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Posted on: 15/07/2021

Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Schools Statement

Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Schools

Burnham Grammar School Statement

The Ofsted report into sexual abuse in schools has revealed how prevalent sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are for children and young people. It is concerning that for some children, incidents are so commonplace that they see no point in reporting them. The Everyone’s Invited website has equally highlighted concerning reports in schools and colleges.

We fully understand that during Ofsted visits, girls disclosed that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse, such as being sent unsolicited explicit sexual material and being pressured to send nude pictures (‘nudes’), are much more prevalent than adults realise. For example, Ofsted found that nearly 90% of girls, and nearly 50% of boys, said being sent explicit pictures or videos of things they did not want to see happens a lot or sometimes to them or their peers. Children and young people told us that sexual harassment occurs so frequently that it has become ‘commonplace’. For example, 92% of girls, and 74% of boys, said sexist name-calling happens a lot or sometimes to them or their peers. The frequency of these harmful sexual behaviours means that some children and young people consider them normal.

We understand that our students at BGS are, in the main, caring individuals who have expressed to us their horror and disgust that this behaviour is taking place in the communities in which they live and function. We have talked with and listened to a number of students in school about their experiences with fellow students and that regrettably, no school can assume it is immune from such behaviours. 

This key information has already led to further development in our work surrounding the Equalities and Safeguarding agendas.This work will continue to develop in the future as a matter of utmost importance and urgency.

The topics of sexual harassment, sexual violence and online abuse are brought together under the peer-on-peer abuse heading in our Safeguarding work at BGS and are rightfully addressed in our PSHCE and RSE curricula. The PSHCE curriculum map is available on our website.This will be further reviewed to ensure that as well as increasing students’ knowledge we are also equipping them with strategies to assertively challenge such behaviours and to understand how their words and actions could or will be perceived.

Sexual harassment and abuse, be it in person or online, must be tackled and persistently challenged. Any student who experiences such a poor experience or knows of anybody at BGS who is experiencing this should speak with any member of staff at BGS.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mr Lennon, can be contacted along with his team at: safeguarding@burnhamgrammar.org.uk or by contacting reception and asking to speak with them.The RESPECT button is also available on the BGS website.

Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and at Burnham Grammar School everybody has the right to live a Happy, Healthy and Safe life.