According to TES, an MP has called for pupils who are victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by fellow students to be given greater protection by schools and Ofsted.
Emma Hardy, a Labour MP and former teacher who sits on the Commons Education Select Committee, called for the regulator to ensure schools were complying with updated safeguarding guidance relating to so-called “peer-on-peer abuse”.
During an Education Select Committee session earlier this month, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman was questioned on the issue by Ms Hardy.
During questioning, Ms Spielman suggested that schools should not automatically separate pupils if one alleged that they had been raped by the other outside of school – a comment that contradicted the statutory guidance.
Ms Hardy today told Tes that she thought Ofsted was not providing enough scrutiny during inspections of how schools dealt with peer abuse, and was failing to send a strong signal on the issue.
“I want [Ofsted] to ask schools for a policy on this, and ask schools to evidence how they comply,” she said.
“We can all have so many different opinions about what Ofsted should and shouldn’t look at, on curriculum, on behaviour…But the one thing that unites everybody is that Ofsted should ensure that every child is safe at school, because if your child is not safe, then everything else is secondary.”
Ms Hardy was speaking after it was reported that a 15-year-old boy, convicted of sexually assaulting a girl in a classroom, had been allowed to stay in the same school as his victim.
Ms Hardy told Tes that the “very worrying” case showed “inconsistency” in how exclusions were being applied, and a “lack of recognition” for the feelings of the victim.
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