FIVE Royal Borough schools have been named for the first time by a website where students can submit their testimonies and experiences of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment and shockingly one is a primary setting.
The website Everyone’s Invited allows current and former pupils to post their harrowing testimonies about their experiences of ‘rape culture’.
It comes after Ofsted visited schools across the country on the Government’s recommendation after more than 15,000 testimonies of sexual assault, harassment and rape were shared on a website, named “Everyone’s Invited”, since March 8 this year.
It was set up in June 2020 by a young woman, Soma Sara, who began discussing her experiences of rape culture on her Instagram account and people resonated with her posts.
The website has also released the names of the schools mentioned in the testimonies, “to continue to expose the prevalence of rape culture across all of society”, and the list stands at almost 3,000 schools so far.
Worryingly, one primary school – Lowbrook Academy which offers education to children from a young age features on the list.
The other four are secondary schools which include Claire’s Court School, Desborough College, Holyport College and Queensmeade House School in Windsor.
The Ofsted review discovered older teens (aged 16 and above) were more likely to say that sexual harassment and violence, including online, between peers was prevalent than younger students were.
Ofsted inspectors were told that boys are sharing “nudes” among themselves like a “collection game” on platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, while some girls have experienced “unwanted touching in school corridors”.
Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of schools said: “There are very definitely the same issues bleeding down into primary schools from the top down.”
She added that the access to smartphones, social media and online porn over the past decade were “exacerbating factors”.
Ofsted is calling on school and college leaders to develop a culture where all kinds of sexual harassment are recognised and addressed, including with sanctions when appropriate.
It adds that the time should be allocated in the RSHE curriculum for topics that young people find difficult, such as consent and sharing explicit images.
The Windsor Observer contacted the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for a comment.
A council spokesperson said: “This is a matter for the police, but we will be offering our support to the schools and their pupils should this be required.
“We would encourage any allegations of this nature to be reported to the police.
“If there are young people who are unsure about how to deal with the issues raised by the website, we encourage them to talk to an adult they trust. They can also contact the council via its Single Point of Access on 01628 683150 to discuss any concerns.”
Claires Court School responded with their own statement and said they ‘have not been made aware of any sexual abuse/rape claims made against the school’.
Principal James Wilding said: “Claires Court has always tried to support its pupils, whatever the circumstances and whatever the allegations, in order to ensure that support is given and justice is found.
“Under my leadership and now those of my successors as Designated Safeguarding Leads, I can confirm that cases of potential criminal activity, child on child or involving adults have always been reported to the authorities and will continue to be so. We would stress that all pupils have a voice within our school community and that anyone with any concerns or issues should talk to their Head Teacher, the designated safeguarding lead or trusted adult.”
Maggie Callaghan, headteacher at Desborough College, informed her schools community on June 10 when the list was published,
She said: “The thought that any form of sexual abuse has been suffered at Desborough College fills me with real sadness; the thought that those boys didn’t feel able to share their experiences with anyone here and therefore suffered in silence is abhorrent to me. It is a culture that we have been working hard to change since I have been at Desborough College; to be clear that any kind of sexual abuse or harassment can never be normalised with the excuse of, ‘it’s just boys being boys’. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.”