360 early years and 360 groups to help children and young people stay safe online

For more than ten years South West Grid for Learning has provided schools with a free of charge online safety self-review tool. Over 14,000 schools in the UK have used the 360 degree safe tool to improve their online safety policies and practices.

They have now complemented the school tool with two other tools that are focussed on the needs of organisations that work with children and young people. These tools include:

  • 360 Early Years – www.360earlyyears.org.uk – is intended for use by a range of early years settings with specific guidance for the online safety of those age groups and the staff or volunteers who work with them.
  • 360 Groups – www.360groups.org.uk – is similar in format and design to 360 degree safe but has guidance that is relevant to a wider range of organisations working with children and young people, over a range of ages. Many different types of groups will benefit from its use which might include: youth groups; sports groups, after school clubs; holiday activities groups; libraries; church groups; uniformed organisations and many more.

Both of the tools are split into 12 different parts which look at the various aspects of online safety in these settings or groups, including:

  • Management – policies, responsibilities and online safeguarding
  • People – online safety education and information, staff and volunteer training, data protection, and responding to online safety issues
  • Technology – devices, security, digital images, social media and communication

For each of the 12 parts within the tool the setting or group will decide which of the four level statements best describes their current practice. The tool then provides an improvement action which suggests how their practice can move to the next level.

Both tools are supported by a set of policy templates and links to relevant organisations, documents and resources. Certificates become available as the settings or groups progress through the tool.

As the use of digital technologies and online services increase – particularly among younger children – the tools provide mechanisms for groups and settings to improve their online safety practices, in order to keep their children, members, staff and volunteers safe online, while protecting the organisations safeguarding and its reputation.

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