
We are also happy to offer aspects of the training, to ensure safe, age/stage appropriate Primary PSHE education for all members of staff.
Webinar: Targeting & Responding to Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Secondary Schools & Colleges
This training for secondary school subject leaders will help colleagues to ensure safe, appropriate and effective teaching to cover all of the statutory expectations, including age-appropriate approaches to address sexual harassment – through the PSHE education curriculum.
We are also happy to offer aspects of the training, to ensure safe, age/stage appropriate Secondary PSHE education for all members of staff.
Find out more about our Safeguarding training for Schools and Colleges or arrange an expert-led Safeguarding update for all staff new academic year or for new staff each term.JMC Inspection Team