MPs are launching an inquiry into sexual offences in schools after a report by BBC Radio 5 live Investigates revealed 5,500 alleged sex crimes were recorded in UK schools over a three-year period.

The weekly investigative journalism programme revealed there were nearly 4,000 physical sexual assaults and more than 600 rapes in schools during 2013, 2014, and 2015.

All UK police forces responded to the BBC’s Freedom of Information request in September last year.

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It showed most victims were primary and secondary school children, with at least a fifth of offences carried out by other children, so-called “peer-on peer” abuse.

More than 1,500 victims were aged under 13. In some cases the victims and suspects were both five years old.

The Women and Equalities Committee will examine who is committing the offences, who is being targeted, and whether the number of cases is rising.

The Committee is seeking the views of all stakeholders concerned and particularly encourages young people to share their experiences and solutions.

Gail Champion, assistant editor of BBC Radio 5 live Investigates, said: “I’m proud that our research and subsequent report has led to this inquiry.

“It was a complex investigation into a highly sensitive but important subject. It was a great example of original, investigative journalism.”

5live is based at Media City in Salford Quays.