Self-management key to pupil safety

Pupils in schools that use ‘managed’ online systems have a better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe when using new technologies, according to a report published today by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

‘Managed’ systems are systems that have fewer inaccessible sites than ‘locked’ systems and so require pupils to take more responsibility for their own safety.

Locked systems make many websites inaccessible and although this ensures pupils’ safety in school it does not encourage the pupils to take responsibility for their actions or prepare them for dealing with systems that are not locked.

The report was based on evidence from a small-scale survey carried out between April and July 2009 in 35 maintained schools in England, and was a response to the report of the Byron Review, Safer children in a digital world.

The report recommended that the Department for Children, Schools and Families, in conjunction with Becta, CEOP and local authorities, should:
seek ways to reinforce the importance of e-safety in all schools and homes, ensuring that families and schools work together to support the e-safety of pupils continue to support the training of all staff in all schools in e-safety encourage and support schools to move from locked down to managed systems.

It recommended that schools should:
• audit the training needs of all staff and provide training to improve their knowledge of and expertise in the safe and appropriate use of new technologies
• work closely with all families to help them ensure that their children use new technologies safely and responsibly both at home and at school
• use pupils’ and families’ views more often to develop e-safety strategies
• manage the transition from locked down systems to more managed systems to help pupils understand how to manage risk; to provide them with richer learning experiences; and to bridge the gap between systems at school and the more open systems outside school
• provide an age-related, comprehensive curriculum for e-safety which enables pupils to become safe and responsible users of new technologies
• work with their partners and other providers to ensure that pupils who receive part of their education away from school are e-safe
• systematically review and develop their e-safety procedures, including training, to ensure that they have a positive impact on pupils’ knowledge and understanding.

To download the report click here