An immediate review of sexual abuse in schools has been launched after thousands of experiences were shared on a website.
The government has asked Ofsted to look at the extent and the severity of the issue and undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in both state and independent schools.
Inspectors are being told to ensure schools have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report concerns freely, knowing these will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
A new helpline, run by the NSPCC, is also being launched to support potential victims of sexual harassment and abuse in educational settings.
It comes after more than 11,500 testimonies were posted on the Everyone’s Invited website, where students can anonymously share their experiences of misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent and it is vital that these allegations are dealt with properly.
“While the majority of schools take their safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, I am determined to make sure the right resources and processes are in place across the education system to support any victims of abuse to come forward.
“This government is committed to ensuring victims feel supported to refer the most serious allegations to the police via the helpline, safe in the knowledge that everything possible will be done to bring offenders to justice.
“No child or young person should have to experience abuse.
“But if something isn’t right, they should speak to someone they trust to raise concerns, whether that’s family, a friend, teacher or social worker, helpline or the police.”