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Online Safety in the Curriculum

Online Safety in the Curriculum

Both Ofsted and Keeping Children Safe in Education  require education settings to deliver online safety education through a broad and balanced curriculum. This may include covering relevant issues through Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). It is important to recognise that a one size fits all approach may not be appropriate for all children, and a more personalised or contextualised approach for more vulnerable children, victims of abuse and some SEND children might be needed.

  • The Department for Education have published non-statutory guidance to support schools in teaching their pupils how to stay safe online within new and existing school subjects: Teaching online safety in school.

  • UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) have developed the 'Education for a Connected World' framework, which aims to support the development of online safety across the curriculum by describing the skills and understanding that children and young people should have the opportunity to develop at different ages and stages.

  • UKCIS have produced ‘Challenging victim blaming language and behaviours when dealing with the online experiences of children and young people’ guidance. Victim blaming is any language or action that implies (whether intentionally or unintentionally) that a person is partially or wholly responsible for abuse that has happened to them. It is harmful and can wrongfully place responsibility, shame, or blame onto a victim, making them feel that they are complicit or responsible for the harm they have experienced. This is especially common where children have experienced online harms and this guidance aims to help professionals understand that children can never be expected to predict, pre-empt, or protect themselves from abuse, and irrespective of the content or circumstance, the responsibility always lies with the person who abused the child or young person. This guidance also offers practical steps DSLs can use with their staff to help them practice and advocate for an anti-victim blaming approach, in a constructive and supportive way.
  • It is important that education settings demonstrate internal capacity for delivering online safety education, so pupils feel confident in the school’s ability to support them and manage incidents if they arise in the future. If schools and colleges are considering the use of external speakers to complement their online safety curriculum, they should access the UKCIS 'Using external expertise to enhance online safety education: Guidance for education settings' guidance to ensure they are making the most effective use of their visitors.

  • Similarly, the PSHE Association have produced 'Police in the classroom handbook' which contains guidance around the use of police officers in the classroom, to support schools in making the police’s contribution to education as effective as it can be.

Curriculum Resources

The following websites have a variety of educational resources that cover a range of online safety topics. Most of these resources are designed to be used preventatively, so will not be suitable for use directly with children if they have experienced harm online.

South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) have produced Project Evolve; a resource that maps online safety education from foundation stage upwards, in line with the UKCIS Education for a Connected World Framework.

Annex D of KCSIE also contains additional online safety resources and links.