Being online and part of the online world is a daily part of children and young people’s lives now and is becoming more and more entrenched each year.
Social media, online games, websites, apps and instant messaging can be accessed through mobile phones, computers, laptops, tablets, iPods and many other devices.
Research shows 9/10 young people age 11-18 use a form of social media each day – click here to read more.
While the internet and online technology gives exciting opportunities as extraordinary platforms for children and young people to learn and develop, it can also expose them to many risks.
A recent report by charity Action for Children has found that bullying, social media and exam pressure are some of the things which young people in the UK are most worried about – click here to learn more.
Therefore, a fundamental part of school and college education now must be related to online safety.
Creating an online safety culture
Ofsted pay particular attention to online safety and learning as part of a school curriculum. This can be seen in the New Education inspection framework (EIF) in which inspectors are asked to look at how effective schools and colleges are in protecting and educating young people about the risk of being online.
Ofsted will be looking at the planning (Intent) and how schools and colleges develop an online safety culture. The main focus of this will look at how well pupils are protected from harm and, increasingly, how well they’re taught to keep themselves safe.
The main questions that inspectors will want to answer will be:
- Do teachers incorporate internet safety in the curriculum and is this appropriate to the needs of the children they serve?
- Does the curriculum delivered progress as children and young people grow and develop?
Therefore, when developing your EdTech curriculum, you should ensure it enables pupils to recognise online and offline risks to their wellbeing. For example, risks from criminal and sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism. They should also be able to recognise the dangers of inappropriate use of mobile technology and social media.
It is therefore vital that we pay particular attention to what we do within our curriculum and ensure that that our curriculum planning does not rely on one off events, such as online safety week or teacher induction days. We should ensure effective planning to ensure we cover the wide-ranging topics in relation to e-safety.
It is vital we support young people in developing, in Ofsted language, the right "behaviours and attitudes" when being online. Inspectors will look at how the curriculum is structured and look at how the school/college develops children and young people's skills and knowledge appropriate to the age range and activities they would undertake online.
High quality e-safety programme
When looking to develop your curriculum, Ofsted identify that a high-quality online education programme should include the following:
- In key stage 1, pupils need to know how to be respectful towards others when communicating electronically and that if they’re worried, they should seek adult help. Pupils in these stages should also be encouraged to balance their screen time with real interactions and experiences.
- As pupils move into key stage 2, they need to develop an understanding of their responsibilities when using technology. This includes thinking about how they treat others and being aware of how their digital footprint stays online forever.
Online safety, e-Safety, internet safety or digital safety?
It is key to remember online safety is much wider than the use of computers and google searching. E-safety, internet safety, digital safety – regardless of what it is often called, it is vital that schools and colleges support young people to use devices responsibly and recognise the risks associated with online gaming, social media and digital footprints.
As teachers we must ensure that we are confident that our resources are up to date and that we are aware of the apps and types of social media young people are using.
To find out more about how Ofsted will inspect your online safety policy and curriculum, book your place on our exclusive webinar by clicking here.
To learn more about how your school can take the most effective approach to online safety, click here.