Ofsted investigates Colchester Royal Grammar School over ex-pupil’s claims she and her friends were left ‘traumatised’ by its ‘toxic male culture’
- Freelance writer Scarlett, now 26, attended Sixth Form at the prestigious school
- She said topics such as domestic abuse and homophobia were treated as a joke
- Now Ofsted has confirmed it is carrying out an unannounced inspection
A top grammar school is to be investigated by inspection board Ofsted – over hundreds of allegations of a ‘toxic male culture’ which left pupils ‘traumatised’.
The claims against Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) came to light last month, after former pupil Scarlett Mansfield shared a blog post.
Freelance writer Scarlett, now 26, attended Sixth Form at the prestigious school, in Colchester, Essex, between the ages of 16 and 18.
Last month, she shared a blog post online about her experiences at CRGS – accusing the school of having a ‘toxic male culture’.
She said that topics such as domestic abuse and homophobia were treated as a joke among at the predominantly-male school – which only accepts girls in Sixth Form.
Scarlett has received hundreds of anonymous comments from other former and current CRGS students – sharing their own accounts of sexist abuse and assault, homophobia, and racism.
And in light of the allegations, Ofsted has now confirmed it is carrying out an unannounced inspection of the school.
Scarlett Mansfield who attended Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS), in Essex
Scarlett said the school’s ‘toxic male culture’ had left her ‘genuinely traumatised’
The school watchdog recently published plans for a review into safeguarding policies relating to sexual abuse in schools.
An Ofsted spokesman said: ‘We cannot provide further details while the inspection is ongoing. We will publish our report in due course.’
Colchester Royal Grammar School is renowned for being one of the highest-ranking in the country for its A-Level results, and has been in the Sunday Times Top 10 seven times in the past ten years.
But Scarlett has now said she is glad people feel ’emboldened’ to speak out about their experiences, and prompt the Ofsted investigation.
She said: ‘Too often, we think of sexual assault or sexism generally as being something that only happens to celebrities or something that goes addressed in the courtrooms.
‘But in reality, it’s happening to people all around us, all the time, whether we’re conscious of it or not.
Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) is going to be investigated by the Ofsted watchdog
‘And it’s only now people are feeling emboldened to say something, now they have been given a platform.’
John Russell, headteacher of CRGS, said: ‘We continue to make acts of prejudice, discrimination or abuse socially unacceptable.
‘We cotninue to create a stronger emphasis on standing up for the victim and a culture of challenging unacceptable acts, such that to be a bystander is considered to be complicit.’
He said the school is considering avenues from ‘call-it-out’ online forms where students can report specific incidents.
He added: ‘We recognise some of the barriers which deter students from reporting incidents.
‘Developing a culture of reporting acts of discrimination, especially microaggressions and acts that are perceived by some as less serious, provides a significant challenge.
‘It requires such acts to be truly socially unacceptable and to move away from the age-old culture of not ‘telling on the bully’ or on those high up in the social hierarchy.’