Leading from the front

The governing body is fundamental in driving a continued, proactive approach to online safety


Social Media TreeIn a world where technology seems to be evolving at an ever increasing pace, the role of the school governor has never been more important.

Whilst it’s difficult to imagine a time before social media existed, let alone the Internet, it’s incredible to think that it was actually only four and half years ago that Ofsted first incorporated the briefing for the inspection of e-safety into its section 5 criteria. Since then, things have changed dramatically, with regular revisions being applied to reflect changing ways in which technology is being both used and manipulated within our society.

Indeed, September 2016 saw some new additions, with Ofsted updating and republishing their guidance on ‘Inspecting Safeguarding in early years, education and skills’ to correspond with the changes to the latest version of the DfE’s Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance on safeguarding. Amongst the updates included the clarification that designated members of staff for safeguarding need to have training every two years and their knowledge and skills should be refreshed at least annually.

One of the responsibilities of the governing body is to approve and promote the schools online safety policy and review its effectiveness, yet an Ofsted survey held as recently as 2015 revealed that 5% of schools still didn’t have an online safety policy and for those that did, only 74% of students were aware of it.

Whilst all schools should have a clearly defined online safety policy, a typed piece of paper will do little by itself, other than to serve as another box ticked. The key to the success of any initiative is how it is both managed and delivered. In the 2008 government report ‘Safer Children in an Online World’, it was found that schools who were ranked outstanding largely took a shared responsibility for the delivery of the policy, leaving it not just to the safeguarding staff, but including members of the wider workforce. The section 5 Ofsted assessment places great importance on the extent to which leaders, governors and managers create a positive culture and ethos where safeguarding is an important part of everyday life in the school setting, and this should be backed up by training at every level.

E-safety training is recommended for all governors, and best practice concedes that every school should have a nominated e-safety governor that remains separate from the ICT link governor as e-safety is recognised as a safeguarding, rather than an IT issue. The role of the e-safety governor involves overseeing 5 key areas:

  1. Managing, reviewing, promoting and evaluating the adherence to the online safety policy and strategy
  2. Ensuring the right mechanisms are in place to support pupils, staff and parents facing online safety issues, including the designation of a safeguarding lead who is trained to support staff and liaise with other agencies
  3. Making certain that all staff receive appropriate online safety training that is relevant and that the training is refreshed annually
  4. Measuring the effectiveness of child online safety education in the school, with the aim of delivering education that builds knowledge, skills and confidence
  5. Educating parents and the whole school community about online safety

With Ofsted having recently placed a greater emphasis on inspecting the effectiveness of the governing body, it’s become even more important that the governors work cohesively with the DSL and the senior leadership team, particularly in the area of safeguarding. This will drive the momentum required to continuously and proactively deliver online safety education and e-safety best practice throughout the year, not just if and when a safeguarding issue arises or when it is felt an inspection might be on the horizon.

So, whilst the online threats might have changed with the progression of technology, the reasons how and why schools perform well in online safety hasn’t. Strong leadership remains pivotal in the delivery of a successful policy, whilst training is vital in keeping knowledge and skills up to date. At the same time, assemblies, parent workshops, tutorial time, PSHE lessons, and an age-appropriate curriculum for e-safety all help pupils to become safe and responsible users of new technologies.



A checklist for governors is available to all E-safety Support Free members and can be downloaded from the guidance section of the dashboard. Governors can also learn more about their digital safeguarding responsibilities with our bespoke online training for governors, available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members

Social Media Devices

Written by E-safety Support on May 11, 2017 11:13

The struggle to meet staff training needs

Schools continue to fail Ofsted inspections due to inadequate training for staff


Ofsted ChecklistOfsted introduced specific e-safety inspection criteria in September 2012. However, 4 years later, some schools are still failing their Ofsted inspections due, in part, to the lack of e-safety and safeguarding training for staff.

What is Ofsted looking for?
In the latest Ofsted guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework, it advises inspectors to look for evidence which demonstrates:

“the quality of safeguarding practice, including evidence that staff are aware of the signs that children or learners may be at risk of harm either within the setting or in the family or wider community outside the setting”

In addition, signs of successful safeguarding include:

“There are clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training in respect of the protection and care of children and learners.”

More specifically, when inspecting how effectively leaders and governors create a safeguarding culture in the setting, criteria includes:

“Staff, leaders, governors and supervisory bodies (where appropriate) and volunteers receive appropriate training on safeguarding at induction, that is updated regularly.”

Recent Ofsted comments
In recent Ofsted reports for schools rated 'inadequate', a number had the lack of training for staff cited as a contributing factor, with comments from inspectors including:

"Many teachers are not sufficiently trained to recognise indicators of risk or prepare pupils to stay safe."
"...staff do not have the information and training that enable them to meet the varying needs of the pupils."
"The manager and some staff do not have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues in order to effectively support children's welfare"

It is no doubt disappointing that these same schools are receiving good (and outstanding) reports for the quality of their teaching practices. However, while the lack of staff training was only one of the reasons why these schools have been rated inadequate, it can't be overlooked.

Your opinion
We would love to know your thoughts on the Ofsted requirements for staff training, the pressure it puts on school resources and how this impacts on the school as a whole. Please use the comments section below.

Written by E-safety Support on December 08, 2016 10:49

E-safety Review of 2014

Governor Training 8In the final E-safety Support article of the year, we thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look back at some of the major news stories and events that have shaped the world of e-safety during 2014.

In January, the Christmas sales figures reported the huge increase in sales of tablet devises, changing the way many young people interact with the online environment. Unsurprisingly then, the biggest trend on display at the 2014 Bett show was that of implementing these devises into education.

February saw the 11th annual Safer Internet Day. Activities were held across the UK and reached millions. We are of course, looking forward to the event again in 2015. February also saw the fleeting internet craze, Nek-Nominate. This saw many young people taking sometimes fatal risks in order to go one better than their predecessors in this online phenomenon.

In March, a new NSPCC report found that 28% of children aged 11-16 with a profile on a social networking site have experienced something upsetting on it in the last year. In other news, teachers too were once again recognised by unions as needing ‘rules’ for social media usage. However, the positive side of social media was also recognised when the ‘no make-up selfie’ campaign raised millions for charity.

At the beginning of April, Ofsted released their latest inspecting e-safety briefing document containing suggestions for good and outstanding practice in this area. This report was to be later removed from the public domain, although the requirement for a robust e-safety provision in schools was still very much on the Ofsted agenda.

May saw the emergence of ‘Creepshots’, websites that operate like social networking media sites where members are encouraged to post photos that have been taken possibly without consent or knowledge of the person in them. May was also the month when the European Union set a major precedent over what is now referred to as the "right to be forgotten".

Slenderman made an appearance in June, the disturbing Internet creation that is being blamed for a series of near fatal stabbings. In other news in June, Facebook announced plans for a platform for children under 13 to have social networking profile. A report from AGV found that almost 80% of parents blame the Internet for forcing the 'Facts of Life' conversation. It was also suggested that contrary to popular opinion, children's unorthodox spelling and grammar while texting does not stop them learning the rules of formal English.

July saw the launch of Friendly WiFi. Friendly WiFi is the world’s first accreditation scheme designed to verify whether a business’ public Wi-Fi service meets a minimum level of filtering to block out access to pornographic and child abuse websites. This brand new service aims to protect young people when they access the Internet using Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, restaurants etc.

In August, a study by Oxford University saw the positive side of gaming, suggesting that playing video games for a short period each day could have a small but positive impact on child development. Also in August, Ofcom announced figures which suggested that six-year-olds understand digital technology better than adults.

In September, The Telegraph reported that parents feel more confident talking to their children about notoriously tricky topics like the birds and the bees, puberty and race than they do about how to use the internet safely – and some plan to avoid it, despite admitting its importance. In related news, parents were encouraged to pay more attention to the apps their children download after new research found that nearly a third do not monitor the downloads their children make to their smartphones.

News in October reported that teenagers sending each other sexually explicit messages and images – known as sexting – is increasingly becoming a “normal” part of growing up. However, they were also warned about the risks and potential legal issues surrounding sexting. It was also in October when the leak of images from the popular app Snapchat (which became known as the ‘Snappening’) put the privacy of many young people at risk.

As we reached November, many schools and organisations geared up for Anti-Bullying Week. With more and more children owning mobile devices and spending longer online and on social media, cyber bullying is becoming one of the most common forms of bullying. The annual event organised by the Anti Bullying Alliance saw many activities across the UK.

And finally, in December, the Prime Minister spoke at the #We Protect Children Online summit to commit to tackling online safety. David Cameron revealed details of 3 main strategies to tackle online child exploitation; blocking internet search terms, identifying illegal images and Global child protection and laws.

Looking back, it’s been an eventful year, with the world of e-safety evolving and online trends coming and going in a flash. We expect 2015 to be no different, so will be continuing to support you and your school with up-to-date news and information about the e-safety issues that affect you.

Written by E-safety Support on December 18, 2014 13:57


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