UK Feminista responds to Ofsted’s sexual abuse review

Posted on 10.06.21

UK Feminista’s Sophie Bennett responds to Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges

The scale of sexual harassment and abuse perpetrated against girls in schools and colleges is a national scandal. Ofsted’s review confirms yet again that too little has been done to tackle the everyday experiences of sexual harassment in classrooms, corridors and playgrounds across the UK. We need a generational shift in how the education system confronts and combats sexism and sexual harassment.

Research by UK Feminista and the National Education Union revealed in 2017 that normalised sexual harassment in schools takes place in a wider context in which misogynistic language and gender stereotyping are routine. We also found that teachers lacked the training and support to effectively tackle sexual harassment and sexism in the classroom.

UK Feminista has since developed a unique suite of resources and online training for Initial Teacher Training providers and schools to enable them to implement a whole school approach to tackling sexism and sexual harassment.

Girls have demanded change. Now education leaders must step up and deliver the systemic changes needed to root out sexual harassment and abuse from our classrooms.


A whole school approach: How schools should combat sexism and sexual harassment

UK Feminista welcomes Ofsted’s recommendation that schools adopt a whole school approach to tackling sexual harassment. A whole school approach means that action to combat sexual harassment and abuse is underpinned by a strategic framework; embedded in the policies, practices and culture of the school; and involves all members of the school community.

UK Feminista has produced detailed guidance, resources and training for schools on how to implement a whole school approach to tackling sexual harassment and sexism. Links to these resources can be found below.


The three key steps to a whole school approach are:

1) Implement a framework

Action to tackle sexism in school should be underpinned by a school-wide strategy, supported by school policy and driven by leadership.

Recommended actions for schools:


2) Train and equip teachers

It is vital that all schools staff are equipped with the knowledge, resources and confidence to tackle sexism.

Recommended actions for schools:


3) Support students

Every student should be supported to learn about sexism, to report incidents and to take action for equality.

Recommended actions for schools:

Tackling sexism in school: a case study