Developing contextual responses to the abuse and exploitation of young people


Beyond Referrals - schools

Last updated: 14 May 2020

Beyond Referrals: levers for addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools

Young people report that schools are locations where students can encounter sexual harm. This can involve a range of harmful sexual behaviours from name-calling and sexual bullying to sexual assault. Schools are also places that can provide safety to young people and promote positive ideas about gender and relationships. Research indicates that schools need whole-schools approaches to preventing harmful sexual behaviour. This needs schools to develop interventions beyond referrals to designated safeguarding leads or social care. To do so, schools, multi-agency partners and inspectorates must understand the levers for preventing and intervening into contexts of harm.

The Contextual Safeguarding team, supported by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, have created a range of resources for schools, multi-agency partnerships and inspectorates for tackling harmful sexual behaviour in schools. This page provides all resources for schools to assess their own response to harmful sexual behaviour. This includes a traffic-light tool for self- assessment, a series of 5 webinars that explain how to use the tool and an online scorecard where you can enter your scores and print tailored reports.

To begin, download the HSB traffic-light tool. Before completing the assessment make sure to watch the webinar series. The webinars explain how to use the tool and carry out the assessment for each of the four areas: structures and systems, prevention, identification and response and intervention. The Excel spreadsheet can be downloaded and used to record your score and create your own visualisation.


Start by downloading the self-assessment traffic light tool for schools. Here you can find a landscape and portrait version and the excel spreadsheet for recording your scores. Before you start the assessment make sure to watch the webinars below:

Beyond Referrals - schools

School HSB assessment tool - landscape

Beyond Referrals - schools

School HSB assessment tool - portrait

Use this scorecard to record assessment scores for your school and print reports.


The following five webinars take you through each step of completing the school assessment. Before you begin print out the traffic-light tool. Make sure you watch each webinar before you start the assessment as they explain the process, how to calculate your score and what methods to use.

1 Introduction

2 Structures & systems

3 Prevention

4 Identification

5 Response & intervention

Self-assessment methods

Completing your self-assessment requires using a range of methods from speaking with students, staff and parents, to reviewing policies and procedures and safeguarding logs. For complete guidance on how to do this, including templates, download and use the following guides:

Beyond Referrals - schools

Assessment guidance

Start here for guidance and template for completing the assessment

Beyond Referrals - schools

Student engagement

How do you include student experiences? Sample lesson plans, consent forms and guidance.

Student engagement on the topic of harmful sexual behaviour in schools

In this webinar Jo Walker, discusses the value of running engagement sessions with students.

Beyond Referrals - schools

Staff engagement

Guidance on how to engage staff in a focus group with questions and template

Beyond Referrals - schools

Reviewing behaviour logs

A guide and template for reviewing behaviour and safeguarding logs

Beyond Referrals - schools

Policies and procedures

What to look for when reviewing policies and procedures!

Beyond Referrals - schools

Hotspot mapping (Stein et. al 2018)

Guidance on hotspot mapping in schools for years 7-8 (pages 18 & 57).

Beyond Referrals - schools

Student Survey Guidance

Guidance to support our template student survey for identifying harmful sexual behaviour

Beyond Referrals - schools

Student Survey

Use our student survey or make your own.

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