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It’s Not OK – NEU toolkit to prevent sexism and sexual harassment in schools

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As part of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the National Education Union (NEU) has launched It’s Not OK, a new toolkit to prevent sexism and sexual harassment in schools and colleges. The toolkit is a response to research and concerns from members that sexism and sexual harassment is far too common an occurrence in schools. The resources are designed to support schools in understanding what a whole school approach to preventing sexual harassment looks like and tips for working with students and protecting the rights of professionals. 

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Sexual harassment has become so normalised in schools that it means for many girls, they don’t feel there is anything they can do about it, and that needs to change.  

“The NEU’s research It’s Just Everywhere showed that over a third (37%) of female students at mixed-sex schools have experienced some form of sexual harassment at school, and almost a quarter (24%) of female students at mixed-sex schools have been subjected to unwanted physical touching of a sexual nature while at school. Teachers don’t feel adequately trained or supported to take action and that situation needs to change. 

“The It’s Not OK toolkit will help schools to address sexual harassment and to plan how teachers and staff can take a whole school approach to gender equality and sexist, homophobic and transphobic stereotypes. Hundreds of individual schools are doing a great job addressing sexist attitudes, but it’s hard because the curriculum is so packed and the exam data pressures weigh heavily on schools. It’s time to give teachers more support, training and opportunity to focus on the social and emotional aspects of learning, so issues like this can be tackled.” 

Girlguiding Advocate, Katie, 16, said:

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“The NEU’s new toolkit to prevent sexism and sexual harassment couldn’t be more welcome. Girlguiding’s own research also shows the magnitude of sexual harassment in schools – 67% of girls have experienced sexual harassment in school from other students. This year we found that the fear of sexual harassment holds girls back at school. These everyday experiences are real and so are the barriers to education they create. A whole school approach that addresses the root causes of sexual harassment – sexism and gender stereotypes – is something we’ve been calling for and we appeal to school leaders to take this opportunity to set in motion real change.” 

Professor EJ Renold, Professor in Childhood Studies at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, said: 

“Children and young people’s experiences of gendered and sexual harassment in schools has reached a tipping point. Too many students are trying to address the problem by themselves.  

“The NEU’s toolkit has all the ingredients to enable teachers to ‘empower, educate and inspire’ young people to better understand and speak out on issues that are too often overlooked or normalised.  Openly discussing sexism and sexual harassment within an inclusive, reflective   whole-school approach can really achieve things. This toolkit can be part of the solution to support schools in responding to the complex and intersectional ways in which sexism and sexual harassment affects students and holds them back.” 

The toolkit is live here  

Hashtag #ItsNotOK 

It’s Not OK – NEU toolkit to prevent sexism and sexual harassment in schools was published on FE News by NEU

Source: FE News