Latest findings about schools online safety practice from the SWGfL

07 Dec 2015 UK SIC

Over half of schools have had no online safety staff training.  Schools make more effort training parents than staff.

Whilst schools are generally improving their online safety provision, there are still barriers to progress, particularly in areas that affect the most change such as empowering staff to deal with online issues and involving the wider school community. Over half of schools (54%) have no staff training to date around online safety. That’s the main conclusion from SWGfL’s annual assessment of UK school’s online safety performance, published today.  Indeed schools typically spend more time educating parents than they do their own staff.

This year’s assessment report, compiled by Professor Andy Phippen from Plymouth University, assesses data from 7,000 schools and their use of the multi award winning 360 degree safe, self-review tool. The report also makes further conclusions:

Whilst there has been significant improvement in leadership and management of online safety strategy in the last 12 months, there is a significant and growing gap in Governor involvement; 30% of schools have no governor involvement in that strategy and 50% of schools do not provide governor online safety training.

Mobile devices are becoming a more common feature of school technology and, where implemented, it seems that schools are addressing the safe use of these in their online safety strategies.

The report shows that in general schools have good connectivity and filtering with supporting acceptable usage agreements including policies around digital images and video. What it also shows is that training of staff and governors continues to cause school issues. 55% of governors and over 50% of staff have received no training around online safety. Schools also fail to involve the whole school community in online safety with 60% showing no engagement outside of the school.

Professor Andy Phippen from Plymouth University said:

In general the report shows that while schools are increasingly aware of online safety issues, reflected in their policy scope and development, they are less able to ensure effective training for both staff and governors, which does raise the questions around the effectiveness of schools to engage with the ever changing issues that arise in this field

Ken Corish, Online Safety Manager at SWGfL went on to comment:

The analysis on one hand shows overall improvement in online safety policy and practice but the still the same weakness highlighted in previous years continue to cause schools issues. Clearly this is cause for concern. The online safety issues continue typically with the rapid changes in technology use, are schools equipped to face these new challenges to ensure children are kept safe online.”

The full report can be found at

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