Westminster Education Forum

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Next steps for tackling sexual abuse in schools - safeguarding, inspections, reporting, regulation, and supporting young victims and the education workforce

December 2022

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference examined priorities for tackling sexual abuse in schools and colleges, and next steps for addressing the challenges for safeguarding students and supporting their welfare.

It took place following the publication of the final report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in October 2022, which concluded the work of the Inquiry’s investigation into sexual abuse experienced by young people in institutions in England and Wales.

Delegates considered key recommendations from the inquiry, which included:

  • mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse for those who work in regulated activity or hold a position of trust
  • a national redress scheme to provide financial compensation to victims
  • the creation of child protection authorities in England and Wales to improve practice, inspect settings and provide advice to government

In addition, we expected discussion to include progress and unresolved issues following findings in the IICSA’s investigation into the response of residential schools and other institutions to sexual abuse by staff, and what is needed for education settings to tackle the issues.

The conference was also a timely opportunity to assess the DfE’s updated statutory Keeping children safe in education guidance following its implementation in September 2022.

Further sessions looked at wider cultural issues relating to sexual abuse and harassment in schools, drawing on responses to the Everyone’s Invited campaign on rape culture in educational settings.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • safeguarding policy in schools and colleges: establishing positive cultures, leadership, and prevention strategies - staff training - engaging with young people - working with local safeguarding partners
  • pupil welfare: helping students’ understanding of abuse, safety, and reporting - engaging with victims - tackling peer-to-peer abuse - support for mental and physical health alongside teaching
  • implementing policy and best practice: responding to the DfE and wider official guidance, as well as findings from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and stakeholder evidence
  • recruitment practices and staff: hiring strategies for paid and volunteer staff - monitoring staff conduct and standards of compliance
  • institutional culture: tackling negative gender stereotypes and teaching frameworks - encouraging discussion and face-to-face support
  • school and college workforce: providing staff with support for their role in safeguarding and abuse prevention - assessing appraisal strategy - the future of the Teaching Regulation Agency
  • inspection: priorities for investigations of sexual abuse - driving up standards and compliance - operating a dual service

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Wendy Ghaffar HMI, Specialist Adviser, Cross Remit Safeguarding, Ofsted; Darren Northcott, National Official, Education, NASUWT; Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, Boarding Schools’ Association; Soma Sara, Founder, Everyone’s Invited; and Suzanne Taylor, Assistant Director, Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, Barnardo’s.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda