Top grammar school responds after current students accused of rape
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Colchester Royal Grammar School (CGRS) has spoken out after two current pupils were accused of raping other students.
BBC Three published findings of an investigation on Wednesday, May 19 in which two girls claimed they were raped by boys still attending the grammar school.
One of the victims' cases was referred to the police after she tried to take her own life. However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was insufficient evidence to take the case forward.
A male student currently attending CRGS also claims he was sexually assaulted on school premises, between lessons.
Ofsted inspectors visited the Lexden Road school earlier this week for an unannounced inspection in light of the allegations.
"Until the report is published we are unable to comment on any of the findings, but we look forward to sharing them with our community when we are able to," a spokesman for CGRS said.
Headmaster John Russell said: “It is right and correct that issues around attitudes and cultures that exist within our society, particularly towards women and girls, are at the forefront of discussion and debate.
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"What we can say is that we will always listen, always look for what we can do better, and always embrace new ideas and best practice — we will leave no stone unturned in supporting our students."
Mr Russell himself has been accused of making a rape joke in 2016.
The school has "strenuously" refuted making any rape jokes but conceded his comment — made about a situation between two students — was poorly worded and ill-considered.
A spokesperson for the school said: "Any suggestion that he was knowingly referencing an incident where someone may have been disrespected, mistreated or assaulted is fundamentally incorrect, and something that the headmaster vehemently denies."
The claims follow a blog post by former CGRS student Scarlett Mansfield, which went viral in April.
She claimed there was a "toxic rape culture" at the single sex school, which allows girls into the sixth form college.
Miss Mansfield's blog post — inspired by the anonymous Soma Sara’s ‘Everyone’s Invited’ initiative — prompted a discussion concerning women's safety.
Miss Mansfield said concerns with women's safety are common in all single sex schools.
However, she is concerned the emphasis is currently on the pupils to speak out and create change, rather than staff.