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Designated Safeguarding Lead: The Importance of Online Safety

As the designated safeguarding lead (DSL), you are responsible for handling any child protection issues in school. Referring concerns to the appropriate authorities, liaising with the senior leadership team, and ensuring teachers are aware of how to raise safeguarding concerns are all duties you must undertake.

The Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance states that DSLs 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. It also states that DSLs receive suitable “time, funding, training, resources, and support” to successfully meet their responsibilities.  

Why should training include online safety?

Increasingly, children are favouring online content over television. With more of their time being spent online, children face more risks.  

In a recent report, UNICEF discovered that “increased and unstructured” time online has exposed children to more threats such as sextingdata thievescyberbullying, and “harmful and violent content”. 

In the face of these increased threats, it’s key that DSLs understand the various risks the online environment presents to children and young people to help safeguard and support them. 

What are the DSLs online safety responsibilities?

The DSL must adopt the following responsibilities into their working day to successfully fulfil their role. 

  • Acting as the main point of contact on all online safety issues 
  • Ensuring relevant policies are in place to mitigate or handle online safety concerns 
  • Recording online safety incidents and actions taken 
  • Ensuring the school community understands what safe and appropriate online behaviour is and the sanctions for misusing the Internet 
  • Liaising with the leadership team and technical staff to ensure appropriate filtering and monitoring systems are in place on school devices 
  • Liaising with the data protection officer to ensure online safety policies align with current legislation 
  • Implementing online safety training for all safeguarding staff 
  • Actively encourage positive online behaviour 
  • Ensuring online safety education is embedded throughout the curriculum and empowering children to keep themselves and others safe online 
  • Promoting online safety to parents and carers 
  • Refreshing their training at regular intervals, at least annually 
  • Keeping updated with current research legislation and trends 

What kind of training can help DSLs?  

With so much knowledge, experience, and training expected of DSLs these days, it can, initially, be a daunting role to undertake.  

However, our Advanced Certificate in Online Safety for Safeguarding Leads empowers DSLs to adhere to their online safety statutory requirements. This course has been crafted with the following policies in mind: 

  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 
  • Relationships and Educations, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education 2019 
  • Teaching Online Safety in Schools 2019 
  • Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2019 
  • Ofsted School Inspection Handbook 2019 
  • Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years, Education and Skills Settings 2019 

The course provides an understanding of the DSLs roles and responsibilities regarding online safety, as well as helping to identify the various online risks at a senior level. 

Additionally, DSLs will learn how to mitigate risks, enable pupils to respond appropriately to concerning content, and implement a whole-school approach to develop a culture of online safety. 

Other benefits of this course include: 

  • Highly-accessible – available to view on your phone, tablet or computer 
  • Learn at your own pace – go over the course at any time 
  • Easily-digestible – bite-size chunks delivered in a high-quality video format 
  • Flexible learning – available anytime, any day, allowing training to fit into your busy schedule.
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