As the summer holidays draw to close and teachers batteries have been recharged, it is time to think about the new school year. In planning the delivery of any academic subject, it is always important to look at a strategy. However many schools do not really have a plan for online safety and often it will be reactive to situations about the use of apps or other concerns. Here are five simple tips to help develop an online safety strategy:
Is your online safety policy a working document? A good policy is something that should be visible throughout the school. From children knowing how to keep safe from lessons in the curriculum, to staff understanding what constitutes an online safety incident.
As technology changes, so do the issues around keeping children safe using the internet. It is important that staff know about the types of behaviour they should look out for in children and young people. This could be through regular briefings in staff meetings to termly newsletters produced by the online safety group.
Engaging with parents can still be a frustrating exercise. With children spending more time online and having access to different devices, it is important that parents know about how they can support them. Look at doing a little often rather than putting all your resources into one single event.
Look at different ways you can deliver a positive online safety curriculum. This can go beyond the classroom, as the most successful work can be through peer education, assemblies and working with other agencies. In addition, it is important to plan for the introduction of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in 2020 which will cover many online safety issues.
Who is responsible for online safety in your school? It is important that there is a team approach, so you can be proactive. You may want to look at setting up an online safety group which includes the safeguarding lead, IT technician, PSHE lead and Computing coordinator to look at ways to develop the whole school approach.