An immediate review of safeguarding policies in schools has been launched after more than 10,000 reports were posted on a website for students to share experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
The government has asked Ofsted to look at the extent and the severity of the issue and ensure both state and independent schools have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report concerns.
A new helpline, run by the NSPCC, is also being launched to support potential victims of sexual harassment and abuse in educational settings.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent and it is vital that these allegations are dealt with properly.
“While the majority of schools take their safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, I am determined to make sure the right resources and processes are in place across the education system to support any victims of abuse to come forward.
“This government is committed to ensuring victims feel supported to refer the most serious allegations to the police via the helpline, safe in the knowledge that everything possible will be done to bring offenders to justice.
“No child or young person should have to experience abuse.
“But if something isn’t right, they should speak to someone they trust to raise concerns, whether that’s family, a friend, teacher or social worker, helpline or the police.”