ASCL comment on Ofsted review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges

10/06/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges.
 
Commenting on Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

Nobody can fail to be shocked by the finding that children and young people don’t see any point in reporting sexual harassment because it is seen as a normal experience. 

“Schools and colleges have a crucial role to play in addressing this issue and they are determined to do so. 

“Safeguarding and the welfare of the children and young people in their care is their number one priority. 

“No child should feel that sexual harassment is a normal part of growing up and they must always feel able and encouraged to report such incidents. 

“We fully support Ofsted’s recommendations and in particular recognise the need to ensure that Relationships, Sex and Health Education is of the highest possible quality.

“It seems that a gulf has opened up between what children and young people experience in terms of everyday sexual harassment and abuse and what adult understanding is of the scale and severity of this issue. 

“It is a generational divide which goes beyond schools and colleges and points to a much wider societal problem. 

“The reasons why sexual harassment has become such a widespread issue are complex but it seems obvious that more must be done with greater urgency to tackle the misuse of social media and the availability of online pornography.”