Queen Elizabeth's Response to Everyone's Invited
What is the Everyone’s Invited website?
Everyone’s Invited is a website that was created in 2020. People - in many cases current school students - have been encouraged to record their experiences of sexual assault and abuse in schools and universities through creating testimonies on the website. The website now has accounts from a vast range of people - including university-age students, secondary school students and pupils at primary schools. Some accounts are of very recent experiences, some date back many years. There are testimonials about student behaviour within schools and universities, as well as accounts about experiences during social activities at weekends and in evenings. Most accounts describe peer on peer abuse, although there are also some testimonials about the actions of staff members. It has become very clear that this is a serious cultural issue, pervasive across the whole of our society.
You can review the website and testimonials at: www.everyonesinvited.uk
In April 2021, as a direct result of the deluge of testimonials that have been shared, the government asked Ofsted to look at safeguarding policies and experiences within schools. Ofsted’s report was published in June 2021 and can be read here:
Have any of the testimonials come from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School?
The testimonials on the website are anonymous and as such are very difficult to track. In June 2021, Everyone’s Invited published a list of nearly 3,000 schools that are named in at least one testimonial and our school is on the list. However, the relevant testimonial (or testimonials) has not been shared with us directly and we do not know any further details.
Has the abuse taken place in person?
The majority of the testimonials on the Everyone’s Invited website detail direct sexual harassment, abuse or assault. However, abuse can happen online where children and young people were manipulated or coerced into sexual activity by adults through live streaming or online gaming activities.
What should I do if I am concerned that my child is being sexually harassed, abused or assaulted?
If your child tells you that they have been sexually harassed, abused or assaulted then you should report this to the police, your local authority Children’s Services, your local authority Safeguarding Children Partnership or to the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.
What does the school have in place to protect my child and what actions are you taking as a school to address this issue?
As a school we have a culture where students communicate their feelings, concerns and worries not just through language but also through their behaviour and overall demeanour. Staff are very vigilant in observing, recording and reporting all their concerns no matter how small, as this helps us build a better picture of each student and what may be happening to them. The emotional wellbeing of all our students is very closely monitored and we would urge students to come forward and report any incidents of concern and certainly any incidents of sexual assault or abuse, to a member of staff or a trusted adult.
Where actions are needed, such as making a referral to Children’s Services, a child’s allocated Social Worker or to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), they are taken in a timely manner.
The school have taken the following initial actions as a result of Everyone’s Invited:
- We have updated our Child Protection Policy, to ensure that it clearly guides staff when they have concerns that a child is being sexually harassed, abused or assaulted.
- We have updated our PSHE policies across all year groups to ensure that students are given appropriate opportunities to discuss and explore these areas of concern. The PSHE curriculum is regularly reviewed by staff and students to ensure that we are adequately preparing our students for this aspect of their lives.
- We have been working closely with local organisations such as The East Kent Rape Crisis Centre, to provide support and training for both staff and students.
- We have organised additional training to raise student and staff awareness of the severity of the situation and both the short and long-term potential impact of sexual abuse on children and young people’s physical and emotional wellbeing. This includes talks on consent provided to key year groups.
- We have created new opportunities for students to talk to staff about their experiences and concerns and are working with them to ensure our school is a safe and supportive environment.