Online Safety Policy and Practice Report 2022 Released by SWGfL
Our partners at SWGfL have released the annual Schools in England Online Safety Policy and Practice report for 2022. This extensive report compiled by Professor Andy Phippen from Bournemouth University looks at what strengths and weaknesses have been seen within online safety over the past year for schools in England. Data from the 360Safe tool which covers over 13,000 schools and colleges in England has been used to compile the report. The data that has been gathered, analyses how schools across the board have implemented online safety practice and policy into their communities.
This report is currently the 11th analysis to take place. The 360Safe tool has been supporting schools for over a decade whilst ensuring their online safety practice is meeting expected standards. The data offers valuable insight into where schools are showing considerable strengths as well as weaknesses. The insights also show comparisons to both ProjectEVOLVE and Test Filtering data.
Strength in Online Safety
- The vast majority of schools were seen to have effective policy in place
- Strong technical interventions were also in place for many cases
- It was found that schools who use both 360safe and ProjectEVOLVE, performed consistently better than the national average. Also, those schools who use ProjectEVOLVE for online and digital literacy education tended to perform better across the data than those who did not
- ‘Acceptable Use’ and ‘Digital and Video Images’ amongst top ranking aspects in report
- Very few significant differences were seen in findings between Primary and Secondary schools compared to previous yearly reports
Areas of Concern in Online Safety
- 38% of schools have no staff training in place
- 48% of schools have no governor training in schools
- 25% of schools fail to have basic data protection practice in place
- Those schools who were shown to have weak staff training performed far worse across the whole range of online safety aspects
- Filtering practice is not to be assumed to be 100% effective
Data from the report also concluded that schools cannot necessarily assume just because they have a strong filtering and monitoring strategy, other measures will not need to be put in place. These measures include aspects such as training, education and awareness.
David Wright (CEO of SWGfL) said:
”The 360 report is an important insight into the current state of where online safety currently stands within education. It is encouraging to see that policy as well as filtering and monitoring continue to be seen as strong areas as well as the divide in findings between primary and secondary schools being significantly shortened.
Despite this, we are once again seeing training being highlighted as a cause for concern with the lack of training for governors being particularly alarming. Training is more than a box that needs to be ticked; it is an essential area to address! Without training, schools are just waiting for problems to arise without knowledge and without confidence to respond. Online safety is needed more than ever and it is up to schools to ensure they are appropriately equipped.”
360Safe was launched by SWGfL over a decade ago in 2009 to support schools in evaluating and supporting their online safety provision. It allows schools to identify and prioritise areas for improvement and benchmark their own provision, working towards acceptable standards and accreditation.