Some female teachers and students have expressed fears about whether they can walk down school corridors without harassment, a union boss has said.
NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said “misogyny and sexism is all too real” on the streets and even in schools.
His comments came as the Government announced an immediate review into safeguarding in schools after thousands of complaints of sexual harassment and abuse were made on the website Everyone’s Invited.
In a briefing to journalists at the union’s annual conference yesterday Dr Roach said: “I don’t want to get into the realms of demonising boys but there is definitely a situation where some boys are engaging in practices that are not acceptable.
“It is also the case that some schools, some employers, are not doing enough to counteract that.”
He said he was disappointed but not surprised by the wave of concerning reports in recent days as the union had been told stories of sexist comments, harassment and inappropriate touching suffered by female members of staff.
Asked if teachers were a victim of ‘rape culture’, he said: “That’s not the language I would necessarily employ but I would say to you that misogyny and sexism is all too real, all too apparent, whether it’s on the streets and whether women can walk safely at night or even at school.
“Whether female teachers, female students, can feel that they are safe to walk down the corridors without having to think about how they are dressed or whether they are walking alone and how they are going to be treated by pupils or indeed by fellow colleagues or by parents as well.”
He said the issue was not universal but the union did hear of these fears from both teachers and students.
Dr Roach said: “That has been part and parcel of casework we have supported our members with and part of the testimonies that some teachers have given us. That shouldn’t be happening.”
A new NSPCC helpline has been set up to provide support and guidance to victims of sexual abuse in schools.