The scope of the RSI is to examine the nature and extent of, and institutional responses to, child sexual abuse across the broad spectrum of residential schools, including schools in the state and independent sectors, and schools for children with disabilities and/or special educational needs.
The Inquiry is exploring how schools and other agencies respond to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff and addressing broad questions of school culture, governance, leadership, training and recruitment.
The Inquiry suggested a thematic/issue based investigation and selected case studies for focused investigation in order to illuminate these issues.
The investigation has been divided into two phases.
Phase 1 is concerned with:
Phase 2 is concerned with both day and residential schools (albeit that the investigation is stated to refer to residential schools), the Inquiry having recognised the need to explore CSA in day schools.
The public hearing of Phase 1 took place between 30 September and 11 October 2019.
The hearing started with the opening statements by those core participants who wished to address the panel and then moved on to consider a document-based review of closed schools. Live evidence associated with CSA in music and special schools was then heard, followed by closing submissions. Transcripts of the proceedings can be accessed on the Inquiry website.
In the course of the hearing, evidence was adduced from representatives from:
Throughout the hearing the Inquiry heard calls for:
On 25 September, the Inquiry published an update note.
Phase 2 will continue the thematic/issue based approach, this time focussing on both day and residential schools. The schools which will be specifically considered include a state school, a primary school and a fee-paying residential independent school.
The themes to be considered are:
The Inquiry will also examine the processes in Wales given the different legislation, processes and manner of inspection.
The Inquiry invited any individual or organisation who wished to be designated as a Core Participant (CP) to apply before 4pm on Friday 18 October 2019. A preliminary hearing will be held on 14 January 2020.
Phase 2 hearings are then scheduled to take place between 11-22 May 2020.
The Inquiry will then publish a single report into Phase 1 and Phase 2 in early 2021 in which it will set out its findings, lessons learned and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales.