School’s review of assault claims

Recommendation follows investigation by senior retired judge

Friday, 28th January — By Harry Taylor

Highgate School

Highgate School

A TOP Highgate private school has been told to rewrite its safeguarding policies by a senior retired judge after an investigation into hundreds of reports of pupil-on-pupil sexual assaults.

The recommendation is one of 16 made by Dame Anne Rafferty, who was asked by Highgate School to lead an independent review last year. The most serious of the 392 allegations included rape. Many of the worst incidents took place off school grounds at parties or in parks, with alcohol or drugs involved.

They came amid an outpouring of testimonies from pupils across the UK last year in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder in south London.

The accounts said that girls and young women felt sexual assault in schools between pupils was common and going unpunished. Many were posted on Everyone’s Invited, an anonymous website.

The review asked for victims to come forward. It said the school, in South Grove, had unclear policies to deal with harassment, bullying and safeguarding, making it harder for victims to submit reports or to know what outcomes to expect.

Dame Anne said: “Highgate should rewrite its suite of safeguarding policies, taking a ‘blank piece of paper’ approach with the aim of making them less repetitive, more consistent within and between policies, and more user-friendly.”

Other recommendations include being better prepared for safeguarding situations, prompter responses to cases and reviewing its uniform.

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