Online Safety Mark awarded to 400th school

UK Safer Internet Centre partner SWGfL created and maintain the  award winning 360 degree safe self-review tool allowing schools in  UK to assess and improve their e-safety. They recently awarded Castle Cary Community School in Somerset as the 400th school in the UK to gain the prestigious Online Safety Mark for excellnece in online safety provision.

The Online Safety Mark

The Online Safety Mark is awarded to schools that have reached the required benchmark levels in the 360 degree safe online safety self-review tool and have received a successful half day Assessor visit.

360 degree safe

The 360 degree safe tool allows schools to review their online safety policies and procedures, in 28 different aspects, against a set of national standards or benchmark levels.

Online Safety Mark Assessment

On the day of the assessment, the Assessor will meet with senior leaders, staff, children, parents/carers and Governors. The interviews allow the Assessor to check with all these stakeholders that the provision that the school has described in their review is actually in place in the school.

The first Online Safety Mark assessment took place in September 2009 and in the intervening period, 400 schools have received the award, with 84 of those schools having been successfully re-assessed when their awards have expired.

The 300th school, Trafalgar Infant School in Richmond on Thames, gained the Online Safety Mark in July 2017, so 100 schools have successfully achieved it in two years.

Schools find the process rigorous but rewarding. There is always positive feedback from schools receiving the award with this being a typical response:

We thoroughly enjoyed our assessment of how we manage Online Safety at school. It gave us an opportunity to celebrate, as a whole school community, all the great ways we keep ourselves safe. It was a very enjoyable and productive morning. With advice and guidance taken from our assessor, we now have even more direction and focus on how we want to further drive this area forward.

Castle Cary Community School

Castle Cary Community School is set in the thriving market town of Castle Cary in the heart of the Somerset countryside with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, where pupils feel valued and safe. The school has an ethos which encourages positive responses, respect and good manners. 

Following the visit, the Assessor reported on:

The leadership by the Online Safety Lead of a highly effective Online Safety committee; the whole-school ethos with shared responsibility for Online Safety: with ‘Online Safety being everyone’s concern’.  There is an effective online safety curriculum and excellent engagement with parents through regular communication, a high visibility of Online Safety around the school and a rapid response to issues mentioned by parents.

Schools are encouraged to carry out an online safety review using the  360 degree safe self-review tool. When they reach the required benchmark levels the Online Safety Mark provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the school’s successes.

To find out more about the 360 degree safe tool and the Online Safety Mark please visit 360 degree safe.

This article was first published on the SWGfL website on 4 July 2019.

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