Online safety policy
Rigorous online safety policies and procedures are essential to safeguarding children online.
We have a range of support to help you develop and evaluate your online safety policies, whether you are a school, youth club, library, pre-school or nursery, or any other organisation working with young people.
Policies should demonstrate good and safe internet practice for staff and pupils, and should link to existing policies around behaviour, anti-bullying and safeguarding. Acceptable Use Policies should establish expected behaviour and be understood by young people, parents and staff. Policies should be reviewed regularly and informed by young people, parents and staff.
Childnet's 2016 Cyberbullying Guidance, funded by the Government Equalities Office and European Union, shows schools how to embed cyberbullying in their anti-bullying work.
Ofsted's most recent Inspecting e-safety guide (published April 2014 and withdrawn July 2014) outlines what outstanding practice looks like in relation to e-safety policies and provision. This does not signify a change of position for Ofsted, indeed the inspection of online safety is included within Ofsted’s Safeguarding documentation.
The Department for Education's revisions to the statutory guidance on Keeping children safe in education came into effect on the 5 September 2016. This outlines the responsibilities that schools and colleges have in safeguarding children, including a requirement to ensure appropriate levels of filtering and monitoring are in place. We have a guide to help schools establish what 'appropriate levels' are and how to meet them.
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety published Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people in 2016 to support schools in developing safeguarding procedures to respond to incidents involving youth produced sexual imagery.
Reviewing your policies and online safety provision
The South West Grid for Learning, one of three charity partners in the UKSIC, has produced a number of resources which allow organisations to review their policies and e-safety provision.
Policies for schools
The templates provide guidance, an indication of what should be included and a flexible approach allowing each school or organisation to challenge, consider and debate.
360 degree safe (www.360safe.org.uk) – a free, award-winning, self-review online tool specifically for schools. Contains resource links and a number of template policies you can use as you go through the review process. Over 11,000 schools across the UK have registered to use the tool.
Policies for organisations other than schools
Online Compass (www.onlinecompass.org.uk) – a free, self-review online tool for settings working with children and young people that are not schools – youth and children’s centres, art groups, sports and youth clubs, libraries, and so on.
If you don’t want to register to use Online Compass, you can access the offline version (http://www.swgfl.org.uk/Staying-Safe/Online-Safety-Planner) with resources, online safety policies and links.
Early Years toolkit
SWGfL has also produced a toolkit for Early Years professionals – it was launched in 2012 as a brand new resource to help early years settings, playgroups, nurseries and Children’s centres meet safeguarding requirements around new technologies and ensuring good esafety practices. The toolkit contains advice, guidance and templates for esafety policies and can be ordered at www.swgfl.org.uk/Earlyyearstoolkit