Statement on sexual abuse and sexual harassment
St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School
Statement concerning Sexism and Sexual Harassment in Schools
In June 2021, following media attention and the responses to the “Everyone’s Invited” website, Ofsted published its report into Sexual abuse in School and Colleges. This review has enabled all schools to appreciate the magnitude of this problem across the country and to work together to bring about positive change. Click on Ofsted Report to see the full text.
The report highlights that a culture of sexism and sexual abuse exists across England’s schools, that it is primarily (although not exclusively) boys abusing girls, that this abuse has become ‘normalised’ behaviour and that it can happen in any school or educational setting.
At St Michael’s, our Mission is to enable our students to use their gifts to build the society of the future – in so doing, we must be mindful of the nature of the society we want to see. If we are to make positive change, we need to model now the behaviours we wish to see at national level tomorrow. Sexual abuse can happen at our school and we are taking action now to put into place policies, procedures and training to ensure that it is dealt with appropriately; our starting point is that abuse is taking place, irrespective of whether it is being reported.
We began our work with a review of our Relationships and Sexual Education scheme of work, to ensure that we had adequately covered the areas highlighted in the report. We then moved on to adjusting our Safeguarding and Behaviour policies to reflect the emphasis upon these abusive behaviours. We have begun a series of staff training sessions which highlight these issues with staff and enable them to tackle them appropriately. As part of a wider initiative, we are conducting a review of our Online Safety procedures, this will aim to tackle the use of social media in abusing others. We are also constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our Tutorial Programme and making adjustments to ensure that it supports our aim of creating the culture of respect throughout the school we all wish to see.
As a Catholic school, we see everyone made in God’s image, everyone created equal and each person of equal value. Sexual abuse and sexual harassment go against our mission as a school and so go against the very nature of our school. We want to see the teachings of Jesus made real in all aspects of our society, we will take action to change behaviours and play our role to change society for the better.
Mr Stimpson, September 2021