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Online safety (e-safety) in education

For children and young people there is no separation between their online and offline lives. It is vital that we consider safeguarding children in both realms as equally critical. Online safety is a key theme throughout Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016). Where safeguarding children is referenced it also encompasses a responsibility for online safety.

Our online safety toolkit for schools is currently being updated. During this process schools may find the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) 360 Degree Safe self-review useful. The tool is free to use and will support schools to review their online safety policy and practice. SWGfL also provide model template documents and guidance for parents.

Schools should have an online safety coordinator who has completed Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Thinkuknow training or similar and offer regular awareness training for parents, staff and pupils. Teaching about online safety is not a standalone subject and should be woven into the whole curriculum, across all subjects and for all ages. The Designated Safeguarding Lead retains ultimate responsibility for safeguarding which includes online safety, so if they do not hold the role of online safety coordinator they should both work in partnership to ensure safeguarding is effective in this realm.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) published 'Education for a Connected World' on Safer Internet Day 2018. The document outlines skills and competences that children and young people need to have at different ages and stages in order to be able to navigate the online world safely and responsibility. The framework is a useful guide for ensuring your online safety curriculum equips your pupils with the right digital literacy skills and online resilience at the right age.

Schools in England (and Wales) are required "to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school, including by establishing appropriate levels of filtering" (Revised Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales, 2015). Please see the Appropriate Filtering in Education Guide from the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Sexting (Youth Produced Sexual Imagery) - The UK Centre for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) have released updated guidance 'Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people'.

Files available to download