Sheffield MPs call for action following shocking sexual harassment findings in Ofsted report

MPs in Sheffield have called for action in Sheffield after a review by Ofsted found that sexual harrassment and sexual abuse was becoming ‘normalised’ amongst young people.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:59 pm

Ofsted inspectors visited 32 state and private schools and spoke to over 900 young people as part of the review.

It has been suggested that teachers, the Government, and Ofsted itself, are under-prepared for the scale of sexual abuse among children.

Olivia Blake MP, said: “Today’s shocking revelation about the extent of sexual harassment girls are facing in schools is horrifying. But this is not a new problem. The Government has known about this issue for years and has failed to act.

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Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh. Picture Scott Merrylees

“In 2016, the Women and Equalities Select Committee found 59% of girls and young women age 13-21 had experienced sexual harassment in schools or colleges and 78% of secondary school students were unsure or not aware of the existence of any policies and practices in their school related to preventing sexism.

“It shouldn’t be up to individual, over-stretched schools to lead the way. We need a national strategy, which can be rolled out in schools in Sheffield and across the country, including specific policies to prevent sexual harassment and training to equip education staff with the skills and support needed to implement these policies.

“The Government must also take steps to address the abuse young girls are facing online and ensure the Online Safety Bill clamps down on harassment and the sharing of explicit images.”

Louise Haigh MP added: "The government has been fully aware for years about the chronic problem with girls, and some boys, experiencing sexual harassment and abuse across our education system, yet they have repeatedly missed opportunities to take action.

Olivia Blake.

"It is vital that the government take these recommendations on board and deliver real change. Another generation of children and young people cannot be left to suffer due to Government inaction.

"Particularly in Sheffield, there needs to be a noticeable effort to encourage students to report harassment, to improve education on sexual harassment and create a joined up approach across organisations and centres in Sheffield targeted at tackling sexual harassment and abuse in an educational setting. “

A group of 14-year-old girls from High Storrs School in Sheffield, have vowed to transform the emerging culture of sexual abuse in schools.