As part of a whole school approach, senior leaders are crucial in implementing their own school’s procedures in terms of online safety and how to facilitate these.
While they may not have a day-to-day input and influence over the delivery of online safety lessons, it’s vital that they are abreast of all the latest developments in the online world, so that they can act should an incident arise.
A school’s online safety coordinator (OSC) will be trusted to lead on the subject of online safety, but they must also be aligned with the senior leadership team, because wider decisions will have to be made. This alignment may manifest in the shape of an ‘online safety group’, which should include the OSC, other teachers, learners and a governor.
In short, online safety does start from the top.
Creating a culture of online safety in schools
Senior leaders are awash with responsibilities and priorities, especially given the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to safeguarding practice, online safety should be a focal point of this, to ensure that children and young people can identify the risks and act upon these if necessary. Senior leaders and governors are central to implementing policy and process, so having an extensive knowledge of the online world and the dangers it poses is essential.
The ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019’ statutory guidance re-emphasises the importance of online safety, by outlining the requirement for governors and proprietors to see staff undergo regularly updated safeguarding training and children to be taught about safeguarding, including online safety.
A comprehensive, whole school approach is always an effective and positive strategy to take when it comes to protecting all those affiliated to the school or college, because the message doesn’t relinquish once the children return home.
Teaching online safety
The Department for Education’s ‘Teaching online safety in schools’ guidance offers a number of ways that school leaders can roll out a programme of educating around the subject and incorporating it into lessons.
As of September 2020, it will be compulsory for all primary aged pupils to be taught about Relationships Education, with Relationships and Sex Education mandatory for all secondary aged pupils, while all state-funded schools will be required to deliver Health Education. These new subjects will see students be educated on online safety and multiple facets which exist within it.
These subjects also offer the opportunity for teachers and staff to address online safety in a way which is age appropriate to their pupils and their own lives.
Gain a comprehensive online safety understanding
At National Online Safety, we understand the importance of remaining up to date with all of the latest changes to the online world and how this may impact upon legislation.
That’s why we’ve created our ‘Annual Online Safety Course for Teachers, School Staff & Governors (2019-20)’, which will help the aforementioned stakeholders understand their responsibilities and duties as practitioners and have a extensive comprehension of the current online dangers.
Click here to book.