Ofsted’s chief inspector has said most schoolgirls “laugh off” being sent unwanted nude pictures by boys – and suggested it is not a safeguarding issue for schools.
Amanda Spielman was appearing before the House of Commons education committee following Ofsted’s major report last week on sexual harassment in schools.
It found nine in 10 girls reported sexist name calling and being sent unwanted explicit pictures or videos.
Inspectors were told boys are sharing “nudes” among themselves like a “collection game” on WhatsApp and Snapchat, while some girls have experienced “unwanted touching in school corridors”.
Spielman was asked when an allegation of sexual harassment involving a child is not a safeguarding issue.
She told MPs on Tuesday that she had spoken to a sample of girls who left school in the past two years and that only one had never been sent a photograph by a boy of their naked body.
“Most of the girls laugh that off and think it’s contemptible.
“They would not want to be pulled into some safeguarding procedures by reason of being sent a photograph that they think is simply contemptible.”
Watch: Gavin Williamson on sexual abuse in schools review launch (from March)
Spielman was asked again by Labour MP Ian Mearns whether it's a safeguarding issue when boys send such photos.
She continued: “There's a spectrum here. 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."
Spielman said it is “really difficult” for schools to “draw the line” over incidents “of a serious concern, and what was simply a matter of education”.
“So there is one piece that’s about cultural education, and one piece that is about the point at which you invoke formal proceedings of any kind, whether it’s safeguarding or criminal.”
Watch: Tuesday's daily politics briefing