Ofsted review of sexual abuse in schools: summary

Be clear on the key findings from Ofsted's sexual abuse review, and what it recommends your school should do, so you can get up to speed with what’s happening in the sector right now.

Last reviewed on 15 June 2023
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  1. What was the review?
  2. The key findings ...
  3. Pupils often see no point in reporting harmful behaviour
  4. RSHE doesn't meet the needs of young people
  5. Some teachers and leaders underestimate the scale of the problem
  6. School leaders are having to make difficult decisions they’re not equipped for
  7. Schools shouldn’t have to tackle this on their own
  8. Local safeguarding partners (LSPs) have varying levels of oversight
  9. Ofsted will update its training, inspection handbooks and practices
  10. The key recommendations for schools

This article summarises key points from Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges.

Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse refers to 'peer-on-peer' sexual abuse, however the term child-on-child is now preferred as this highlights that the abuse can occur between children of different ages. We refer to child-on-child in this article so it aligns with Keeping Children Safe in Education.

What was the review?

The government asked Ofsted to conduct a rapid review of sexual abuse in schools, after numerous anonymous testimonials of sexual harassment and abuse were posted on the Everyone’s Invited website.

Ofsted visited 32 schools and colleges as part of its review, some of which had been named on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website.

Ofsted spoke to:

  • Over 900 children and young people about the prevalence of child-on-child sexual harassment and sexual violence (including online)
  • School leaders
  • Teachers
  • Governors
  • Local safeguarding partners (LSPs)
  • Parents/carers and other stakeholders

Pupils often see no

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