Teachers across the country have been invited to share their views on the new Internet Safety Strategy green paper, in a number of focus groups organised by the London Grid for Learning (LGfL TRUSTnet) on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Over the course of sessions held at DCMS headquarters in Whitehall, as well as the offices of School Improvement in Liverpool, primary and secondary teachers will share their views on the general state of online safety in schools, the risks and opportunities for pupils, engaging parents and the support that schools can access.
The new Internet Safety Strategy aims to look at how Britain can become ‘the safest place in the world to be online’ by examining the responsibilities of companies operating online, the technical solutions to reduce current risks, and the role of the government in online safety. The basic principles of the green paper are: ‘what is unacceptable offline should be unacceptable online’; ‘all users should be empowered to manage online risks and stay safe’ and ‘technology companies have a responsibility to their users’.
The paper touches on a number of strongly contested subjects, including the introduction of a social media levy and code of practice for social media companies, gaming and connected (IoT) toys and extending sex and relationships education. As this paper will have a large impact on safeguarding and education practice the government has been keen to canvas the opinions of as many education professionals as possible.
Graham Macaulay, IT Lead at the LEO Academy Trust commented on the sessions, “The online world is full of opportunities but also risks, and it is always challenging for schools to stay up to date and support pupils and parents as they negotiate the digital world. The green paper is really ambitious and we are delighted that our academy trust was able to be involved in shaping new policies that will help keep our children safe.”
LGfL TRUSTnet’s Online Safety and Safeguarding Manager, Mark Bentley commented, “The education world keeps its eyes keenly peeled on documentation from the Department for Education, but is often less aware of the work of other government departments. The new green paper will have a big impact on the future of online safety and how schools approach this vital area of safeguarding, so these sessions present a fantastic opportunity for teachers to share their views and help shape government policy. We are very grateful for the opportunity to help schools input to the consultation.”