An Assessor from the South West Grid for Learning recently visited Unsworth to review the school’s e-safety provision. The Assessor met school staff, parents and carers, Governors and pupils and was pleased to find that the school provides a high level of protection for users of the new technologies. The South West Grid for Learning Trust provides the internet connection and a range of other services to schools across the SW region and is in the forefront of national developments in e-safety. To enhance these services, they have developed a tool to help schools address e-safety issues, not least the changes to Ofsted inspections, which include a stronger focus on safeguarding. The online tool allows schools to evaluate their e-safety policy and practice and then suggests how the school might do more to protect young people and staff.
To apply for the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark, schools have to reach a series of benchmark levels when they complete the online self review. The evidence is then verified by a visit from experienced Assessors. The prime benefit of using the review and applying for the E-Safety Mark is that it does not focus on the individual aspects of e-safety such as technological solutions, but instead it integrates e-safety into school policy and the curriculum, challenging teachers and managers in the school to think about their provision and its continual evolution.
Schools are expected to show that they have provided a high standard of e-safety education and awareness for all staff, pupils and also for parents and carers, to ensure that these users of the new technologies can be safe online – whether they are in school, in their homes or out and about using mobile phones or other handheld devices. Following their visit the Assessor reported that the main areas of strength were:
- strong leadership and commitment shown by the e-safety officer
- planned programme of e-safety training for staff and pupils
- a consistent whole school approach to, and awareness of, e-safety
- parental engagement through the school’s website
- the logging, monitoring and dealing with reported incidents
Ron Richards, Lead Assessor for the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark congratulated the school on its success and commented that it was re-assuring to know that the school had put a lot of thought and effort into improving the on-line safety of the staff and young people, by addressing these important safeguarding issues.