Schools and colleges should use a staff Inset day to train teachers on how to deal with sexual harassment among pupils, the Department for Education (DfE) has said, following an Ofsted review into peer-on-peer abuse in schools.
The DfE has said that school and college leaders will be "encouraged to dedicate Inset day time to help train staff on how to deal with sexual abuse and harassment among pupils and how to deliver the government’s new compulsory relationships, sex and health education curriculum (RSHE)".
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The announcement came in response to a review by the schools watchdog of 32 state schools, private schools and colleges, revealing that sexual harassment among pupils was so widespread that it had become "normalised".
It was carried out in the wake of serious testimonies of sexual harassment among pupils being posted on the Everyone's Invited website.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said schools needed resources to tackle the issue.
"We support the clear recommendations Ofsted makes for school and college leaders; sexual harassment and online sexual abuse must not be tolerated in any educational setting, but schools do need to be given the resources, training, support and guidance to implement their whole-school approach effectively," he said.
"Sexual harassment and violence is a problem that reaches far beyond the school gates. There is no doubt that schools can and should play a key role in this work, but they can’t solve it alone. We need government and other agencies to play their part, too."
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We are sure that school and college leaders will welcome the idea of dedicating Inset day time to helping train staff on how to deal with sexual abuse and harassment among pupils, and how to deliver the RSHE curriculum, given the vital importance of these issues.
"We would imagine that many have already provided training on these topics in Inset programmes or have such plans in place. Obviously, the detailed arrangements of how to implement and deliver this training are a matter for school and college leaders to decide in the context of their Inset programmes."
The DfE said schools can choose which of their existing Inset days to use for this purpose.