Former teachers are warning that schools have become ‘a haven for sexual predators’ as grooming of pupils has become more widespread.
A study by the Royal College of Nursing and Childbirths (RCN) found that 1.6 million school-based workers are now involved in grooming activity, with an average of one grooming victim a week.
The RCN study, which analysed data from over 3,000 staff, found that grooming of schoolchildren was up to five times more likely than grooming of non-school-based pupils.
It said the grooming of children in the schools was the most common grooming offence, but the majority of incidents involved grooming of a child who was a member of the staff.
More:The RCNs study also revealed that up to 50 per cent of grooming incidents were reported to the police and this had increased significantly since 2010.
It added that ‘many of the schools we surveyed have not taken steps to address the grooming problem’.
In addition, the RCN said that the average grooming victim in a school was aged between 11 and 13 years old.
Professor Tim Taylor, a paediatrician and lecturer at the Royal Institute of Nursing, said grooming had become more common in the past five years.’
The rise in grooming has become so great that the authorities have been forced to address it and to take action,’ he said.’
Schools are now becoming a haven, it’s becoming a serious problem.’
There is now a large-scale grooming activity going on in schools, it is now an epidemic.’
People have become desensitised to the nature of this sort of thing and they are now being more easily manipulated and manipulated by the perpetrators.’
Professor Taylor added: ‘I think we’ve had a change in attitudes about grooming in schools and the police are now starting to take a closer look at what is happening.’
Some schools are now looking at how to do better in this area and I think that’s the key.’
I think it is really important to work with school leaders to get a real culture change, to get to grips with grooming, and to address this really serious problem.’
Last week, a teacher at a boarding school in Bristol was jailed for three years after grooming pupils on a school bus.