Nearly 9 out of 10 girls say they or their peers were sent explicit pictures or videos they did not want to see “a lot” or “sometimes”, according to a new study by Ofsted, the TES reports.
The review based on 900 pupils in 32 private and state schools and colleges found that nearly half of boys reported similar experiences.
Ninety-two per cent of girls and 74 per cent of boys said that sexist name-calling happened a lot or sometimes to them or their peers.
Ofsted undertook the review in the wake of thousands of testimonials about peer-on-peer abuse being posted on the Everyone’s Invited website.
A number of leading private schools were named in the accounts, sparking concerns about so-called “rape culture” in schools.
The review found that “many professionals tended to underestimate the scale of sexual harassment and online sexual abuse”, although designated safeguarding leads and leaders “assessed the extent of the problem more accurately than teachers”.
The review recommends that even where headteachers and college leaders do not have specific information or evidence that sexual harassment or online abuse are a problem for their pupils, they should assume that they are.
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “This review shocked me. 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.”