Nick Gibb: Schools must keep sex attackers and victims apart

The Tes reports that schools are to be told to keep victims and perpetrators of alleged sexual offences apart, in interim advice being issued this term, according to Nick Gibb, the schools minister.

His remarks were made during an evidence session held by the Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee this morning.

Labour MP Jess Phillips demanded to know why this policy was not explicit in the existing guidance to schools.

Mr Gibb responded: “This guidance cannot anticipate every single possible circumstance that could occur.”

He informed MPs that the government will launch a consultation next month on changes to the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance.

Ms Phillips commented that it has been a “basic” principle of legislation for decades that victims and perpetrators should be kept separate. The schools minister responded: “We’re going to revise the guidance and the start of that process will happen this November but also we are going to issue interim advice about peer-on-peer abuse.”

Mr Gibb was also challenged on the slow pace of progress since the committee released a report last September highlighting the scale of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools.

Ms Phillips cited a letter from the Department for Education to a solicitor which said that it is good practice for statutory guidance to come into force at the beginning of the school year. She said: “That now means that this statutory guidance, when our report was a year ago, will now come into force in September 2018.”

Read more Nick Gibb: Schools must keep sex attackers and victims apart

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