Pupils at all-boys school get lessons in how to respect and behave around women following Sarah Everard death

  • Report by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith


An academy is leading the way by giving its pupils lessons in how to respect and behave towards women following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Pupils at Wellacre Academy in Flixton, Greater Manchester, asked teachers for special classes in the wake of the protests held across the country following the death of the marketing executive.

The lessons at the all boys school are part of relationship, sex and health education (RSHE) and are led by Michelle O'Neill, the humanities director.

It is hoped they will change mindsets and encourage them to call out unacceptable behaviour in others by using start statistics and scenarios that make them think.

Every pupil at the all boys school now learns respect for girls and women.

Teachers say it was brought about when pupils returned following lockdown with difficult questions sparked by the death of Ms Everard in London and the protests which followed.

Boys were coming back saying 'I'd never hurt anybody' why do people think I'm a danger?

Michelle O'Neill, Wellacre Academy

Michelle O'Neill said it had been a real eye-opener for the boys.

She added: "It hasn't been easy because there was, in the first instance, some real misconceptions that the boys had to them that automatically made them think about violent crime.

"I think it was a shock to realise actually theres many behaviours that can constitute sexual harassment, but there's also many behaviours that maybe innocent completely, but may just women in particular feel on edge."

Pupils at Wellacre Academy asked teachers for the special classes in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard in London.

Pupils everywhere will have lessons tackling sexual harassment, by law, from September.

The Year 9s at Wellacre say they are pleased their school decided to implement it earlier.

It's been in the news a lot and people need to be educated on it, sure people know it's wrong, but other people continuously do it even though it is wrong.

Josh Jordan, student

Student Ben Cooney said: "Say I'm out at the park it just makes me more aware that I need to make sure you're not going to put anyone in fear of you."

Harrison Lamont added: "This will change if I ever see anything, I will definitely try and step in now and I know the issues that it causes people."

The classes are now attracting interest from other schools, including some as far away as South Africa, who are all anxious to help boys understand what respect means.


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