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Professional Development and Training

RSHE Training and Support 2021-22

RSHE Training and Support 2021-22: a whole-school approach to addressing issues and creating a culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated.

'The default assumption should be this: sexual harassment is affecting a substantial proportion of children in any given school or college'. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector

In the OFSTED review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, published on 10th June 2021, children and young people told inspectors that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are such a routine part of their daily lives they don’t see any point in challenging or reporting it.

As a designated DfE RSHE Hub for primary and secondary schools, South Farnham School has supported over 800 teachers from 600+ schools across the south of England this year to deliver this statutory, specialist area of the curriculum, dealing with complex and sensitive issues. From September, we will continue to deliver this phase specific training, updated to focus on Ofsted's review of sexual abuse, to consider a whole-school approach to addressing issues and creating a culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated.

See the flyer below for more information. 

In the OFSTED review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, published on 10th June 2021, children and young people told inspectors that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are such a routine part of their daily lives they don’t see any point in challenging or reporting it.

Girls suffer disproportionately, complaining of sexist name-calling, online abuse, upskirting, unwanted touching in school corridors and rape jokes on the school bus. Boys share nude pictures on WhatsApp and Snapchat “like a collection game”, inspectors were told.

The review concluded that sexual harassment has become “normalised” for young people, in school, online and in other unsupervised spaces including parks and house parties. It found that teachers “consistently underestimate” the scale of the problem and that sex education in schools was so out of touch with the reality of children’s lives that pupils turned to social media or their peers for information.

One girl told inspectors: “It shouldn’t be our responsibility to educate boys.”

Presenting the report, the Chief inspector of Schools in England, Amanda Spielman, said she was shocked by its findings. “It’s alarming that many children and young people, particularly girls, feel they have to accept sexual harassment as part of growing up. Whether it’s happening at school or in their social life, they simply don’t feel it’s worth reporting

The report is clear that it’s not the responsibility of schools alone to fix this widespread issue, but we support Ofsted’s recommendation to offer greater support and training to teachers and school leaders to deal with this persistent problem in their schools.

The key recommendation for schools in the report is:

School and college leaders should create a culture where sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are not tolerated, and where they identify issues and intervene early to better protect children and young people.

In doing this Ofsted recommends that schools should put in place:

  • A relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum that includes time for “open discussion of topics that children and young people tell us they find particularly difficult, such as consent and the sending of ‘nudes’”.
  • High-quality training for teachers delivering RSHE.
  • Routine record-keeping and analysis of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including online, so schools can “identify patterns and intervene early to prevent abuse”.
  • A “behavioural approach”, including sanctions when appropriate, to reinforce a culture where sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are not tolerated.
  • Support for designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) such as protected time in timetables to engage with local safeguarding partners.
  • Training for staff and governors so they can “better understand” the definitions of sexual abuse, are able to spot early signs of such cases and can “consistently uphold standards in their responses” to incidents.

Support for schools working with parents/families and the community

From September 2020, the law requires primary schools to consult on their Relationships Education policy. However, engagement with parents, families and the community must be much wider than this to start to develop real cultural change. Engagement can help parents to understand how they can support what their child is learning in school with their own teaching at home. Relationships Education is best delivered with cooperation and support from parents. Join our webinar for primary school leaders specifically on different strategies that they might use for ongoing engagement with parents and families, especially when working with families from different religions or ethnic groups. 

Date: 29th September 2021 16.00-17.00