Make this the year you get online safety right for your school

27 Aug 2015 UK SIC

In this back to school article, Ken Corish from SWGfL, coordinators of UK Safer Internet Centre, outlines some of the tools, advice, guidance and resources available to help schools get e-safety right. 

As another new school year approaches and the beautiful summer rain clouds we all enjoyed seem but a distant memory, thoughts turn to new classes; new strategies; new challenges.

This September sees the implementation of the Ofsted inspection schedules that include clear and overt references to online safety as part of a school’s wider safeguarding strategy. With a clear focus on education: intervention; staff development and reporting, if ever there was time to get this working effectively for your school, it’s now.

That could seem quite a daunting prospect if this is an area that needs development for your school, especially if it’s your job to make it work. If you’re looking for help and support, don’t despair. This is a path well-trodden by us here at the UK Safer Internet Centre and we have some “quick wins” to get you on the road to an effective online safety strategy.

We have developed proven toolsets, advice, guidance and resources to not only affect successful change but to ensure it is sustainable and grows with your school as the landscape inevitably changes.

Here’s our top tips to get the ball rolling…

Have a plan

360 Degree Safe (  is our multi-award winning free online safety self-review tool for schools. Schools in Scotland can use the Scottish version of 360 – and for schools in Wales we have created a bi-lingual version available on Hwb. Not only does the tool ensure every base is covered, it forms the heart of your development plan with tracking, benchmarking, action planning and reporting.

Develop a policy set

We have developed a free policy template set for schools that has been independently audited and is designed to be customised and adapted easily for your school. Available in in both Word and PDF formats.

Online Safety within your curriculum

There are a lot of resources for online safety out there but it’s difficult to know where to begin. Mapping resources to age related outcomes and other curriculum areas takes time. But we’ve done it for you. Our free Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum is available online for ages FS right through to KS4 and beyond; a fully featured scope and sequence ready to be used “out of the box”.  Again, we have produced a version for schools in Wales available on the e-Safety Zone on Hwb.

Develop your staff

BOOST is a toolset designed, amongst other things, to ensure your staff remain up to date and current with online safety training. You are in control; no more costly repeated visits from external speakers. For an annual subscription, staff have access to scripted presentations; self-directed learning and accreditation as well as live webinars that bring experts directly to your staff development sessions using latest web technologies. New and exciting enhancements are coming to BOOST next month.

Resources for your school community

Check the Advice and Resources Area on the UK Safer Internet Centre, where you can find tools and guidance for your school, for your pupils and parents and carers from all three Centre partners – SWGfL, Childnet and the Internet Watch Foundation. The SWGfL Online Store has a whole host of printed resources you can order for free (up to 500 plus P&P) to ensure staff, students and parents are kept up to date. From advice leaflets on a variety of social media to our internationally acclaimed “So You Got Naked Online?”… it’s all there. Equally, the Childnet online shop allows you to purchase great resources like Digiduck, Let’s fight it together and many more.

Escalation routes

When things go wrong it’s great to have access to an expert who can advise and guide to ensure you are doing the right thing.  Our free acclaimed advice service Professional’s Online Safety Helpline is only a phone call or email away. It not only draws on a wide range of professional expertise but can mediate on your behalf to have content on social media removed.

Establishing an effective online safety strategy is becoming an increasingly vital component in keeping children safe and, notwithstanding Ofsted’s expectations, your school community will become a safer place because of it.

You never know, they may very well thank you for it.

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