Statutory Safeguarding Requirements for Online Safety Neil Gamewell 2018-06-01T14:03:34+00:00
Understanding your statutory safeguarding requirements for Online Safety
The ‘Keeping children safe in education’ document sets out the legal duties with which schools and colleges must comply and also contains information on what schools and colleges should do in order to keep children safe.
National Online Safety have reviewed the ‘Keeping children safe in education’ guidance to provide schools with a summary of their Online Safety safeguarding duties.
Keeping children safe in education Statutory guidance for schools and colleges Implemented September 2016 ONLINE SAFETY SAFEGUARDING DUTIES
Online Safety - Page 17 Paragraph 67
67. As schools and colleges increasingly work online, it is essential that children are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. As such, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place. Additional information to support governing bodies and proprietors is provided in Annex C.
68. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. This may include covering relevant issues through personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), tutorials (in FE colleges) and/or, for maintained schools and colleges, through sex and relationship education (SRE).
69. Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.
Child sexual exploitation - page 54
Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and can happen online.
Preventing radicalisation - page 56
Specific background factors may contribute to vulnerability which are often combined with specific influences such as family, friends or online, and with specific needs for which an extremist or terrorist group may appear to provide an answer. The internet and the use of social media in particular has become a major factor in the radicalisation of young people. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection.
Annex C: Online Safety - page 67
The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation: technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. An effective approach to online safety empowers a school or college to protect and educate the whole school or college community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.
The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material;
contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; and
conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm.
Filters and monitoring
Governing bodies and proprietors should be doing all that they reasonably can to limit children’s exposure to the above risks from the school or college’s IT system. As part of this process, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure their school or college has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place. Whilst considering their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and provide them with a safe environment in which to learn, governing bodies and proprietors should consider the age range of their pupils, the number of pupils, how often they access the IT system and the proportionality of costs vs risks.
The appropriateness of any filters and monitoring systems are a matter for individual schools and colleges and will be informed in part by the risk assessment required by the Prevent Duty. The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance as to what “appropriate” might look like:
Guidance on e-security is available from the National Education Network-NEN. Buying advice for schools is available here: buying for schools.
Whilst filtering and monitoring are an important part of the online safety picture for schools and colleges to consider, it is only one part. Governors and proprietors should consider a whole school approach to online safety. This will include a clear policy on the 88 Prevent duty 63 use of mobile technology in the school. Many children have unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via 3G and 4G in particular and the school and college should carefully consider how this is managed on their premises.
Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.
Governors and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement for staff to undergo regularly updated safeguarding training (paragraph 64) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online (paragraph 68), that online safety training for staff is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the overarching safeguarding approach.
Keeping children safe in education Statutory guidance for schools and colleges Proposed changes/additions: September 2018 ONLINE SAFETY SAFEGUARDING DUTIES
78. As part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety, through teaching and learning opportunities. This may include covering relevant issues through personal, social, health and economic (PSHE), education tutorials (in FE colleges) and/or, for maintained schools and colleges, through sex and relationship education (SRE).
Ofsted note: Reordered the wording of this paragraph to improve readability and have added the word “safety”. This addition is to make clear that “safeguarding” in this context includes “online safety”.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges - Page 72-78
New DfE guidance published on Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges.
Specific online references include:
Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support.
The advice sets out that sexual harassment is ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. It is likely to violate a child’s dignity, and/or makes them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or creates a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Annex B: Role of the designated safeguarding lead - Training - Page 80
The training for the designated safeguarding lead has been updated to include these two requirements:
are able to understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school or college;
can recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;
Ofsted note: Added online safety and SEND as considerations when training designated safeguarding leads. This reflects the importance of these two areas as set out in Part 2 of the guidance. Also bringing deputy DSL in line with DSL and setting out that the role should be explicit in any job description.
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