Extremism Policy for Schools

Extremism PreventThe Internet brings marvellous opportunities to children and young people with the ability to learn new skills and visit websites which engage and enrich their lives. However, the Internet also brings dangers such as online predators, who will try and contact children through websites and software apps.

More recently, there has been an increase in groups and individuals trying to approach young people to recruit them for political or religious ideas. This is known as online radicalisation and can be described as;

“The actions of an individual or group who use the Internet and digital technology to groom a young person into following their extremist ideas.”

There have been cases in the news over the past year of groups like Islamic State (ISIS) using the Internet and social media to recruit young people to fight in the conflict in Syria. In addition, there are examples of right wing groups such as Britain First and the English Defence League using Facebook and Twitter to engage with internet users.

On 1st July 2015, the Department for Education released their ‘Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers’ in the PREVENT Duty. This guidance was issued to help childcare providers understand the implications of the PREVENT Duty and to help schools identify how they can protect young people from risk.

In short, all schools have a duty under the Counter Terrorism And Security Act to keep children safe from harm, especially from the risks of radicalisation and extremism.

It will come as no surprise that schools many have been left wondering where they will find the resources (both in terms of time and money) required to implement these additional requirements. The demand for information comes as no surprise to the team here at www.e-safetysupport.com. On the day we released our anti-radicalisation checklist for schools, we saw an incredible demand for the information - our website traffic was 600% greater than average, and over 10% of our members visited the site within 6 hours of the information being released.

Due to this unprecedented demand, we have developed a school extremism and anti-radicalisation policy. The model policy can be used as a template and adapted as appropriate for your specific school needs.

This policy is available exclusively to E-safety Support Premium Plus Members.


Anti-Radicalisation Checklist

Extremisn ChecklistDon't forget to login and download your anti-radicalisation checklist for schools.

This checklist will help identify the key elements your school should have in place. It is available to all E-safety Support members.

To download the checklist, log into your E-safety Support account and go the 'Guidance' section of your dashboard.



More extremism and anti-radicalisation resources will be added soon - find out more.

Written by E-safety Support on December 10, 2015 12:45

Interpreting the Ofsted Requirements for E-safety - Part 3

Students on ComputersThis is the third in our series analysing the requirements of the Ofsted’s e-safety framework that was first issued to their inspection staff in September 2012.

In previous articles, we looked at three sections of the framework policy document: 'Whole school consistent approach', ‘Robust and Integrated Reporting Routines’ and ‘Staff’. In this blog we are going to focus on two more areas, those being 'Policies’ and ‘Education’.

Policies

In the section of the Ofsted e-safety framework entitled ‘Policies’, it describes the types and content of e-safety policies that a school should have in place. In order to demonstrate good or outstanding practice, these school policies must meet a number of criteria:

  • The e-safety policies and procedures that are in place should be rigorous and clearly written in plain, understandable English. (A template that schools can use to formulate their own specific e-safety policy is available from the E-safety Support. website.)

  • It should be evident that contributions from students/staff and parents have been made to the content and construction of these policies by the whole school.

  • - A good idea is to engage students in classroom activities focusing on what they believe would be important in policies regarding subjects that directly impact them such as e-safety, school filtering and ‘Acceptable Use Policies’. (These lessons should be recorded in some way so that the evidence can be shown to Ofsted during an inspection).
    - Parents and carers should be invited to attend meetings and asked for their input into designing school policies (These events should also be recorded for evidencing).

  • Policies should be specific with regard to individual responsibilities and behaviour, technology usage etc. They should not be just generic documents.

  • - A useful suggestion is to categorise a checklist of the policies your school should have into “data protection’, ‘e-safety’ and ‘acceptable use policies’. Then, subdivide the policies in each of these categories into ‘statutory’, ‘essential’ and ‘recommended’.
    - Examples of policies and their categories are as follows:
    Data Protection policy (Data Protection, Statutory)
    Freedom of Information policy (Data Protection, Statutory)
    Data Exchange Agreement (Data Protection, Essential)
    Data Privacy policy (Data Protection, Essential)
    E-Safety policy (E-safety, Essential)
    Use of students in images policy (E-safety, Essential)
    Policy on the searching of electronic devices and deletion of content (E-safety, Recommended)
    Password Security policy (E-safety, Recommended)
    School Filtering policy (E-safety, Recommended)
    Acceptable Use Policies for students, staff/volunteers, parents, technicians (AUPs, Essential)
    Acceptable Use Policies for occasional visitors, personal devices and ‘Bring Your Own Device, (BYOD)’ (AUPs, Recommended)
    Acceptable use of ‘Twitter’ (AUPs, Recommended)
    - It is suggested that when the policies are revisited, updated and ratified, it should be carried out in a formal manner and the process recorded in some manner in order that the record can be shown to a visiting Ofsted inspector.

  • The e-safety policies should have full integration with other relevant school policies such as those concerning safe-guarding, anti-bullying or behaviour.

  • A particular important aspect in this area is the incorporation into the overall e-safety policy of an ‘Acceptable Usage Policy’ that every pupil and/or parents respect and have signed. This also applies to all school staff as well.

  • - In the case of students, they should be asked to sign the school AUP at the start of their time with the school. It would be helpful if parents countersign the document also.
    - In the case of staff, this should be done as part of the school’s induction procedure for new staff. (There are a number of ‘Acceptable Usage Policy’ documents available to E-safety Support members - further information can be found here.)

    Education

    In this section of the framework, Ofsted focuses on a schools curriculum and, with regard to good or outstanding practice, is looking for certain aspects to be demonstrated:

  • The schools curriculum should demonstrate progressiveness and flexibility with regard to the promotion of e-safety across the whole school.

  • - Evidence of this could include a programme of key-stage specific e-safety lessons and assemblies that occur regularly throughout the school year. The E-safety Support website offers a number of informative lesson plans and assembly plans, for this purpose.

  • The curriculum is relevant and engages students by teaching them the importance of e-safety and how to stay safe when using technology.

  • - Lesson resources focusing on e-safety should be age-related and revisited regularly and up-dated if necessary as technology advances or new technology-orientated issues arise.
    - Another suggestion is to engage students (maybe those involved in school councils etc.) in drawing up a school e-safety charter.

  • The curriculum should have content embedded that teaches students how to protect themselves from harm with regard to issues such as cyber bullying or contact with individuals who are behaving inappropriately.

  • - A suggestion is to use ‘what if’ case studies in lessons to teach students what the appropriate actions to take should they find themselves in circumstances that they are uncomfortable with.

  • Content within the curriculum should inform students of the importance of taking responsibility for the safety of both themselves and others.

  • - This issue can be incorporated in lessons and associated resources focusing on the development of knowledge and skills associated digital literacy and responsible use of the internet.

  • With regard to e-safety, the curriculum should demonstrate the use of positive sanctions to reward responsible use of technology and online behaviour.

  • - A suggestion is to reward good online behaviour with an invitation to be involved in online communities who promote appropriate online behaviour such as the ‘Scratch’ community. (This would require a parent or carer’s formal permission).

  • The curriculum should demonstrate clear evidence of peer-mentoring programmes.


  • We hope that you find these suggestions helpful. Please feel free to comment on the blog or if you have some other great ideas for embracing or engaging with the Ofsted e-safety framework within school please feel free to contribute below.

    Written by Steve Gresty on March 13, 2014 08:56

    E-safety Dynamic and Proactive Policies, Practices and Procedures through Dedicated Time for Lead Teachers

    E-safety, as an aspect of the school curriculum, is a dynamic entity and an essential component in safeguarding.

    Consequently, e-safety policies and practices can be viewed as having two strands. First of all, known risks in relation to privacy, contact with strangers and accessing inappropriate material (such as violence, pornography and hate sites, for example) remain a constant. In one respect, the key messages that need to be communicated to children are static and unchanging. For instance, not divulging personal details and contact information via social media and networking websites and the steps children can take when confronted with online material and communications that make them feel uncomfortable.

    However, the rate of technological developments and digital applications demands e-safety policies and practices need to evolve and progress as and when new issues and concerns surface. It is this balance between static, or core e-safety education (which can be covered as a series of planned assemblies, an appropriate scheme of work and day-to-day highlighting of issues), and an appropriate reactive and proactive response, the non-static nature of e-safety, that poses the significant challenge for schools.

    Let us take a relatively recent example. Sending photographs via text message, email and sharing online through social networking websites has been with us for a while now. It is reasonable to suggest that the potential for images to be copied, altered, forwarded and put into the public domain (whether for positive purposes or driven by more malicious intentions) is known and understood. With the advent of Snapchat, digital communications can be sent with the assurance they will effectively ‘self-destruct’ after several seconds and be deleted from devices and servers. Schools are then in the position of needing to rapidly respond to a form of digital communication and sharing of media that has the potential to undermine previous work with children on e-safety: if the evidence of cyber-bullying or inappropriate communications doesn’t exist, then all that is left is the impact on victims and the courage of others not to act as bystanders.

    So, where does the static and dynamic model of e-safety leave those who develop policies and practices in school? Clearly, there is a need for the lead on e-safety to have sufficient time to be able to respond to more established issues in this area as well as emerging issues or anticipated safeguarding problems by having a current knowledge and understanding of technological and digital developments.

    An e-safety policy should acknowledge that the lead has dedicated time to ensuring practices are proactive and not simply reactive. There is a need to protect time for the lead to regularly review and update Acceptable Use Policies for both staff and children as well as consider how parents and carers can be made aware of potential dangers and risks as technological and digital developments continue to progress at a rapid pace. Dissemination of information related to new risks and responsible use issues also requires the lead to invest time in continued professional development to ensure all colleagues have the knowledge and understanding to address e-safety.

    Of course, stating that e-safety policies and procedures are in place (from a dedicated lead with adequate time for the role through to parental engagement) is different from accounting for the impact of steps taken. Evidence of impact, both qualitative and quantitative, is necessary to evaluate the success of e-safety education within the school to inform future priorities and demonstrate to OFSTED that this area of safeguarding has a high profile and the policies, practices and procedures in place are embedded. Once again, this brings us back to the need for an e-safety lead with adequate time dedicated to this area of work in schools.

    So, how can this be taken forward in practice? A good starting point is to audit the current position using the questions below. Where an aspect is not in place or needs review and attention, then this should form the basis of action planning and projecting the time necessary to address these areas for development.

  • Is there a dedicated e-safety lead in place?

  • Does the school have an e-safety policy? Is it updated on a regular basis and in response to emerging issues?

  • Is there acceptable use document for children? What about a user agreement for staff?

  • Has there been staff training related to e-safety? Does this include all staff groups? For example, teachers, leadership and management as well as support staff.

  • Is there a proactive approach to getting e-safety messages across to children? For example, a planned series of assemblies, a scheme of work and so on.

  • Are parents and carers involved in the school’s e-safety work?
  • By establishing a baseline in relation to these areas, formulating a plan of action, schools can therefore progress towards stronger e-safety provision and develop clarity in the impact on the school, staff, pupils and parents and carers.



    If you would like to share your thoughts on the issues raised in this article, please let us know by using the comments section below

    Written by Jazz Williams on November 27, 2013 11:03


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