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

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Written by E-safety Support on May 12, 2017 08:33

At E-safety Support, we’ll help you tick all the right boxes

Sign Up To Download Your FREE Governor E-safety Checklist


Governor Checklist ThumbnailAs a school governor, you’ll understand your responsibility in making sure your children are able to make informed, responsible decisions about their Internet use and that your teachers have the right resources and training to provide this education.

At E-safety Support, we specialise in providing e-safety resources and training for all members of the school community; including teachers, governors, parents and children and give you everything you need to deliver consistent, outstanding e-safety practice that will help you exceed your inspection requirements.

We have been full members of your provision for a while now and it has helped our school implement a very robust e-safety culture within school.
ICT Manager - Secondary Academy



The free governor checklist can be used by school governors as a starting point for assessing the e-safety provision in your school.

To download the governor checklist, join our free membership, where you can also:

  • Access topical assembly plans for students
  • Support school staff with e-safety reports and guidance documents
  • Find support for engaging parents
  • You will also receive our weekly e-safety email bulletin, containing news, tips and advice on e-safety issues.

    Governor Checklist Button





    The governor checklist can be found in the 'guidance' section of your E-safety Support Dashboard (see below)



    ESS Guidance Dashboard

    The governor checklist is just one of the many resources available to our free members including assembly plans, guidance documents and more.

    Further resources including a suite of online training courses, policy templates and age-appropriate lesson plans are available with our Premium Plus membership service.

    I have just completed the Governor E-Safety training and found this very up to date and to the point of what Governors should know and be aware of. The course being certificated is an added bonus.
    Office Manager - Private School

    To find out more about E-safety Support Premium Plus membership, click here

    Written by E-safety Support on May 09, 2017 10:53

    E-safety Training for Governors

    Helping governors understand their digital safeguarding responsibilities

    Governor Training 2017
    Inspecting Safeguarding

    "In judging the effectiveness of leadership and management, inspectors must also judge whether the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils are effective, and whether those responsible for governance ensure that these arrangements are effective."

    - Ofsted School Inspection Handbook.



    The role which the school governor plays in not only developing, but also implementing an e-safety strategy is vital.

    The Department for Education have highlighted a number of key features of effective practice in relation to online safety in schools and Ofsted have placed greater emphasis on inspecting the effectiveness of the governing body in ensuring that schools meet all of these criteria. Governors also need to challenge and support their SLT if they are falling short.

    To help your school governors learn more about their e-safety responsibilities, they can complete this bespoke online training course, written by e-safety consultant, Tim Pinto who has a vast experience of working in education and digital safeguarding. He is also a member of the CEOP Education Advisory Board.

    Register before 31st March 2017 to receive the governor training FREE.

    The course covers:

  • Defining e-safety.
  • Issues facing schools around online safety.
  • UKCCIS guidance.
  • OFSTED inspections.
  • Digital resilience.
  • All school governors are welcome to register for the training before 31st March to receive it free. A link to the training will be send via email on 31st March 2017.

    After 31st March, the training will only be available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members.

    If you are already an E-safety Support Premium Plus member, you can distribute the training to your governors via your E-safety Support Dashboard.

    Written by E-safety Support on April 04, 2017 09:49


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