Worcester School launches probe after claims girls are forced to kneel to measure skirt length

The headteacher of a top private school has launced an investigation into allegations of ‘sexism’ after claims girls were forced to kneel while teachers measured the length of their skirts.

Female teachers at the £15,000-a-year King’s School in Worcester are accused of enforcing ‘blatantly sexist rules’ and failing to punish bullies. 

Headmaster Gareth Doodes has confirmed he has now launched a safeguarding probe after being told of the claims. 

Allegations of female pupils having the length of their skirts measured were revealed on whistle-blowing website Everyone’s Invited.

Allegations of 'sexist rules' and female pupils being forced to kneel so the length of their skirts could be measured were revealed on whistle-blowing website Everyone's Invited

Allegations of 'sexist rules' and female pupils being forced to kneel so the length of their skirts could be measured were revealed on whistle-blowing website Everyone's Invited

Allegations of ‘sexist rules’ and female pupils being forced to kneel so the length of their skirts could be measured were revealed on whistle-blowing website Everyone’s Invited

Headmaster Gareth Doodes has confirmed he has now launched a safeguarding probe after being told of the claims posted on the whistleblowing site

Headmaster Gareth Doodes has confirmed he has now launched a safeguarding probe after being told of the claims posted on the whistleblowing site

Headmaster Gareth Doodes has confirmed he has now launched a safeguarding probe after being told of the claims posted on the whistleblowing site

Created last year, the Everyone’s Invited website has seen contributions surge since the murder of Sarah Everard from South London last month.

Founded by Henry VIII: The school with close links to Worcester cathedral

The King’s School, Worcester is an English independent school refounded by Henry VIII in 1541. 

It was initially set up as a boy’s school, but girls were welcomed into the sixth form in 1971.

The school became fully coeducational in 1991. 

The mixed school, which is next to Worcester cathedral in the city centre, now caters to 1,465 pupils aged 2 to 18.

They work closely with the cathedral to train choirsters. 

Notable former pupils at the school, which was founded by Henry VIII in 1541, include Conservative MP Richard Bacon, the late comedian Rik Mayall and Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson. 

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Hundreds of prestigious private schools have been named and shamed in a sex scandal that has engulfed Britain’s entire education sector.

Many other women have also used the platform to reveal their ordeals within the state education system, at university or the family home.

The anonymous post on Everyone’s Invited site, which was launched by campaigner Soma Sara, 22, and Meadow Walker, the daughter of late actor Paul Walker, read: ‘In the uniform rules it said that a girl’s skirt had to be 10cm above the knees when kneeling so several teachers made girls kneel to measure their skirts.

‘I remember walking out of cathedral and seeing teachers taking girls off and making them kneel on the cathedral floor just to check their skirt length.

‘This is the same school that would not let us show our ankles and made us wear full tracksuits (when we) were in our sports kit, even if it was 30 degrees and the middle of summer.

‘The saddest thing was that female teachers even enforced the blatantly sexist rules.

‘They made us think that our bodies should be covered and that it was our responsibility to make sure men wouldn’t look at us.’

The post went on to detail allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour between a number of the male pupils towards girls at the school. 

King’s School caters for 1,467 boys and girls aged 2-18 and received an ‘Excellent’ Ofsted rating. 

King's School (pictured, stock image) caters for 1,467 boys and girls aged 2-18 and received an 'Excellent' Ofsted rating

King's School (pictured, stock image) caters for 1,467 boys and girls aged 2-18 and received an 'Excellent' Ofsted rating

King’s School (pictured, stock image) caters for 1,467 boys and girls aged 2-18 and received an ‘Excellent’ Ofsted rating

The whistleblowing site that sparked a sex scandal that has engulfed Britain’s entire education sector

Everyone’s Invited was created last year by former British private school pupil Soma Sara, 22, who launched the project with Meadow Walker, daughter of the late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker. 

Contributions to the Everyone’s Invited website have surged since the murder of Sarah Everard from South London last month.

Hundreds of prestigious private schools have been named and shamed in a sex scandal that has engulfed Britain’s entire education sector. 

Many other women have also used the platform to reveal their ordeals within the state education system, at university or the family home.

Within a week the whisleblowing site had received and shared more than 300 anonymous responses of people with stories of ‘misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault’, and thousands more have followed, predominantly from girls but also from boys.

These include harrowing tales of children as young as 11 being forced to share explicit images, later being shared to shame them over messaging platforms, and teenagers describing being drugged and raped at parties.

Incidents involving boys from more than 100 schools have been collated, including some attending elite fee-paying ones such as Sherborne, Westminster and Eton – where Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William studied.

British police said they have received ‘more than 7,000’ testimonies from pupils, and growing claims Britain’s top schools have covered up sexual offences to protect their reputations.  

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The Everyone’s Invited post added: ‘This is the same school where guys used to go around daring each other to grab girls (bottoms).

‘And the same school that instead of dealing with reported racism, sexism and bullying in the school decided instead to change the uniform so that skirts were below the knee and couldn’t be rolled up, like that was the biggest problem they had.’

The allegations are now being investigated by school chiefs, with the headteacher urging anyone affected by ‘unacceptable treatment’ to report it. 

He also said he was ‘pleased’ that pupils have an ‘opporunity’ to share their experiences on the whistleblowing site.  

Headmaster Mr Doodes said: ‘I am aware that King’s has been mentioned [on Everyone’s Invited].

‘Immediately I informed my designated safeguarding lead.

‘We take all allegations extremely seriously and will be looking into this immediately after the Easter break.

‘I am pleased girls have an opportunity to disclose trauma through Everyone’s Invite but would encourage anyone from any school who feels their treatment by fellow pupils or staff has been unacceptable to also contact the safeguarding lead.

‘Details can be found on every UK educational institution’s website so such sensitive yet damaging issues can be investigated further.’ 

The schools uniform policy is shared online and requires skirts to be worn ‘on the knee’.  

Their uniform guide for years nine to 11 states: ‘Skirts should be worn and should be on the knee and no more than 5 cm above the knee when kneeling (i.e. 5 cm above the mid point of the knee cap).’

It adds: ‘Girls wearing a skirt which is too short for them will be asked to replace it with a new, longer skirt.’

Girls can also wear ‘slim leg or regular fit’ trousers ‘in a formal style’ – although ‘skinny or jegging style trousers are not permitted’. 

Notable former pupils at the school, which was founded by Henry VIII in 1541, include Conservative MP Richard Bacon, the late comedian Rik Mayall and Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson. 

Women teachers ‘are scared to walk school corridors’: Union bosses say staff are also victims of schools sex abuse scandal as female workers worry about walking hallways alone 

By Eleanor Harding Education Correspondent For The Daily Mail

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night.

The NASUWT, which has 314,000 members in both private and state schools, said many women staff have reported sex asCsaults and harassment by male pupils.

It comes after more than 12,000 testimonies were collated by the Everyone’s Invited website detailing sexual abuse of girls by male students across the country.

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers have also been victims of unwanted advances and behaviour, including ‘upskirting’ and ‘down-blousing’ – where pupils secretly film under their clothes and circulate footage online.

Yesterday Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said female teachers are suffering from the same ‘sexist and misogynist behaviour’ as girls have complained of and even have to constantly ‘think about how they are dressed’ to ward off attacks. One teacher told the union her face was superimposed onto porn and then shared online widely.

Others have been inappropriately touched or been the subject of sexist name-calling and ‘derogatory language’ in class as well as online, Dr Roach said.

He told the union’s annual conference yesterday: ‘Misogyny and sexism are all too real, all too apparent – whether it’s on the streets… or in our schools. And [the question is] whether female teachers and female students can feel that they are safe to walk along the corridors without having to think about how they’re dressed or whether they’re walking alone and how they’re going to be treated by pupils.

‘No teacher should feel that, no student should feel that. And yet we do hear that teachers and students do.’ He said the problem was related to the Everyone’s Invited testimonies, with the abuse that female pupils suffer ‘impacting’ on teachers, and ‘vice versa’.

He said: ‘We are seeing… so-called banter, sexist name-calling, the use of derogatory terms – both in class and online – to talk about teachers, the posting of sexist comments on social media, the belittling of teachers because of their sex.’

He said the most ‘extreme’ behaviour included ‘cases of upskirting, down-blousing, inappropriate touching’, and it probably represented ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

A motion debated yesterday at the conference stated bullying and intimidation including ‘sexual harassment and misogyny’ is ‘prevalent’ in schools.

It said: ‘These behaviours in schools are damaging the professional status and mental health of teachers and driving committed teachers out of the profession.’ One NASUWT member who was up-skirted said: ‘It was a breach of trust and he was a pupil that I knew and trusted.

‘We felt totally violated by what he had done. That was a very difficult thing to try to get over.’

The motion, which was passed, resolves to ’empower all members to be able to quickly identify and challenge bullying and intimidation before such behaviour becomes endemic’.

Some have told the union they are often not taken seriously when they report abuse or that it is simply viewed as ‘boys’ banter’.

Dr Roach said school management needed to take more responsibility for pupils’ predatory behaviour. He added: ‘Something has got to change in which the voice of teachers and the voice of students is respected, is valued and listened to.’

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘In no circumstances should teachers be subjected to abuse simply for doing their jobs.’

They added that it plans to improve discipline in schools through a £10million behaviour hubs programme.

 

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