The new Ofsted inspection handbook details a new set of requirements for schools considering the online safety of pupils. As more and more children are engaging with technology, a consistent and effective approach to teaching and safeguarding is essential to their development and wellbeing. It is therefore no great surprise that the new guidelines for September 2015 focus so heavily on the impact of technology. SWGfL, who are proud to work with Ofsted and recently trained all HMI, discuss what the changes mean, and what constitutes ‘outstanding’ and effective practice of online safety:
Curriculum inclusion: Digital literacy and citizenship should be included in a clear and progressive curriculum, to ensure that pupils understand how to conduct themselves online in a safe and appropriate manner. Children should enjoy learning about emotional health and relationships in both online and offline environments.
Effective staff development: Teachers should be aware of the dangers and risks associated with the use of technology, including bullying, grooming, sexting, and radicalisation. They should also be aware of any publicly available online content that could pose a threat to or influence children, especially issues which are reported through the press.
Robust reporting: Action must be taken immediately if there are any concerns about potential online bullying or inappropriate behaviour. A clear strategy for reporting and intelligence gathering must be in place to allow staff to ensure that any necessary interventions are carried out to protect the safety of pupils in their care.
Whole school ownership: Online safety is a concern for everyone. Pupils, teachers and parents in the wider school community should all work collaboratively to prevent online bullying and to develop a safe and positive attitude towards technology and online engagement.
Ken Corish is Online Safety Manager at SWGfL and UK Safer Internet Centre.
With a wide range of expertise including the involvement of police and social care specialists, SWGfL is the most respected provider of online safeguarding support in UK schools. For further information, please visit: www.swgfl.org.uk.
SWGfL is a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre (www.saferinternet.org.uk); the national online safety awareness centre.
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