Five things you need for effective e-safety policies
E-safety consistently tops the charts of ICT concerns among school leaders. With a steady stream of bad news stories about cyberbullying and the dangers of social media, combined with the fact that Ofsted now includes e-safety as part of its inspection, it’s little wonder it’s such a high priority.
Most schools now have an e-safety policy which sets out their commitment to ensuring their community is safe online and an acceptable use policy which articulates what students can and can’t do while using the internet. But a policy is no use if it’s signed at the beginning of the year, box ticked, job done and back in the drawer it goes until review time. So, how do you ensure your e-safety policy drives sustained action?
Here are five things that will help ensure your policy is the active heart of e-safety at your school:
Involve students in its development. This creates a sense of ownership and asking them to think about e-safety provides the first step in educating them about safe and acceptable use of the internet.
Involve parents. They need to read and sign the policy and have the opportunity to share feedback. By creating a policy that both students and parents sign you kick-start the conversation at home about e-safety.
Embed it. Policies are no use if they are merely a tick-box exercise, they need to be part of daily life. You could implement a regular reward system that recognises students who have flagged an issue or shown leadership in this area, or appoint e-safety monitors whose job it is to keep e-safety front of mind.
Own it. All members of staff need to be trained and have collective responsibility for e-safety but if one member of staff has deep expertise coupled with overall, daily responsibility for e-safety it’s far more likely to retain its place on the agenda
Review it. Agree a date each year when you seek feedback and review the contents of the policy. Life online changes at breakneck speed and what may have been watertight a year ago may no longer be adequate today.
For more information on e-safety including lesson plans, blogs from e-safety experts and a free guide to e-safety in schools, visit www.rm.com/esafety