Online Safety questions for Governors to ask school leaders

We all know the importance of schools ensuring eSafety polices and their approach to online safety is robust. To help with the process consider asking your school leaders the following questions at your next Governing Body or Trust Board to make sure you’ve got good online safety policies and practices, and that you’re adopting a ‘whole school approach’ to online safety:

How do our school’s policies and practices incorporate principles of online safety?
  • Does our behaviour policy incorporate online behaviour?
  • Does our child protection policy have a clear process for reporting online incidents or concerns?
  • Does our anti-bullying policy make clear what’s acceptable online behaviour and include sanctions for unacceptable behaviour?
  • Are our pupils clear what’s expected of them both online and offline?
How are we getting parents and pupils involved in activities that promote online safety?
  • Are we working together with parents and pupils to understand their online experiences and concerns? How?
  • Could we implement a peer-to-peer programme so pupils can help each other stay safe online?
How are we keeping up with new and evolving online risks? School should review and communicate safety principles on a regular basis. How are we:

  • Integrating online safety into staff safeguarding training?
  • Reviewing our policies and practices so that new issues facing pupils are covered in a timely manner?
How are we reinforcing our online safety principles? Are we taking appropriate and consistent action every time a pupil:

  • Reports unacceptable online behaviour, including cyber-bullying?
  • Expresses concern about something they’ve seen online?
Do we consistently model our online safety principles? Schools should set expectations for pupil behaviour when they go online at school, whether they’re logged into school computers or their own devices. Do we:

  • Have a clear policy on the use of mobile technology within our school in addition to an ICT/acceptable use policy?
  • Partner with parents so they can extend the same standards of online behaviour at home? How do we do this?
How is online safety integrated into our curriculum? Schools can decide how to embed online safety into the curriculum. You may find the DfE’s guidance useful for monitoring your school’s curriculum – see pages 8 to 23 for a table that identifies some issues pupils may be facing and where these could be covered in the curriculum.

Ask school leaders:

  • How are we teaching pupils to evaluate what they see online and not assume everything they see is true or valid?
  • How are pupils learning to recognise persuasive techniques used to manipulate them?
  • How are pupils learning to identify online risks so they can make informed decisions on how to act?
  • Do pupils know how to seek support if they’re concerned or upset by something they’ve seen online?
How are we meeting the needs of vulnerable pupils? Some pupils are more vulnerable to online risks than others. This includes pupils with:

  • Family vulnerabilities, like looked after children and young carers
  • Communication difficulties, including pupils who speak English as an additional language or have speech or hearing difficulties
  • Physical disabilities, including visual difficulties or a long-term illness
  • Special educational needs
  • Mental health difficulties

Ask:

  • How are we making sure online safety training is accessible and relevant to more vulnerable pupils?
  • Are staff sufficiently trained to respond specifically to concerns reported by these vulnerable pupils?

Intervention should look beyond just the reported issue and consider the child’s:

  • Specific vulnerabilities
  • Support system
  • Wider online experience

This resource was compiled and shared by the brilliant team at Dogsthorpe Infants. https://www.dogsthorpeinfants.co.uk/

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