Two Colchester Grammar students accused of rape as Ofsted announces inspection over 'toxic male culture'

TWO Colchester Royal Grammar students have been accused of rape as Ofsted announces an inspection over the school's "toxic male culture."

Hundreds of allegations of abuse that left pupils "traumatised" have been lodged after former student Scarlett Mansfield shared a blog post about her experiences.


The 26-year-oldattended Sixth Form at the prestigious school, in Colchester, Essex, between the ages of 16 and 18.

Last month, she accused the school of having a "toxic male culture" with topics such as domestic abuse and homophobia being treated as a joke among at the predominantly male school.

Scarlett has received hundreds of anonymous comments from other former and current students – sharing their own accounts of sexist abuse and assault, homophobia, and racism.

They include one young girl who tried to take her own life after she said she was raped by a CRGS student.

A different girl said she too was raped – and was allegedly told by other boys not to make "a big deal out of it."

One male student has also said he was sexually assaulted on the school premises, between lessons. 

And in light of the allegations, Ofsted has now confirmed it is carrying out an unannounced inspection of the school.

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.

"And it's only now people are feeling emboldened to say something, now they have been given a platform."

What is the national task force probing child sex abuse?

Operation Hydrant is the national task force concerned with child sex abuse investigations in British institutions.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, heading the force, said his special task was aware of 7,000 reports so far – which he warned could be "the tip of the iceberg".

It comes as a Whitehall investigation has been launched into Britain's elite schools amid fears of an emerging "rape culture" scandal.

Officials from the Department of Education and Home Office are leading the response with police chiefs and Ofsted.

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate are ready to launch surprise investigations in schools if safety concerns are raised.

A senior officer had said that thousands of former and current pupils had come forward as a result of the Everyone's Invited website – a site that shone a "light on peer-on-peer abuse within educational settings across the UK".

John Russell, headteacher of CRGS, said: "We continue to make acts of prejudice, discrimination or abuse socially unacceptable.

"We continue 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."

This comes as a Whitehall investigation was launched into Britain's elite schools amid fears of an emerging "rape culture" scandal.

Officials from the Department of Education and Home Office are leading the response with police chiefs and Ofsted.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said his special task force was aware of 7,000 reports so far – which he warned could be "the tip of the iceberg".

A senior officer had said that thousands of former and current pupils had come forward as a result of the Everyone's Invited website – a site that shone a "light on peer-on-peer abuse within educational settings across the UK".

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