AN education watchdog is inspecting a top grammar school weeks after scathing criticism from a former student.

Scarlett Mansfield, who attended the sixth form at Colchester Royal Grammar School in 2011, highlighted the issue around sexual abuse which she alleges occurred during her time at the school.

The 26-year-old shared details of the “traumatising” experiences she claims both herself and other female students endured during their time at the facility in a blog post.

Scarlett attended the facility, which is one of the highest ranking schools national for its A level results, as a sixth former.

She says since publishing her blog 200 people have made contact with her.

Scarlett subsequently contacted Ofsted asking it to investigate the school’s safeguarding policies.

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.”

Scarlett is calling for schools to get students to anonymously fill out safeguarding surveys once a term so the matter can be assessed.

Scarlett 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.”

John Russell, headteacher of Colchester Royal Grammar School, said: “We continue to make acts of prejudice, discrimination or abuse socially unacceptable; 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.

"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, he added. 

"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."