Families of children attacked or harassed by other pupils are dismayed by lengthy delays in issuing guidelines to schools

Lawyers acting for families whose children have been victims of rape, sexual assault and harassment by fellow school pupils have stepped up action against the education secretary, Justine Greening, with a letter threatening judicial review proceedings.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is funding a legal challenge against the education secretary, which accuses her of failing to act to protect children from sexual abuse and harassment by their classmates, the Guardian has learned.

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