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Updated on: Fri Jan 27, 2023

Our school aims to: 

  • Have robust processes in place to ensure the online safety of pupils, staff and volunteers. 
  • Deliver an effective approach to online safety, which empowers us to protect and educate the whole school community in its use of technology
  • Establish clear mechanisms to identify, intervene and escalate an incident, where appropriate

2. Legislation and guidance

This policy is based on the Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and its advice for schools on:

Teaching online safety in schools

Preventing and tackling bullying and cyber-bullying: advice for headteachers and school staff

Searching, screening and confiscation

It reflects existing legislation, including but not limited to the Education Act 1996 (as amended), the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and the Equality Act 2010. In addition, it reflects the Education Act 2011, which has given teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying by, if necessary, searching for and deleting inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices where they believe there is a ‘good reason’ to do so.

3. Roles and responsibilities 

3.1 The headteacher

The headteacher is responsible for ensuring that staff understand this policy, and that it is being implemented consistently throughout the school.

3.2 The IT Manager/ IT designated safeguarding lead

 Takes lead responsibility for online safety in school, in particular:

  • Supporting the headteacher in ensuring that staff understand this policy and that it is being implemented consistently throughout the school
  • Working with the headteacher and other staff, as necessary, to address any online safety issues or incidents
  • Ensuring that any online safety incidents are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyber-bullying are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with the school behaviour policy
  • Updating and delivering staff training on online safety 
  • Liaising with other agencies and/or external services if necessary
  • Providing regular reports on online safety in school to the headteacher and/or governing board
  • Putting in place appropriate filtering and monitoring systems, which are updated on a regular basis and keep pupils safe from potentially harmful and inappropriate content and contact online while at school, including terrorist and extremist material
  • Ensuring that the school’s IT systems are secure and protected against viruses and malware, and that such safety mechanisms are updated regularly
  • Conducting a full security check and monitoring the school’s IT systems on a regular  basis
  • Blocking access to potentially dangerous sites and, where possible, preventing the downloading of potentially dangerous files
  • Ensuring that any online safety incidents are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyber-bullying are dealt with appropriately in line with the school behaviour policy

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

3.3 All staff and volunteers

All staff, including contractors and agency staff, and volunteers are responsible for: 

  • Maintaining an understanding of this policy
  • Implementing this policy consistently
  • Agreeing and adhering to the terms on acceptable use of the school’s IT systems and the internet  and ensuring that pupils follow the school’s terms on acceptable use.
  • Working with the IT/DSL to ensure that any online safety incidents are logged  and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyber-bullying are dealt with appropriately in line with the school behaviour policy

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

3.4 Parents

Parents are expected to: 

Notify a member of staff or the headteacher of any concerns or queries regarding this policy

Ensure their child has read, understood and agreed to the terms on acceptable use of the school’s IT systems and internet.

Parents can seek further guidance on keeping children safe online from the following organisations and websites:

What are the issues? - UK Safer Internet Centre

Hot topics - Childnet International

Parent factsheet - Childnet International

3.7 Visitors and members of the community

Visitors and members of the community who use the school’s IT systems or internet will be made aware of this policy, when relevant, and expected to read and follow it. If appropriate, they will be expected to agree to the terms on acceptable use.

4. Educating pupils about online safety

Pupils will be taught about online safety as part of the curriculum:

The text below is taken from the National Curriculum computing programmes of study

Academies that don’t follow the National Curriculum should adapt this section to include details of how online safety forms part of their own curriculum.

From September 2020 all schools will have to teach: 

Relationships education and health education in primary schools

Relationships and sex education and health education in secondary schools

Primary schools insert:

In Key Stage 1, pupils will be taught to:

Use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private

Identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies

Pupils in Key Stage 2 will be taught to:

Use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly

Recognise acceptable and unacceptable behaviour

Identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact

By the end of primary school, pupils will know:

That people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not.

That the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-to-face relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous

The rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them

How to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met

How information and data is shared and used online

How to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not know

Secondary schools insert:

In Key Stage 3, pupils will be taught to:

Understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy

Recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns

Pupils in Key Stage 4 will be taught:

To understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity

How to report a range of concerns

By the end of secondary school, they will know:

Their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online

About online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online

Not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them

What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online

The impact of viewing harmful content

That specifically sexually explicit material (e.g. pornography) presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners

That sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail

How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online

How to identify harmful behaviours online (including bullying, abuse or harassment) and how to report, or find support, if they have been affected by those behaviours

The safe use of social media and the internet will also be covered in other subjects where relevant. 

The school will use assemblies to raise pupils’ awareness of the dangers that can be encountered online and may also invite speakers to talk to pupils about this.

5. Educating parents about online safety

The school will raise parents’ awareness of internet safety in letters or other communications home, and in information via FireFly. This policy will also be shared with parents.

Online safety will also be covered during parents’ evenings.

If parents have any queries or concerns in relation to online safety, these should be raised in the first instance with the headteacher and/or the IT-DSL.

Concerns or queries about this policy can be raised with any member of staff or the headteacher.

6. Cyber-bullying

6.1 Definition

Cyber-bullying takes place online, such as through social networking sites, messaging apps or gaming sites. Like other forms of bullying, it is the repetitive, intentional harming of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. (See also the school behaviour policy.)

6.2 Preventing and addressing cyber-bullying

To help prevent cyber-bullying, we will ensure that pupils understand what it is and what to do if they become aware of it happening to them or others. We will ensure that pupils know how they can report any incidents and are encouraged to do so, including where they are a witness rather than the victim.

The school will actively discuss cyber-bullying with pupils, explaining the reasons why it occurs, the forms it may take and what the consequences can be. Class teachers/form teachers will discuss cyber-bullying with their tutor groups, and the issue will be addressed in assemblies.

Teaching staff are also encouraged to find opportunities to use aspects of the curriculum to cover cyber-bullying. This includes personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, and other subjects where appropriate.

The school also sends information on cyber-bullying to parents so that they are aware of the signs, how to report it and how they can support children who may be affected.

In relation to a specific incident of cyber-bullying, the school will follow the processes set out in the school behaviour policy. Where illegal, inappropriate or harmful material has been spread among pupils, the school will use all reasonable endeavours to ensure the incident is contained.

The DSL will consider whether the incident should be reported to the police if it involves illegal material, and will work with external services if it is deemed necessary to do so.

6.3 Examining electronic devices

School staff have the specific power under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (which has been increased by the Education Act 2011) to search for and, if necessary, delete inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices, including mobile phones, iPads and other tablet devices, where they believe there is a ‘good reason’ to do so.

When deciding whether there is a good reason to examine or erase data or files on an electronic device, staff must reasonably suspect that the data or file in question has been, or could be, used to: 

Cause harm, and/or

Disrupt teaching, and/or

Break any of the school rules

If inappropriate material is found on the device, it is up to the staff member in conjunction with the DSL or other member of the senior leadership team to decide whether they should: 

Delete that material, or

Retain it as evidence (of a criminal offence or a breach of school discipline), and/or

Report it to the police

Any searching of pupils will be carried out in line with the DfE’s latest guidance on screening, searching and confiscation.

Any complaints about searching for or deleting inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices will be dealt with through the school complaints procedure.

7. Acceptable use of the internet in school

All pupils, parents, staff, volunteers and governors are expected to sign an agreement regarding the acceptable use of the school’s IT systems and the internet. Visitors will be expected to read and agree to the school’s terms on acceptable use if relevant.

Use of the school’s internet must be for educational purposes only, or for the purpose of fulfilling the duties of an individual’s role. 

We will monitor the websites visited by pupils, staff, volunteers, governors and visitors (where relevant) to ensure they comply with the above..

8. Pupils using mobile devices in school

Pupils may bring mobile devices into school,  in terms of iPads for Key Stage 3 and 4, but are not permitted to use them during:

  • Break or lunchtime
  • Clubs before or after school, or any other activities organised by the school

Any use of mobile devices in school by pupils must be in line with the acceptable use agreement

Any breach of the acceptable use agreement by a pupil may trigger disciplinary action in line with the school behaviour policy, which may result in the confiscation of their device.

9. Staff using work devices outside school

Staff members using a work device outside school must not install any unauthorised software on the device and must not use the device in any way which would violate the school’s terms of acceptable use. 

Staff must ensure that their work device is secure and password-protected, and that they do not share their password with others. They must take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of their work device when using it outside school. Any USB devices containing data relating to the school must be encrypted.

If staff have any concerns over the security of their device, they must seek advice from the IT manager.

Work devices must be used solely for work activities.

10. How the school will respond to issues of misuse

Where a pupil misuses the school’s IT systems or internet, we will follow the procedures set out in our policies on [behaviour and IT and internet acceptable use – adapt according to what policies you have]. The action taken will depend on the individual circumstances, nature and seriousness of the specific incident, and will be proportionate.

Where a staff member misuses the school’s IT systems or the internet, or misuses a personal device where the action constitutes misconduct, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the [staff code of conduct]. The action taken will depend on the individual circumstances, nature and seriousness of the specific incident.

The school will consider whether incidents which involve illegal activity or content, or otherwise serious incidents, should be reported to the police.

11. Training

All new staff members will receive training, as part of their induction, on safe internet use and online safeguarding issues including cyber-bullying and the risks of online radicalisation.

All staff members will receive refresher training at least once each academic year as part of safeguarding training, as well as relevant updates as required (for example through emails, e-bulletins and staff meetings).

Volunteers will receive appropriate training and updates, if applicable.

More information about safeguarding training is set out in our child protection and safeguarding policy.



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