Ministers to meet with Ofsted to boost action against sexual harassment

Posted on 12.07.16

Government ministers have pledged to meet with Ofsted to address the pervasive problem of sexual harassment in schools. This follows UK Feminista’s recommendation to the Women and Equalities Committee that the schools inspectorate take greater steps to ensure schools work to prevent sexism and sexual harassment.

Over half of girls have experienced sexual harassment at school or college. Yet there is currently little political leadership or comprehensive support for tackling sexism in the education system and schools lack the resources and tools necessary to implement change. For example, Ofsted’s schools inspection handbook which is used to rate the performance of schools in England currently fails to even mention the need for schools to tackle sexist bullying or sexual harassment.

UK Feminista has submitted a series of recommendations to parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee as they conduct an inquiry into sexual harassment in schools. Our proposals to tackle sexism in schools include the following measures:

  • The Department for Education should ensure that tackling sexual harassment and sexual violence is a key priority and communicate this to all schools by issuing national guidance.
  • Tackling sexism should be a core and compulsory element of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses.
  • During a school inspection, Ofsted inspectors should request that information demonstrating how the school is effectively tackling sexual harassment and sexual violence is made available
  • All Ofsted inspectors should receive training on how to tackle and prevent sexism in schools, including examples of best practice schools.

Read: UK Feminista’s full set of recommendations for preventing sexual harassment in schools here.