E-safety policies

Technology is moving at such a fast pace these days and young people are steering their own education – the way that a school manages its approach to ICT will have an enormous impact on the way that its students will learn. As mobile technologies become more common amongst young people both in and out of school we may feel as though we are losing control over what our children are exposed to and how they access information, although the restrictions we may have previously imposed to safeguard young people may no longer be adhered to we can however ensure that safety is at the forefront of children’s minds. Proactively including pupils in drafting the school’s E-safety Policy, encouraging the safe and unrestricted use of the school’s system for research and communication and ensuring a whole-school approach to the use of online technologies are but a few ways that not only can you satisfy governing bodies at inspection time but also ensure that children are equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage their own safety when online.

Alan Earl has this advice for schools looking at their e-safety policies;

“The first step for a successful and progressive policy is to take responsibility. Ensure a school-wide support network that will ensure that e-safety is embedded in every lesson and adapted to meet staff andpupils needs and just as importantly, their interests.

There are resources and organisations out there that can help you and will keep you up to date with the latest topics, risks and threats. Adapt template policies and advice from these agencies to your own circumstances and apply them, regularly assess if you are doing enough and ensure that your staff are frequently receiving training – policies should be CAR – ‘clear, agreed and respected’.

Ensure that as well as a whole-school approach you also consider the individual needs of each pupil – especially those you may identify as particularly vulnerable and that you engage with parents to make sure they are also aware of the benefits and potential risks associated with online technologies.”