Portsmouth education boss 'depressed' at Ofsted report saying girls face demands for nudes '11 times a night'
CHILDREN in the city must speak about sexual harassment amid a ‘depressing’ study by the education watchdog, which lifted the veil on a rampant culture of sexting in Britain’s schools.
That’s the view of Portsmouth’s education boss, Councillor Suzy Horton today following Ofsted’s damning review into sexual harassment in schools.
A shock survey by the school’s watchdog revealed girls – which included youngsters in primary schools – were being inundated with unwanted explicit pictures on social media.
Some girls reported being contacted by up to 11 boys a night asking for nude images, Ofsted said.
Girls surveyed as part of the nationwide study explained that if they blocked boys on social media ‘they just create multiple accounts to harass you’.
The report also found nine in 10 girls experienced sexist name-calling or were sent explicit photos or videos.
Ofsted has now warned that sexual harassment has become ‘normalised’ among school-age children.
Students often did not see the point of reporting abuse and many teachers underestimate the scale of these problems, the watchdog added.
Now Cllr Horton is calling for a change in the culture and has appealed to children in the city to stand up and speak out against harrassment.
Reacting to Ofsted’s findings, Cllr Horton told The News: ‘It’s quite depressing, especially during a time when equalities are so talked about.
‘We should encourage young people to talk, so that this level of sexism is not normalised.
‘It seems to me to be a cyber equivalent of stuff that happened in the past, but you’d hope it had improved.
‘The most worrying thing about it, even given the limits of the research, is that it strikes me as a mainstream thing, which really is quite depressing.
‘We need to empower young women to have the confidence to come forward by talking about it and making them feel that they would be supported.
‘We can’t be complacent.’
Inspectors visited 32 state and private schools and colleges and spoke to more than 900 children as part of their review.
Findings found boys share ‘nudes’ like a 'collection game' on platforms like Snapchat or WhatsApp while girls experience sexist comments and unwanted touching in corridors.
Many teachers said they don’t feel prepared to teach outside their subject specialism, or lack knowledge on topics like consent, healthy relationships and sharing of sexual images.
Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s chief inspector, 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.
‘This is a cultural issue; it’s about attitudes and behaviours becoming normalised, and schools and colleges can’t solve that by themselves.
‘The government needs to look at online bullying and abuse, and the ease with which children can access pornography. But schools and colleges have a key role to play.’
For children or young people under 18 in need of support following sexual harassment or abuse, call Childline on 0800 1111
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing [email protected]