Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Abuse
In April 2021, Ofsted were asked by the government to undertake a rapid review of sexual harassment in schools and colleges, after anonymous testimonials of sexual abuse were 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, sex and health education (RSHE) 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 RSHE. Insufficient time was given to the subject and curriculum planning was very poor.
Putting the Ofsted report into Sexual Abuse in Schools & Colleges into Practice
Both the Department for Education and Ofsted expect schools to be fully implementing the statutory expectations of Relationships (and Sex) and Health Education, RSHE as from September 2021 and that this should sit within a wider framework of PSHE education.
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 2021, to ensure that they keep children safe from sexual harassment and abuse.
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.
Approaches to Addressing Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Secondary Schools & Colleges
This training for secondary school teachers and 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.
To book your place, please email [email protected] with the title and date of the course along with your full name and school name. Places are limited.
John Rees is passionately committed to improving the learning and life chances of children and young people, through the professional development of individuals and organizations.
Seconded from secondary school leadership, John lead the transformation of a 2-school research project at Exeter University, into an evidence-based, behaviourally-effective, multi-agency wellbeing programme with 200+ schools across the UK and overseas, with unique evidence of health benefit and educational improvement.
Since 2005 John has worked with Local Authorities, schools, charities and commercial groups across the UK and abroad to provide coaching and training, to support school improvement. This is predominantly around R(S)HE / PSHE, behaviour management and SMSC to support school improvement and improve the learning and life chances of children and young people, and the adults who work with, and for, them.