Ofsted outlines plans for review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges

Following the review announced by the Government last week, Ofsted has published plans for a review into safeguarding policies and practices relating to sexual abuse in state and independent schools and colleges.

08/04/21

Ofsted outlines plans for review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges

Ofsted has published its plans for its recently announced review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges.

The review was announced by government last week, after anonymous testimonials of sexual abuse were published on the website ‘Everyone’s Invited’.

Ofsted says the review will seek to find out whether schools and colleges have appropriate safeguarding processes in place. It will also consider whether current guidance is understood by schools and colleges, and whether it is sufficient to help them respond effectively to allegations.

The regulator will visit a sample of schools and colleges where cases have been highlighted to talk to staff and pupils and look at how well systems of support and response are working.

Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector for Ofsted, said she has been “deeply troubled” by the allegations of sexual abuse posted on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website.

“Many of the testimonies reveal that girls have not felt able to report incidents of sexual abuse to their schools,” Ms Spielman said, adding: “we hope that by listening to young people’s experiences first-hand, this review will provide much needed insight into what these barriers are and how they can be overcome.”

“When children do speak up about their experiences, it’s vital that schools have the support and structures in place to take them seriously and respond appropriately.”

The review will look at whether schools and colleges need further support in teaching about sex and relationships, and whether current inspection regimes in state and private schools are robust enough around the issue of sexual abuse.

Importantly for professionals, the review will also consider how well schools and colleges are working with local multi-agency safeguarding partners.

Ofsted says they will work with representatives from social care, police and victim support groups, as well as school and college leaders, aiming to conclude the review by the end of May 2021.

Read the terms of reference for the sexual abuse review: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-review-of-sexual-abuse

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