Independent Schools CEO welcomes report into abuse

Independent Schools CEO welcomes report into abuse

The Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Council has welcomed a report into child abuse in residential schools, following a seven-year wide-ranging inquiry.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales, which was published in full this autumn, examined how institutions responsible for the welfare of children handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

The report included an investigation into sexual abuse and exploitation of children in residential schools in both the state and independent sectors.

The inquiry explored how schools and other agencies responded to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff, and addressed broad questions of school culture, governance, leadership, training and recruitment.

During its inquiry, IICSA found multiple institutions had failed in their duties to protect children in schools, including local authorities, schools inspectorates and the police.

Inquiry principal researcher Holly Rodger said: “By speaking directly to people on the frontline of safeguarding in residential schools, we were able to build a clear picture of the complex challenges they face.

“The safeguarding concerns of a sexual nature recorded most frequently by schools were online and peer on peer incidents. These were the same areas that school staff, parents and children saw as ‘grey areas’ that could be hard to classify.

“This report will help shape recommendations to improve safeguarding and better protect children from sexual abuse in residential schools.”

ISC Chief Executive Julie Robinson, responded saying: “We welcome the publication of IICSA’s report providing valuable recommendations to inform the safeguarding of children, which is of central importance to everyone working with young people.

“There is no place for abuse in schools or anywhere in society, and we admire the courage of those brave survivors who have come forward to provide vital contributions to the inquiry.

“In recent years, schools have taken their duties of care very seriously in supporting a raft of measures in the development of detailed safeguarding policies, procedures and targeted inspections. Encouraging pupils to speak out, listening to them and accommodating their needs is very much a priority, and the safety and welfare of children is the foremost responsibility of schools.

“The abuse of trust by predatory individuals is shocking and unforgiveable, and the ISC, associations and schools are now reviewing this report in detail. The ISC supports any form of mandatory reporting that would further safeguard and improve child protection procedures.”