This 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:
- 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).
- 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)
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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.