A recent 4 year ICT report from Ofsted contained specific strong recommendations for eSafety. Schools are expected to evaluate the effectiveness of their provision for teaching pupils how to keep themselves safe when online and record incidents where the safety of individuals may have been compromised.
The revised Ofsted School Inspection Framework now has a stronger focus on safeguarding and school approaches to eSafety. Following an Ofsted Inspection schools will receive a grading on a scale from 1(outstanding) to 4(inadequate) for their safeguarding arrangements, including eSafety. Any school which receives a grade of 4 will also be likely to be awarded an inadequate grade for its overall performance.
e-Safety and the Revised OFSTED Inspection Schedule from September 2009
Author: Paul Heinrich, ICT Adviser, Portsmouth City Council
Cited in: Advancing Education Autumn 2009
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Ofsted's evaluation schedule of judgements for schools inspected under section five of the Education Act 2005, from September 2009 includes a new judgement on "The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures". Judgements in this area will involve an evaluation of e-safety policies and procedures, including those relating to e.g. cyber-bullying, use of personal communications devices in schools, staff use of ICT for learning, teaching and communication with pupils and the curriculum for teaching e-safety and responsible use of ICTs both in school and beyond.
Schools should take particular note that if the school is judged to be inadequate in this strand of the evaluation schedule its overall effectiveness is likely to be judged to be inadequate. While weaknesses in e-safety policies and practice may not, in themselves, result in a judgement of inadequate they may be a contributing factor.
It should already be obvious that e-safety is a child safety (not an ICT) issue, and should not be managed primarily by the ICT team. It should be an extension of general safeguarding and led by the same people, so that, for instance, cyber bullying is considered alongside real-world bullying.National guidance suggests that it is essential for schools to take a leading role in e-safety. Becta in its “Safeguarding Children in a Digital World” suggested:
“That schools support parents in understanding the issues and risks associated with children’s use of digital technologies. Furthermore, Becta recommends that all schools have acceptable use policies, and ensure that parents are aware of the procedures for e-safety within the school. Recognising the growing trend for home-school links and extended school activities, Becta recommends that schools take an active role in providing information and guidance for parents on promoting e-safety messages in home use of ICT, too.”
The Byron Review “Safer Children in a Digital World” stressed the role of schools:
“One of the strongest messages I have received during my Review was about the role that schools and other services for children and families have to play in equipping children and their parents to stay safe online.To empower children and raise the skills of parents, I make recommendations to Government in the following areas: delivering e-safety through the curriculum, providing teachers and the wider children’s workforce with the skills and knowledge they need, reaching children and families through Extended Schools and taking steps to ensure that Ofsted holds the system to account on the quality of delivery in this area.”
What might an inspection of e-safety issues look like?
In the development stage of the new evaluation schedule OFSTED conducted a number of trial inspections. These were typically treated as subject inspections and included for example:
15 minute interview with the headteacher;
1 hour interview with e-safety coordinator & network manager (together);
Tour of the school with students. Students asked to log onto the system to check what they can/cannot access on the web, and look at content of their areas;
Interview with several groups of students including a student who enrolled at the school outside of normal start dates;
Interview with a cross-section of staff;
Speaking to several different students over lunch;
Review of documentation including e-safety policy, linked policies, action plan, AUPs (Acceptable Use Policies), information to parents, governors’ reports, evidence of curriculum related activities, SEF, evidence of e-safety incident management process and linkages with pastoral procedures, evidence of staff training (e.g. presentations and information in ICT handbook).
Typically these trial inspections were more to do with policies and training (specifically focussed on students) and less about the technical infrastructure.
What policies, documentation and evidence of practice are required?
Safeguarding policy - which should contain reference to the e-safety policy, cyber bullying policy, AUPs for pupils and staff, web filtering, the data protection policy and e-safety curriculum etc;
Staff handbook - which should contain either full copies or summaries of the above policies, appropriate guidance on staff use of personal ICT equipment in school or for school purposes outside school and a summary of the relevant legislation.
Policies in detail
Schools should ensure that the following policies are in place, have been recently updated, approved by governors and shared with staff.E-Safety policy - this is the overarching policy and should include:
Roles and responsibilities of governors, headteacher and senior management, e-safety coordinator/officer, network manager and technical support staff, teaching and support staff, Child Protection Officer, e-Safety Committee, students/pupils, parents/carers, community users;
Key policy statements including:
Education – students/pupils, parents/carers, extended schools
Education & training – staff
Training – governors
Technical – infrastructure/equipment, filtering, monitoring;
Use of digital and video images – photographic, video;
Responding to incidents of misuse.
Policy templates for the above may be downloaded from:http://www.swgfl.org.uk/Staying-Safe/Content/News-Articles/Creating-an-e-safety-policy--Where-do-you-start-
The SWGfL resources also include useful checklists regarding use of communications tools, unsuitable/inappropriate activities and responding to incidents of misuse;http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kcn/e-safety_home.cfm
This site contains the latest versions of the Kent templates that are widely used both in Portsmouth and in other LAs.
Other key documents include:
Staff (and Volunteer) Acceptable Use Policy;
Parent/carer Acceptable Use Policy – a summary document to be signed by parents and accompanied by the student/pupil AUP;
Parent/carer agreement for use of digital and video images;
school filtering policy.
School password security policy;
School personal data handling policy;
A summary of relevant legislation:
Computer Misuse Act 1990
Data Protection Act 1998
Freedom of Information Act 2000
Communications Act 2003
Malicious Communications Act 1988
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
Trade marks Act 1994
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
Telecommunications Act 1994
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Protection of Children Act 1978
Sexual Offences Act 2003
Public Order Act 1986
Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964
Human Rights Act 1998
The Education and Inspections Act 2006.
The SWGfL template noted earlier contains appropriate summaries of the above and is available as a Word file.
Learning and Teaching
Schools should ensure that appropriate learning and teaching of e-safety and data security issues is in place through a carefully planned curriculum. This will include activities within PSHE and Citizenship as well as in discrete ICT lessons. Whenever ICT based activities of any description are undertaken, regardless of subject, reference should be made to e-safety issues as appropriate.As a minimum, schools should ensure that:
The ICT scheme of work includes units covering e-safety, data security, copyright and digital rights management;
Basic rules for safe use are posted beside each workstation and pupils referred to these on a regular basis;
The PSHE and Citizenship scheme of work includes units on cyber bullying and improper use of ICTs.
Resources to support the above can be found at:
http://www.teach-ict.com/ks3/year7/esafety/e_safety.htm (Suitable for Y7)http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ (Materials suitable for all age groups available). http://kenttrustweb.org.uk/CS/community/esafety/archive/2006/10/10/2149.aspx (Lesson plans and resources for KS2 and KS3).