Online safety in schools
The UK Safer Internet Centre has published a report about schools’ online safety policy and practice. Findings from almost 10,000 schools across England includes: 97% of secondary schools and 90% of primary schools said they had at least basic levels of filtering and monitoring in place, almost 90% of secondary schools and 80% of primary schools had an online safety education programme in place, and 55% of secondary schools and 50% of primary schools had no training in place for governors around online safety.
Source: UK Safer Internet Centre blog Date: 23 January 2018
Further information: UK schools online safety policy and practice assessment 2017 (PDF)
The Carers Trust has released findings from a snapshot survey of young carers aged 5-10 years. Findings include: 46% are getting up in the night to care for loved ones, missing out on their own sleep; and more than 80% are carrying out caring duties every day or most days of the week.
Source: Carers Trust news item Date: 25 January 2018
Life in ‘likes’: Children’s Commissioner report into social media use among 8-12 year olds.
Authors: Children’s Commissioner for England
Format: Online report
Summary: Looks at the ways younger children use social media platforms and the effect on their wellbeing. Findings from focus groups involving 32 children aged 8 to 12 years old include: the most popular social media were Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly and WhatsApp; social media was important for maintaining relationships, but this got more difficult to manage at secondary school, where friendships could break down online. Recommendations include: broadening digital literacy education in schools beyond safety messages, to develop children’s critical awareness and resilience, focusing on the transition stage from primary to secondary school.
Publication details: [London]: Office of the Children’s Commissioner, 2018
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Peer-on-peer abuse toolkit.
Authors: David Smellie, Adele Eastman, Katie Rigg and Carlene Firmin
Format: Online report
Summary: Toolkit to help schools prevent peer-on-peer abuse, identify it at an early stage and respond to it appropriately. Offers guidance on developing and introducing a peer-on-peer abuse policy. Topics covered include: developing an overarching policy and introducing it to the school community; tailoring your policy to your school’s specific context; risk assessment; appropriate language and approaches; ongoing protective work. Includes a template peer-on-peer abuse policy.
Publication details: London: Farrer & Co, 2017
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UPDATED Searching, screening and confiscation at school (DfE, January 2018)
The government’s ‘Searching, screening and confiscation at school’ guidance, has been updated. The latest document includes a new section, ‘Statutory guidance for dealing with electronic devices’.
A summary of the new section is below:
Staff may lawfully search electronic devices, without consent or parental permission, if there is a suspicion that the pupil has a device prohibited by school rules, or the staff member has good reason to suspect the device may be used to:
- cause harm,
- disrupt teaching,
- break school rules,
- commit an offence,
- cause personal injury, or
- damage property.
Any data, files or images that are believed to be illegal must be passed to the police as soon as practicable, including pornographic images of children, without deleting them.
Any data, files or images that are not believed to be unlawful, may be deleted or kept as evidence of a breach of the school’s behaviour policy.
The school’s policies should reflect this new guidance.
Download the guidance here: Searching, screening and confiscation at school (DfE, January 2018)
Lack of duty on schools ‘could compromise safeguarding shake-up’
Government plans to overhaul local child safeguarding arrangements risk being compromised by a failure to involve schools, council leaders have warned.
Both the Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) have issued the warning in response to government proposals to abolish local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) and replace them with a new system of multi-agency arrangements.
These would involve councils, police and health organisations as core partners but not schools, according to proposed changes to Working Together guidance designed to pave the way for the new arrangements.