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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The residential schools investigation report


J.1: Introduction

1. Education law in England and Wales was unified until devolution in 1998.[1] Since then, the legislative function and oversight of the education system has moved gradually to be the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly. Since 2011, the Welsh Government has had exclusive responsibility for all aspects of education in Wales.[2]

2. The 12 schools examined in detail in this investigation were not in Wales. However, the investigation gathered evidence on the response of Welsh institutions to safeguarding concerns which arose in 2019 and 2020 at Ruthin School, an independent day and boarding school, Ruthin School in Denbighshire North Wales, in 2019 and 2020.

3. At the end of June 2021, the Everyone’s Invited website had received allegations of sexual assault and harassment in 93 Welsh schools.[3] In June 2021, the Welsh Government commissioned Estyn (the Welsh inspectorate of schools) to carry out a review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges in Wales. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Professor Sally Holland, stated:

Whilst I would welcome Estyn’s expertise in gathering more information about this, we already know that this is an issue here in Wales. I’ve been hearing harrowing experiences from children and young people for years – which we’ve dealt with as individual cases – and I wouldn’t want to delay taking action on this now by having to wait for a review.”[4]

Estyn visited 35 schools and spoke to approximately 1,300 pupils in September and October 2021.[5] Its report, published in December 2021, found around half of all pupils had personally experienced peer-on-peer sexual harassment and three quarters of all pupils reported seeing other pupils experiencing this, and that generally pupils did not report these incidents to teachers.[6]

4. This Part focusses on the ability of institutions in Wales to address safeguarding concerns in the independent sector. It also considers broader issues of reporting concerns and allegations, leadership and governance, training and awareness-raising, and teacher misconduct, which apply to both the independent sector and state-funded sector in Wales. As there is some overlap between the statutory frameworks in England and Wales, certain aspects of the thematic parts of the report are also relevant to Wales, in particular Part F (leadership and governance) and Part E in respect of consistency of approach by LADOs.

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