Posted: 30 March 2021

Tackling Abuse and Harrassment in Schools

Dear Families,

Everyone’s Invited

You may be aware of the reports in the news recently about shocking allegations of abuse and a ‘rape culture’ that many young people experience. Whilst we do not believe that this is a widespread problem at Prospect, where we have always been extremely proud of our inclusive and open ethos, we are not complacent in thinking that this does not affect any of our young people.

We know that young people can be affected in many ways – not just physical abuse, but also through the use of unkind names, thoughtless comments and pressure through social media. We take all such incidences extremely seriously and are very clear to students that we consider such behaviour to be peer-on-peer abuse; we do not minimise this as ‘banter’ or harmless fun. Whilst we know that much of the concern is about a misogynistic culture that particularly affects young women, we know that all our students are potentially affected.

We would therefore like to reassure you with the action that we take and also provide support and guidance for families.

Well-Being and Relationships and Sex Education

We cover a broad range of topics in these lessons, but we would like to highlight the following topics within our Programme of Study:

Year 7             Autumn Term – Self Esteem

Spring Term – Genuine and Toxic friendships, Identity

Year 8             Autumn Term – Self Confidence

Spring Term –     HBT Bullying

Summer Term – Consent, Sexting

Year 9             Spring Term – CSE, Abusive Relationships, Dangers of pornography

Summer Term – Consent

Year 10           Autumn Term – Sexism

Summer Term – Revenge Porn, Harassment

Year 11            Spring Term – Risk, Consent, Sexual Harassment

Years 12/13   A broad range of topics are covered in tutor time throughout the year

You will see that these are themes that we return to on a frequent basis, to ensure that all our students are aware of the issues and know how to protect themselves. If you have any further questions about our Well-Being and RSE Programme, please contact Miss McCabe, Head of PSHE/Well-Being Miss L McCabe.

Consent

Last year, we showed all our students this excellent video, produced by Thames Valley Police, “Consent is like a Cup of Tea”. We would like to suggest that all families watch this with their children over the holidays as it is a clear and straightforward approach: Tea and Consent – YouTube.

Use of Social Media

We know that much of the causes of these allegations are in part caused by the easy access that young people have to social media platforms and the perceived ‘protection’ that this gives them as the interactions do not take place face to face. Whilst we know that many young people use social media in a positive and healthy way, we should remind you that children under the age of 13 should not have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat accounts, and they should be 16 before they use WhatsApp. If your children are using social media, we would urge you to check their use on a regular basis, to ensure that they are neither victim or perpetrator. We would like to remind you that mobile phones are not permitted in school as we believe that social media is an unhelpful distraction from our core business of learning.

Sources of Support, Help and Guidance

We have a fully staffed Student Services hub which student can access for support and guidance. Additionally, they can email for confidential support via our website Report Abuse. All students have access to Home – Kooth, an online mental well-being charity, which they can access using their school login details. Students may also find the resources on the Help – Everyone’s Invited — Untitled webpage useful.

We would like to reassure you that we take any such allegations extremely seriously and we work hard to ensure that we have an inclusive and safe culture for all our students. However, if you would like to discuss any of these issues further, please do not hesitate to contact me at school Ms M Morris.

Yours sincerely,

 

Ms M Morris

Deputy Headteacher

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