Online Safety Policy Statement
The purpose of this policy statement is to:
- ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people is paramount when adults, young people or children are using the internet, social media or mobile devices
- provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to online safety
- ensure that, as an organisation, we operate in line with our values and within the law in terms of how we use online devices.
Thornborough Infant School aims to:
- Have robust processes in place to ensure the online safety of pupils, staff, volunteers and governors
- Deliver an effective approach to online safety, which empowers us to protect and educate the whole school community in its use of technology, including mobile and smart technology (which we refer to as ‘mobile phones’)
- Establish clear mechanisms to identify, intervene and escalate an incident, where appropriate
The 4 key categories of risk
Our approach to online safety is based on addressing the following categories of risk:
- Content – being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, such as pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism
- Contact – being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users, such as peer-to-peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes
- Conduct – personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm, such as making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g. consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography), sharing other explicit images and online bullying; and
- Commerce – risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and/or financial scam
Legislation and guidance
This policy is based on the Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and its advice for schools on:
It also refers to the DfE’s guidance on protecting children from radicalisation.
It reflects existing legislation, including but not limited to the Education Act 1996 (as amended), the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and the Equality Act 2010. In addition, it reflects the Education Act 2011, which has given teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying by, if necessary, searching for and deleting inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices where they believe there is a ‘good reason’ to do so.
The policy also takes into account the National Curriculum computing programmes of study
Filtering and Monitoring
Why do we need a filtering and monitoring system?
The internet is now used daily in education and has become fundamental. It acts as a key learning tool for children however, it can also be an area for concern due to the nature of potentially harmful content available online.
There are many reasons why filtering and monitoring are required. In school the purpose is to ensure that children do not access unsuitable/inappropriate content. One example is around radicalisation. The Prevent Duty is a statutory obligation for schools to keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism. As a school, we are aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist groups, and how social media is being used to encourage young people to travel to certain countries.
Content filtering works by applying specific parameters to content retrieved via the internet, restricting access to certain materials on websites, Apps, emails or other suspicious items. It can be a hardware or software solution and can often be part of a firewall setting.
Monitoring combined with content filtering alerts for any activities that need to be acted upon, but the information is also used to determine which sites and keywords need to be filtered out. For example, if a new craze appears, the monitoring and filtering system will help us know what associated terms the children are searching for, and what websites they are accessing.
To safeguard and promote the welfare of our children, we provide them with a safe environment in which they can learn and flourish, by ensuring that they are not exposed to any online risks associated with using the internet. We have comprehensive filtering and monitoring systems in place for all devices used in school, and regularly review their effectiveness.
Parents can be reassured that at Thornborough Infant School we employ the highest quality Filtering and Monitoring systems to mitigate the risks of our children's online safety. The school uses Securly Filter, a cloud-based web filter designed specifically for schools, helping to keep our students safe with powerful features that makes our school safer and staff and parents happier. Securly Filter provides visibility into all online activity, provides downloadable reports, and block inappropriate sites instantly.
The Securly Filter Monitoring and Filtering system, employs a continuously updated series of keywords and watchwords to filter the content of the internet from any of the machines within the school system.
Although no system is perfect, this has provided the highest quality of control on internet provision in school. All school devices, including Student Laptops, iPads and Staff devices, are part of the school's Securly Filter. The system monitors keyboard entry and reports key words and watch words as they are typed on any child's keyboard. This provides real time and highly effective monitoring of all users on the school system. The Online Safety Co-ordinator (Laura Passenger) has instant access to the Securly Hub which provides instant reports and up to 90 days of searchable data history.
This should provide parents and carers with confidence that their children's experience of the online world is safe and backed up by a broad curriculum of online safety guidance.
Children will be asked to explore an increasingly wide range of websites and digital content and will be required to use search engines to develop their skills as a digital citizen - using these systems of filtering and monitoring we feel secure in exploring the online world, giving us opportunities to learn about online risks as we progress through school. Internet safety is a huge part of our school curriculum and we challenge children to think about the key themes of content, contact, conduct and contract which form the four main areas for online safety. We believe that this gives them the best preparation for digital citizenship of the future.
We also use the Government recommended online safety review tool 360 Safe, to assess wider online safety policy and practice.
Please remember to apply appropriate settings to children's devices when they are using the internet at home or on mobile devices. Please refer to advice and guidance to ensure children's devices are appropriately managed.
For more information on how to monitor and use filtering at home, click on the links below that discuss parental controls:
Online safety co-ordinator
Name: Laura Passenger
Phone: 01280 812219
Senior leads for safeguarding and child protection
Name: Laura Passenger and Carol-Anne McCollum
Phone: 01280 812219
0808 800 5000 or email help@NSPCC.org.uk