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Commenting on Ofsted’s review into sexual harassment and abuse in schools, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“No child should ever feel that when they report sexual harassment or abuse they will not be listened to or that issues will be swept under the carpet.

“Today’s report highlights the need for schools to be better supported to focus their actions on creating a climate and culture within schools where sexual harassment or sexual abuse, whether onsite or online, are not tolerated.

“Survivors of sexual abuse must also be fully supported, and schools will need to be provided with better resources and access to specialist services to help tackle the problem

“It is also clear that the Government should establish a robust statutory framework to ensure that pupils are better protected from abuse.

“Tackling these unacceptable behaviours will mean better support for children, young people and their families at home, in communities, as well as within schools.

“However, schools cannot eradicate these problems alone; a joined up approach is needed, locally and nationally, involving local authorities and other agencies working alongside schools to help foster the changes needed and to better support pupils who are at risk.

“We also know that many teachers are frequently subjected to sexual harassment and abuse from the students they teach or from parents. Pupils will not have safe spaces to learn where their teachers are made to feel unsafe, demeaned or violated sexually.

“Determined action and cultural change is needed to make schools and colleges safe places for pupils to learn and staff to work.

“The provision of high quality mandatory training for governing bodies and school staff will also be important in helping to foster the conditions in which pupils and staff are confident to report incidents of sexual abuse.

“Government must also take stronger action to better regulate social media sites to better protect pupils from sexual abuse at school and at home.”

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