11 June 2021


ISI statement on the Ofsted Review into Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges

ISI welcomes the publication of the Ofsted Review into Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges. This is an insightful report that shines a light on an extremely important and challenging issue for us all.

We agree with Ofsted that the extent and normalisation of sexual harassment for children and young people found by the review is shocking. We should all reflect on the seriousness of these findings and focus on what can be done to reduce the risk of peer-on-peer abuse. Work is already underway within ISI to deliver on the recommendations in this review.

Specifically on school inspections, we share the view set out within Ofsted’s review that inspection provides ‘a critical lever in the accountability system’. We welcome the findings of the review in identifying the strengths of current inspection practice and agree that future practice should be further strengthened to give greater focus on harassment and abuse. We look forward to continuing our joint working with Ofsted to ensure that school inspection of both state-funded and independent schools provides robust feedback on schools’ approaches to tackling peer on peer abuse.

Vanessa Ward, Chief Inspector of ISI, said:

“It is not acceptable that children and young people, and girls in particular, should have to endure this harassment as part of their daily lives. It is troubling that they have come to regard it as so normal that it is not worth reporting.

"This review gives a clear way forward for government, schools, parents and school inspectors. We all have a part to play in accepting the magnitude of the issue, and taking action so that all children can enjoy their childhood and adolescence free from harassment and abuse.

"Ofsted is clear about what now needs to be done by everyone who cares about young people and their wellbeing. We welcome this and have already started work to ensure that ISI inspection practice reflects the recommendations made.”

The Ofsted review can be found here