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How to take a whole school approach

The ‘gold standard’ approach to tackling sexism in schools.

 

Individual initiatives and one-off events to challenge sexism can make a real difference, but comprehensive, long-term change requires a ‘whole school approach’. This means that action to promote sex equality is guided by an over-arching framework and involves all members of the school community.

Step 1. Put in place a framework

Action to tackle sexism in school should be underpinned by a written strategy, supported by school policy and driven by leadership. This institutional architecture will enable you to prioritise actions and ensure a consistent, comprehensive approach to securing change.

Recommended actions

  • Adopt a whole school action plan.
  • Appoint a leader and/or working group to oversee the implementation of action plan.
  • Update existing policies to address sexism and sexual harassment.

Resources

Step 2. Train and equip teachers

All school staff should be equipped with the knowledge, resources and confidence to tackle sexism.

Recommended actions

  • Provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training for all staff on how to tackle sexism.
  • Ensure all teachers are aware of and engaged with the whole school action plan.
  • Provide practical resources for teachers on how to promote sex equality.

Resources

Step 3. Support students

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

Recommended actions

  • Run classroom activities on sexual harassment, gender stereotyping and sexist language.
  • Make all students aware of the whole school action plan and sexual harassment policy – including how to report incidents.
  • Encourage and support students to take positive action against sexism, such as setting up a feminist group or running an awareness campaign.

Download supporting resources

“We firmly support [the] proposal for a whole school approach to reducing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence in all primary and secondary schools. We believe that such an approach with prevention at its core, promotes an environment of inclusion and respect, where pupils and staff are educated and empowered to recognise and challenge abuse of any kind.”

– Government response to parliamentary inquiry: ‘Sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools’, 2016

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