How can SRE advise today's generation on continuing e-safety concerns?

Cyber Self HarmGNRN? PAW? Mean anything to you? These are acronyms or text language being used to facilitate the teen pastime of 'sexting'; it is currently estimated that at least 39% of teens are doing it. But it's not just all about the language; the sending of sexually suggestive pictures via phones, as we all know, is also a big problem in schools where photos become viral at the touch of a button. Before the sender knows it, the whole school can see them and teachers are left trying to ascertain who’s to blame and whether to involve outside agencies.

As educators, we are obliged to make intricacies of the law such as the possession and usage of images clear for our students. During my time teaching on workshops about this subject I frequently hold a class questionnaire on common scenarios; my observations are that on nearly all counts adolescents do not have a good handle on the law in this area. Knowing the law helps students make informed decisions and can make the difference in their behaviour; you can see ‘lightbulb’ moments when things are clarified and the realisation that something that can start of as ‘a bit of fun’ can actually be a prosecutable offence. A good example of this is when a male Year 10 student took some pictures for fun of another boy whilst getting changed for P.E, he then sent it to the rest of the class, he was completely aghast to know that his actions could be seen as distribution of indecent images of a person under 18.

Cyber bullying is still prevalent, being the medium of choice for many bullies who enjoy the power of being able to subject victims to nasty texts 24/7. I imagine for the victim it feels like a mixture of stalking and bullying, unable to escape the contact and not knowing in some cases who is doing it. It can be a challenge to reach the conscience of young people at times; they are still honing empathy skills and perhaps lack the maturity to see the consequences of their actions. This is where pre-planned lessons can really help; with these plans you can use real life stories as examples of the cause and effect of certain actions. Students can then relate to this, helping them see the ramifications of their behaviour.

Furthermore, sharp increases are being reported by CEOP in paedophiles’ targeting youngsters online to ‘groom’ them as a way of getting them to pass photos and take part in sexual talk through social networking sites. Sex offenders may be finding it easier to gain gratification this way, perhaps with less risk of being caught? Yet another sign of the times is that schools are having to shoulder the responsibility of warning students against such risks.

Complex issues require a head on approach; the E-safety Support assemblies and lesson plans provide an excellent opportunity to get the message across quickly and effectively to a large number of students. Many benefits are also seen in delivering to specific classes and year groups or targeted students identified as being vulnerable, acting as an early intervention strategy. The PowerPoints provided here really make this easy and problem free; the prescriptive nature of the assembly plan means that perhaps less experienced colleagues can gain confidence and feel comfortable giving information on this subject. It also makes the law surrounding this complex subject much clearer, which can only serve to act as a deterrent or at best a second thought before pressing send.

NB: text acronyms from above; GNRN = get naked right now and PAW = parents are watching

If you have any thoughts on this topic, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us using the form below.

Written by Vicki Dan on March 19, 2014 10:03

Interpreting the Ofsted Requirements for E-safety - Part 2

This is the second in a series of blog posts focusing on Ofsted’s e-safety framework, which was first briefed to it’s inspectors in September 2012 and has had a number of amendments since then, the latest of which was published in January 2014.

In the last post, we concentrated on the large first section of the framework document, entitled ‘Whole School Consistent Approach’. In this article, we will look at the sections focusing on ‘Robust and Integrated Reporting Routines’ and ‘Staff’.

Robust and Integrated Reporting Routines

This section of the Ofsted e-safety framework focuses on schools’ online reporting procedures, emphasising that the whole school community should have a full and clear understanding about the processes available to them for the reporting of e-safety issues.

This can be demonstrated by:

  • schools utilising ‘abuse’ or ‘CEOP buttons on their websites, email systems or learning platforms.
  • schools making available and broadcasting awareness of specifically trained, nominated staff, that students can contact regarding any e-safety issue.
  • a school’s adoption of a web-based reporting tool such as SHARP (Student Help Advice Reporting Page System). This is a web-based tool that an increasing number of schools are investing in which allows young people to report any incidents which occur within the school and local community anonymously and without fear.
  • Information on indicators that Ofsted will be looking out for that will identify good or outstanding practice can be found here.


    In this area of the framework Ofsted’s focus is targeted at the training teaching and non-teaching staff is receiving with regard to e-safety and whether this is regular and up-to-date. Also, whether at least one member of staff, within the school, has received accredited training, for example CEOP or EPICT.

    This can be demonstrated by:

  • Evidence that a Government-accredited training session has been delivered to at least one member of staff and that all stakeholders associated with the school, such as teachers, support staff, governors and parents/carers, including those in the local community where children attend (e.g. Libraries, Youth Centres, CLC, Youth Groups) have received regular training. This could be demonstrated by displaying certificates confirming the attendance at the session or documents held by management certifying that a session was indeed delivered. Ofsted will also question staff on e-safety to establish the effectiveness of the training sessions.

    There is an excellent online training module available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members covering all aspects of training for staff with regard to the Ofsted e-safety framework. Usage is unlimited and it comes complete with a distribution tool and also progress monitoring system. To find out more, view the e-safety training module demonstration video.

  • Evidence that children have a good awareness of e-safety, what they should do if they have an e-safety issue and can confidently mentor others in aspects of e-safety and the reporting of associated issues. Usually Ofsted will judge this via the questioning of individual and groups of students. There is a helpful document on the e-safetysupport website offering sample questions that Ofsted may ask students in order to judge the quality of e-safety teaching and a school’s e-safety promotion strategies.
  • Finally, there is another helpful document offering sample questions that Ofsted may ask staff in order to judge the effectiveness of e-safety training.
  • These are just some suggestions on how you may develop your e-safety provision. If you would like to share your thoughts on implementing e-safety policy and practice in your school, we would love to hear from you. Please use the comments form below.

    Further ideas on how to demonstrate key features of good and outstanding practice will be brought to you in future articles.

    Written by Steve Gresty on February 27, 2014 10:05

    Trend spotting at Bett

    Bett ShowDuring last week’s Bett Show, we took the opportunity to take a look at the education trends that were emerging from an e-safety perspective.

    Unsurprisingly, by far the biggest trend is that of using portable devices and Apps to support education and learning. There were over 500 online resources on show along with hundreds of devices including BYOD, tablets, touch-screens, webcams and a host of Apps too – the list goes on.

    With all this access to technology and the Internet, it’s easy to get swept along with the shiny new gadgets and flash Apps to help engage students in and out of the classroom – anything that supports this should of course be encouraged.

    But with all this change in the way we teach and learn it’s vital to remember that e-safety should come as part and parcel of any new technology we choose to use with students. That’s not necessarily to say that new devices should prohibit certain websites for example, but that we should be aware of any potential risks we place in front of students. Does a new App allow users to engage with each-other? If so, do we know who the other users are? Can the activity be monitored? And so on.

    We should always know the pros and cons and make students conscious of them too before integrating new technology into the classroom. That said, there were some great examples on show that combine new technology with good e-safety practice.

    If you have encountered good or bad examples of devices or Apps that you would like to share with fellow teachers, please let us know by using the comment form below.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on January 30, 2014 11:40

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