Ofsted Inspection Framework Changes

Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools

How Ofsted inspections will change

Our Chief Safeguarding Officer, Mike Glanville, has reviewed the proposed Ofsted inspection framework changes and has collated this summary of the key elements in relation to sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence 'in and around school'.

Ofsted will be making changes to their safeguarding inspections from September 2021 which will include the following:

  • Schools will be judged 'ineffective' where they do not have adequate processes to deal with harmful sexual behaviour including sexual harassment and violence
  • Ofsted would "ensure" that allegations of harmful sexual behaviour were reported to the authorities, although inspectors would not investigate allegations themselves
  • When assessing safeguarding, inspectors will consider how the school handles allegations and instances of sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence
  • This would include checking that there are school-wide policies in place to make it clear that sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence, including sexualised language, are unacceptable
  • Ofsted said all pupils must be supported to "report concerns about harmful sexual behaviour freely", that concerns should be taken seriously and dealt with "swiftly and appropriately" and that pupils should be confident that this is the case
  • Schools must also keep comprehensive records of all allegations

Ofsted also said it would:

  • Look at how schools work to prevent harmful sexual behaviour through a whole-school approach, including an effective behaviour policy, pastoral support and a carefully planned RSHE curriculum
  • Look at how schools are alert to factors that increase pupils' vulnerability to harmful sexual behaviours, such as mental ill-health, domestic abuse, pupils with additional needs and pupils with a greater risk of exploitation or who feel unable to report abuse; for example, girls and LGBT pupils
  • Seek to understand how "any barriers that could prevent a pupil from making a disclosure – for example, communication needs – are identified and addressed"

Schools should "assume that sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence are happening in and around the school, even when there are no specific reports, and put in place a whole-school approach to address them".

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