Ofsted review of sexual abuse in schools: summary

Be clear on the key findings from Ofsted's sexual abuse review, and what it recommends you should do, so you can get up to speed.

Last reviewed on 3 July 2023
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  1. What was the review?
  2. The key findings ...
  3. Pupils often see no point in reporting harmful behaviour
  4. RSHE doesn't meet the needs of young people
  5. Some teachers and leaders underestimate the scale of the problem
  6. School leaders are having to make difficult decisions they’re not equipped for
  7. Schools shouldn’t have to tackle this on their own
  8. Local safeguarding partners (LSPs) have varying levels of oversight
  9. Ofsted will update its training, inspection handbooks and practices
  10. The key recommendations for schools
  11. Complete support for your next steps

This article summarises key points from Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges (published in June 2021).

What was the review?

In 2021 the government asked Ofsted to conduct a rapid review of sexual abuse in schools, after numerous anonymous testimonials of sexual harassment and abuse were posted on the Everyone’s Invited website.

Ofsted visited 32 schools and colleges as part of its review, some of which had been named on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website.

Ofsted spoke to:

  • Over 900 children and young people about the prevalence of peer-on-peer (now called child-on-child) sexual harassment and sexual violence (including online)
  • School leaders
  • Teachers
  • Governors
  • Local safeguarding partners (LSPs)
  • Parents and other stakeholders

The key findings ...

Pupils often see no point in reporting harmful behaviour

This is because incidents are so commonplace.

Nearly 90% of girls, and nearly 50% of boys, said being sent explicit pictures or videos of things they

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