3 July 2015
By Rebecca Avery

Ofsted publishes ‘Online Safety in Schools’ survey

On the 3rd July, 2015, Ofsted published a new review which highlighted data from a survey of online safety practice across all HMI-led inspections during March 2015.

The survey referenced discussions on online safety issues with senior leaders, staff, governors and staff across 39 primary schools and 45 Secondary schools’ inspections. This report follows on from Ofsted’s‘The Safe Use of New Technologies’ report published in 2010. The survey data was presented by David Brown HMI at the Child Internet Safety Summit in London. The presentation from the event can be found here.

The SWGfL have created a useful infographic to highlight the conclusions of the survey and have summarised the key findings below:

  • 5% of schools do not have an Online Safety policy in place
  • Only 74% of students were aware that they had an online safety policy
  • Over 25% of secondary students cannot recall if they have been taught about online safety over the last 12 months
  • A significant majority of schools still do not allow the use of personal device in school.
  • In terms of students influencing online safety policy, a significant majority of schools do not involve student contribution.  In 2010, Ofsted concluded that the contribution of children was a characteristic in schools with outstanding online safety practice and recommended this as a priority.
  • In 2010, the ‘Safe Use of New Technologies’ report recommended that more focus was required on “developing a curriculum for e-safety which builds on what pupils have learnt before and which reflects their age and stage of development”.  Whilst there is evidence that some schools have embedded this across their wider curriculum, there is inconsistency in the provision of an online safety curriculum with scope and sequence.
  • The report identified that assemblies and computing/ICT lessons are the main focus for online safety teaching for many schools, with online safety still being considered by some schools to be an "ICT issue". Ofsted did note that in some schools PSHE lessons play a significant role in the delivery of online safety.
  • Just over a quarter of secondary students lack confidence in their teacher’s knowledge of online safety issues
  • Staff training is inconsistent, and what senior leaders might see as training is not reflected by staff. Anecdotal feedback suggests that staff development in online safety is often reactive e.g. “Emergency training is delivered if there is an incident”
  • Strategic input, especially from Governors, is weak with little awareness of current school practice.
  • The report identifies that reporting is clearly the weakest area of school practice around online safety. The review found that members of staffs in schools have confidence in recognising, responding to and resolving online safety issues (slightly stronger in secondary schools than in primary schools) but pupils are often unclear.

Ofsted Online Safety Key Information 2015