ISC statement on Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges

Posted on: 10 Jun 2021
Posted by: Julie Robinson

Julie Robinson, ISC chief executive, comments on Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges.

The ISC chief executive said: “The Ofsted review findings further demonstrate the urgency of the challenge we all face as a society in addressing sexual abuse and harassment among young people. Reading that these behaviours are often considered normal is deeply troubling.

“Schools have an important role to play in tackling this issue and want to be part of the solution. Ofsted’s review represents a positive first step and we fully support its recommendations.

“The report provides a framework from which the education sector can introduce changes and actions to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children. Schools are already taking a proactive approach and there is much they can learn from each other.

“Bringing about cultural change cannot be done without the involvement of young people, and their voices are integral when shaping school policies and developing effective safe spaces to disclose safeguarding concerns. It is these conversations that will better enable us, as adults, to improve our understanding of the scale and impact of this issue on young people’s lives.

“School leaders are taking this issue extremely seriously. Alongside actions that are being, and will be, taken in school – such as high-quality staff training and the delivery of effective relationships, sex and health education – they will of course be looking beyond the school gates at what parents can do to help as well as the roles played by local safeguarding partners.

“It can be difficult for parents to talk to their children about relationships, consent and responsible use of the internet and social media, and many families could benefit from greater support and access to more resources focusing on these topics.

“Ofsted’s report highlights the vital role of multi-agency partners and creating effective working relationships in local areas. Better maintaining these lines of communication is something for which all institutions, organisations and authorities involved can take greater ownership.

“There is clearly work for the Government to lead on to address wider societal issues, including access to online pornography. We all have a role to play and must do everything we can to combat sexual harassment and abuse.”

Anyone affected by sexual abuse in schools can seek support and advice through the dedicated NSPCC helpline on 0800 136 663.