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TES: Ofsted: Nude pupil pictures not a safeguarding issue

66 replies

ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 16/06/2021 08:10

Ofsted's chief inspector has suggested that male pupils sending naked photographs of themselves to female classmates is not a safeguarding issue for schools.
Amanda Spielman was taking questions from the Commons Education Select Committee this morning, following her watchdog's publication of a major report last week telling headteachers to act on the assumption that sexual harassment is happening in their schools.

Today she was asked by Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gateshead: "When is an allegation of sexual harassment involving a child not a safeguarding issue?"

Ms Spielman replied: "I have talked recently, for example, to a sample of girls who had left school within the last two years. Only one of them was able to say that they had never been sent an image by a boy of…a photograph of their naked selves.

"Most of the girls laugh that off and think it’s contemptible. They would not want to be pulled into sort of safeguarding procedures by reason of being sent a photograph that they think is simply contemptible."

Mr Mearns then asked: "Is it not a safeguarding issue for the boy who sent the photograph as well - in terms of their behaviour, and what else they’re likely to be getting up to?"

Sex abuse in schools: Girls being sent naked photos 'common', says Ofsted
Ms Spielman replied: "There’s a spectrum here and the advisers we had on the reference group were really helpful on this – in sexual misconduct of every kind there is a spectrum from the truly evil and appalling at one extreme all the way down to things which are essentially clumsy explorations of emerging adolescent sexuality."

I'm not sure what to say really. I guess it may have been badly reported, or safeguarding means something different to teachers than it does to laypeople?

But it seems to be saying that sending nude photographs is just a "clumsy exploration of emerging adolescent sexuality", not something to be concerned about. She seems to have no understanding that sexual abuse often starts at the lower end of the spectrum she describes, and then escalates. S

OP posts:

Cabinfever10 · 16/06/2021 08:21

Well considering that the images would be child pornography and a criminal offence to have or send and most certainly sexual harassment it should be 1st and foremost a massive safeguarding red flag and then as the crimes they are


ScreamingMeMe · 16/06/2021 08:23

What an appalling woman. She understands nothing about power dynamics or how awful things get normalised. She shouldn't be in the job.


OhHolyJesus · 16/06/2021 08:27


Well considering that the images would be child pornography and a criminal offence to have or send and most certainly sexual harassment it should be 1st and foremost a massive safeguarding red flag and then as the crimes they are

Exactly. Another case of someone misrepresenting the law and from an institution that used to be one that could be trusted.

Who has she been talking to get to that position? Astonishing.

ErrolTheDragon · 16/06/2021 08:31


PearPickingPorky · 16/06/2021 08:32

This woman doesn't understand grooming, does she.

The fact that the girls laugh it off - because that's what we're socialised to do, we do the same with sexual harassment and assault - doesn't mean it isn't a problem which needs addressed.

So now the reaction of girls to sex crimes committed against them is being used as the reason why sex crimes are no big deal.


somethinginoffensive · 16/06/2021 08:42

I'm absolutely gobsmacked at this. When I worked in a school some girls told me a girl had shared topless photos and I immediately took that extremely seriously.

If I had ever known of dick pics being sent by boys in the class I would have also reported that to safeguarding immediately.


MrsOvertonsWindow · 16/06/2021 09:33

Most schools would treat this as a safeguarding issue and rightly so. But many will find that these cases won't reach the threshold for action unless it's involving young children or there are threats / coercion / vulnerabilities involved.
There's a balance to be found. Do we want to criminalise the 14 year old girl who consentingly sends a nude photo to her 15 year old boyfriend who then shares it with his mates?
There's a genuine discussion to be had about how deal with this - and how to stop this happening in the first place. There's some dreadful testimony from girls about the impact of this on Everyone's Invited.
I think she's trying to open up the discussion about these issues with MPs because it's been happening now for ages and we're not managing to stop it.


GreyhoundG1rl · 16/06/2021 09:34

What an idiotic halfwit. It's shameful that she holds the position she does.


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 16/06/2021 09:35

I think it has to be criminalised. Otherwise it’s not going to stop.


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 16/06/2021 09:36

How would you complain about this person? Which ‘body’ or office. I’m appalled by it tbh.


EndoplasmicReticulum · 16/06/2021 09:47

Sharing these sorts of images of children is illegal.
Even if it's a joke, even if you are sending it yourself, even if someone asked you to send it.
It's illegal.

We tell all the students this.
Clearly the head of Ofsted missed that assembly.


noraclavicle · 16/06/2021 09:50


I think it has to be criminalised. Otherwise it’s not going to stop.

It already is! She seems to have missed the memo. I couldn’t believe what I was reading..

Comefromaway · 16/06/2021 10:02

The powers that be at my son's previous school had a similar attitude. The treated the fact that a boy took a covert photo of ds naked in the PE changing room showers and then threatened to send it to a girl ds liked with the same seriousness as when ds had a sensory overload and shut himself in a cupboard )same Saturday detention punishment applied)

They told me that it was not allowed for anyone to check the phone to make sure the photo had been deleted. My dh a year or so later attended safeguarding training where he was told that was not the case.


Sillydoggy · 16/06/2021 10:04

How can she have said this? It is appalling. She implies it is just a bit of fun and girls are well able to deal with it! The only question in my mind is whether you should treat this through the police or through strong school discipline.


EndoplasmicReticulum · 16/06/2021 10:05


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 16/06/2021 10:10

I’m going to complain to Ofsted.


paddingtonbearmeetsdeadpool · 16/06/2021 10:19

Social services should be contacted immediately. Any nude picture that a child takes of themselves or any snaps that are sent by children to other children should be dealt with by social services. The families need educating on how to protect their children.


littlbrowndog · 16/06/2021 10:28

What if someone sent her a dick picture

Would she laugh it off

What has happened to safeguarding

Why do girls have to accept that getting sent dick pics is part of a girls life


paddingtonbearmeetsdeadpool · 16/06/2021 10:29

Police will not prosecute they will pass on their information to social services it's a safeguarding issue.


MummBraTheEverLeaking · 16/06/2021 10:29

I'm reading this now, unbelievable. Hey girls! Feel uncomfortable or threatened from unwanted dick pics? Just laugh it off!! Silly boys and their clumsy exploration, amirite? Angry

In the wake of everyone's invited and the number of attacks against girls on schools, this takes the absolute piss. What on earth is she thinking?


Thelnebriati · 16/06/2021 10:29

Its a disgusting, minimising comment. How can she hold that position and be so completely ignorant of the laws around sexual harassment and safeguarding?


NCwhatsmynameagain · 16/06/2021 10:32

Astonishing. How do we complain


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 16/06/2021 10:46

If you go on the Ofsted website, there’s a contact us link. Do it via that.

It’s outrageous.


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 16/06/2021 10:46

Wondering about starting one of those big petitions.


Cattenberg · 16/06/2021 10:51

This is going off at a tangent to the OP, but I feel extremely sorry for children who have been coaxed or coerced into sending someone else a nude photo. In some cases, the recipient uses the photo to blackmail them.

What are those children supposed to do then? They need urgent help, but if they go to the police, they could be prosecuted (I have heard of one or two instances of teenage girls being prosecuted for sending nude photos of themselves). And it must be hard for them to speak to any adult, especially if the coercion/blackmail has escalated.

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