Sample questions for schools leaders

Ofsted's Inspecting e-safety briefing gives examples of the sort of questions that school leaders might get asked during an inspection with regards to their school e-safety practice.

1. How do you ensure that all staff receive appropriate online safety training that is relevant and regularly up to date?

Why this question?
The Ofsted report The safe use of new technologies (February 2010) concluded that staff training is a weak area of online safety provision. The South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) report Online Safety Policy and Practice 7 concluded, based on feedback from 1500 UK schools via 360 degree safe, that staff training is consistently the weakest area of schools provision.

What are they looking for?

  • At least annual training (in-service or online) for all staff

  • Training content changes each session to reflect advances in technology

  • Recognised group or committee or individual with esafety responsibility

What is good or outstanding practice?

  • E-safety certified professional(s) (CEOP, EPICT etc)

2. What mechanisms does the school have in place to support pupils and staff facing online safety issues?

Why this question?
SWGfL concluded in their sexting survey (November 2009) of 1,100 11-16 year olds, that 74% would prefer to report issues to their friends rather than a ‘trusted adult’. The Department or Education (DfE) report The use and effectiveness of antibullying strategies (April 2011) refers to multiple reporting routes, consistent whole school approach, good auditing
processes and regular self-evaluation.

What are they looking for?

  • Robust reporting channels

What is good or outstanding practice?

  • Online reporting mechanism (for example SHARP)

3. How does the school educate and support parents and whole school community with online safety?

Why this question?
Marc Prensky (2001) coined the expression, ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’, describing the ‘generational digital divide’ (Byron 2008) that exists between children and their parents. Only 33% of European parents had filtering software on their computers.

What are they looking for?

  • Parents e-safety sessions

  • Raising awareness through school website or newsletters

What is good or outstanding practice?

  • Workshops for parents

  • Children teaching parents (for example at sessions or in homework)

4. Does the school have e-safety policies and acceptable use policies in place? How does the school know that they are clear and understood and respected by all?

Why this question?
The SWGfL report Online safety policy and practice concluded that most schools consistently report having such policies in place, however very few have policies that are produced collaboratively, are linked to other policies, and are reviewed frequently.

What are they looking for?

  • E-safety policy is regularly reviewed

  • Evidence that these are freely available (poster, handbooks, etc)

  • Children can recall rules

What is good or outstanding practice?

  • Children integral to policy production

5. Describe how your school educates children and young people to build knowledge, skills and capability when it comes to online safety? How do you assess its effectiveness?

Why this question?
A key recommendation in the Byron review (2008) was building the resilience of children to online issues through progressive and appropriate education.

What are they looking for?

  • School assemblies

  • Programmes delivered across all age groups

What is good or outstanding practice?

  • Peer mentoring

From Ofsted Inspecting E-Safety briefing for section 5 inspection

Written by E-safety Support on April 07, 2013 15:39


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