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’.


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.)


    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 14:57


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