E-safety policy: safe use of the Internet
Safe use of the Internet
New technologies have become integral to the lives of children and young people in today’s society, both within schools and in their lives outside school.
The internet and other digital and information technologies are powerful tools, which open up new opportunities for everyone. Electronic communication helps teachers and students learn from each other. These technologies can stimulate discussion, promote creativity and increase awareness of context to promote effective learning. Children and young people should have an entitlement to safe internet access at all times.
The requirement to ensure that children and young people are able to use the internet and related communications technologies appropriately and safely is addressed as part of the wider duty of care to which all who work in schools are bound. This policy will help to ensure safe and appropriate use. The development and implementation of such a strategy will involve all the stakeholders in a child’s education from the Headteacher and Governors to the classroom teachers, support staff, parents, members of the community and the students themselves.
The use of these exciting and innovative tools in school and at home has been shown to raise educational standards and promote student achievement.
However, the use of these new technologies can put young people at risk within and outside the school. Some of the dangers they may face include:
• Access to illegal, harmful or inappropriate images or other content
• Unauthorised access to / loss of / sharing of personal information
• The risk of being subject to grooming by those with whom they make contact on the internet.
• The sharing / distribution of personal images without an individual’s consent or knowledge
• Inappropriate communication / contact with others, including strangers
• Access to unsuitable video / internet games
• An inability to evaluate the quality, accuracy and relevance of information on the internet
• Plagiarism and copyright infringement
• Illegal downloading of music or video files
• The potential for excessive use which may impact on the social and emotional development and learning of the young person.
Many of these risks reflect situations in the off-line world and it is essential that this e-safety policy is used in conjunction with other school policies (eg behaviour, anti-bullying and child protection policies).
As with all other risks, it is impossible to eliminate those risks completely. It is therefore essential, through good educational provision to build students’ resilience to the risks to which they may be exposed, so that they have the confidence and skills to face and deal with these risks.
The school will endeavour to provide the necessary safeguards to help ensure that they have done everything that could reasonably be expected of them to manage and reduce these risks. The e-safety policy that follows explains how we intend to do this, while also addressing wider educational issues in order to help young people (and their parents / carers) to be responsible users and stay safe while using the internet and other communications technologies for educational, personal and recreational use.
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all members of the school community (including staff, students, volunteers, parents / carers, visitors, community users) who have access to and are users of school ICT systems, both in and out of school.
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 empowers Headteachers, to such extent as is reasonable, to regulate the behaviour of students when they are off the school site and empowers members of staff to impose disciplinary penalties for inappropriate behaviour. This is pertinent to incidents of cyber-bullying, or other e-safety incidents covered by this policy, which may take place out of school, but is linked to membership of the school.
The school will deal with such incidents within this policy and associated behaviour and anti-bullying policies and will, where known, inform parents / carers of incidents of inappropriate e-safety behaviour that take place out of school.
Roles and Responsibilities
The following section outlines the roles and responsibilities for e-safety of individuals and groups within the school:
Governors are responsible for the approval of the E-Safety Policy and for reviewing the effectiveness of the policy. This will be carried out by receiving regular information about e-safety incidents and monitoring reports. A member of the Governing Body will ensure:
• regular monitoring of e-safety incident logs
• regular monitoring of filtering / change control logs
• reporting to relevant bodies
- The Headteacher is responsible for ensuring the safety (including e-safety) of members of the school community, though the day to day responsibility for e-safety will be delegated to the ICT Co-ordinator.
- The Headteacher will receive regular monitoring reports from the ICT Co-ordinator.
- The Headteacher will be aware of the procedures to be followed in the event of a serious e-safety allegation being made against a member of staff. (see flow chart on dealing with e-safety incidents)
ICT Co-ordinator (including E-safety) (Mrs J Bickerton – Headteacher):
- takes day to day responsibility for e-safety issues and has a leading role in establishing and reviewing the school e-safety policies / documents
- ensures that all staff are aware of the procedures that need to be followed in the event of an e-safety incident taking place.
- provides training and advice for staff
- liaises with any relevant bodies
- liaises with Network manager/Technical staff
- receives reports of e-safety incidents and creates a log of incidents to inform future e-safety developments,
- reports regularly to Headteacher
Network Manager / Technical staff:
The Network Manager is responsible for ensuring:
- that the school’s ICT infrastructure is secure and is not open to misuse or malicious attack
- that users may only access the school’s networks through a properly enforced password protection policy
- the school’s filtering policy and security protection, including fire wall, is applied and updated on a regular basis
- that staff are appropriately trained and information passed on as necessary
- regular contact between themselves, the Headteacher and ICT Co-ordinator
- that they keep up to date with e-safety technical information in order to effectively carry out their e-safety role and to inform and update others as relevant
that the use of the network / Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) / remote access / email is regularly monitored in order that any misuse / attempted misuse can be reported to the ICT Co-ordinator or Headteacher for investigation / action / sanction
Teaching and Support Staff:
are responsible for ensuring that:
- they have an up to date awareness of e-safety matters and of the current school e-safety policy and practices
- they have read, understood and signed the school Staff Acceptable Use Policy / Agreement
- they report any suspected misuse or problem to the ICT Co-ordinator or Headteacher for investigation / action / sanction
- digital communications with students (email / Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) / voice) should be on a professional level and only carried out using official school systems
- e-safety issues are embedded in all aspects of the curriculum and other school activities
- students understand and follow the school e-safety and acceptable use policy
- students have a good understanding of research skills and the need to avoid plagiarism and uphold copyright regulations
- they monitor ICT activity in lessons, extra curricular and extended school activities
- they are aware of e-safety issues related to the use of mobile phones, cameras and hand held devices and that they monitor their use and implement current school policies with regard to these devices
- in lessons where internet use is pre-planned students should be guided to sites checked as suitable for their use and that processes are in place for dealing with any unsuitable material that is found in internet searches
Designated person for Child Protection:
should be aware of the potential for serious child protection issues to arise from:
- sharing of personal data
- access to illegal / inappropriate materials
- inappropriate on-line contact with adults / strangers
- potential or actual incidents of grooming
Students, at the appropriate age:
- have a good understanding of research skills and the need to avoid plagiarism and uphold copyright regulations
- are responsible for using the school ICT systems in accordance with the Student Acceptable Use Policy, which they will be expected to sign before being given access to school systems (for younger students parents will sign on their behalf).
- need to understand the importance of reporting abuse, misuse or access to inappropriate materials and know how to do so
- will be expected to know and understand school policies on the use of mobile phones, digital cameras and hand held devices. They should also know and understand school policies on the taking / use of images and on cyber-bullying.
- should understand the importance of adopting good e-safety practice when using digital technologies out of school and realise that the school’s E-Safety Policy covers their actions out of school, if related to their membership of the school
Parents / Carers:
Parents / Carers play a crucial role in ensuring that their children understand the need to use the internet / mobile devices in an appropriate way. The school will therefore take every opportunity to help parents understand these issues through parents’ evenings, newsletters, letters and website information. Parents and carers will be responsible for:
- endorsing (by signature) the Student Acceptable Use Policy
- accessing the school website in accordance with the relevant school Acceptable Use Policy.
Community Users who access school ICT systems / website, where the school staff have no authority or responsibility, will be expected to use the internet safely but the school will be in no way accountable for the use of the internet by these persons.
Education of students
Whilst regulation and technical solutions are very important, their use must be balanced by educating students to take a responsible approach. The education of students in e-safety is therefore an essential part of the school’s e-safety provision. Children and young people need the help and support of the school to recognise and avoid e-safety risks and build their resilience.
E-Safety education will be provided in the following ways:
- A planned e-safety programme should be provided as part of ICT / PHSE / other lessons and should be regularly revisited – this will cover both the use of ICT and new technologies in school and outside school
- Key e-safety messages should be reinforced as part of a planned programme of assemblies and pastoral activities
- Students should be taught in all lessons to be critically aware of the materials / content they access on-line and be guided to validate the accuracy of information
- Students should be helped to understand the need for the student Acceptable Use Policy and encouraged to adopt safe and responsible use of ICT, the internet and mobile devices both within and outside school
- Students should be taught to acknowledge the source of information used and to respect copyright when using material accessed on the internet
- Staff should act as good role models in their use of ICT, the internet and mobile devices
- Rules for use of ICT/internet will be clearly displayed in all rooms that have ICT facilities
Education of parents / carers
Many parents and carers have only a limited understanding of e-safety risks and issues, yet they play an essential role in the education of their children and in the monitoring / regulation of the children’s on-line experiences. Parents often either underestimate or do not realise how often children and young people come across potentially harmful and inappropriate material on the internet and are often unsure about what they would do about it. “There is a generational digital divide”. (Byron Report).
The school will therefore seek to provide information and awareness to parents and carers through:
- Letters, newsletters, web site
- Parents evenings
Education & Training – Staff
It is essential that all staff receive e-safety training and understand their responsibilities, as outlined in this policy. Training will be offered as follows:
- E-safety training will be made available to staff.
- All new staff should receive e-safety training as part of their induction programme, ensuring that they fully understand the school e-safety policy and Acceptable Use Policies
- The ICT (E-safety) Coordinator will make sure that they keep up to date with any changes in legislation
- This E-Safety policy and its updates will be presented to and discussed by staff in staff meetings / INSET days.
- The ICT (E-safety) Coordinator will provide advice / guidance / training as required to individuals as required
Training – Governors
Governors should take part in e-safety training / awareness sessions, with particular importance for those who are members of any involved in ICT / e-safety / health and safety / child protection. Through participation in school training / information sessions for staff or parents or through specific training as part of a Governing Body meeting.
Technical – infrastructure / equipment, filtering and monitoring
The school will be responsible for ensuring that the school infrastructure / network is as safe and secure as is reasonably possible and that policies and procedures approved within this policy are implemented. It will also need to ensure that the relevant people named in the above sections will be effective in carrying out their e-safety responsibilities:
- School ICT systems will be managed in ways that ensure that the school meets the e-safety technical requirements outlined in the Acceptable Usage Policy
- There will be regular reviews and audits of the safety and security of school ICT systems
- Servers, wireless systems and cabling must be securely located and physical access restricted
All users will have clearly defined access rights to school ICT systems.
- All users will be provided with a username and password.
- Users will be made responsible for the security of their username and password, must not allow other users to access the systems using their log on details and must immediately report any suspicion or evidence that there has been a breach of security.
- The school maintains and supports a managed filtering system and in the event of the Network Manager (or other person) needing to switch off the filtering for any reason, or for any user, this must be logged and carried out by a process that is agreed by the Headteacher.
- Any filtering issues should be reported immediately to the ICT Co-ordinator or Headteacher who will then address the situation themselves or contact the Network Manager.
- Requests from staff for sites to be removed from the filtered list will be considered by the Headteacher. If the request is agreed, this action will be recorded and logs of such actions shall be reviewed regularly by the ICT co-ordinator.
- The activity of users is regularly monitored and users are made aware of this in the Acceptable Use Policy.
- An appropriate system is in place for users to report any actual / potential e-safety incident to the Network Manager (or other relevant person). Pupils and staff are to inform the ICT co-ordinator who will log incidents and ensure that all is done to prevent a re-occurrence. In more serious cases the incident will be passed on to the Headteacher for investigation.
- Appropriate security measures are in place to protect the servers, firewalls, routers, wireless systems, work stations, hand held devices etc from accidental or malicious attempts which might threaten the security of the school systems and data.
- An agreed policy is in place for the provision of temporary access of “guests” (eg trainee teachers, visitors) onto the school system. This will be done through the use of a visitor password used by all visitors and their activity monitored.
The downloading of files is only allowed for the specific purpose of aiding teaching and learning in the school and staff must take personal responsibility for anything they download.
- All staff members are personally responsible for any portable devices (such as laptops etc.) that may be used out of school and normal school policies apply. Staff are to do all that is reasonably possible to keep the device and it’s contents/information secure. This also applies to removable media (eg memory sticks/CDs/DVDs etc.).
- The school infrastructure and individual workstations are protected by up to date virus software.
- Personal data cannot be sent over the internet or taken off the school site unless safely encrypted or otherwise secured.
E-safety should be a focus in all areas of the curriculum and staff should reinforce e-safety messages in the use of ICT across the curriculum.
- In lessons where internet use is pre-planned, it is best practice that pupils should be guided to sites checked as suitable for their use and that processes are in place for dealing with any unsuitable material that is found in internet searches.
- Where pupils are allowed to freely search the internet, eg using search engines, staff should be vigilant in monitoring the content of the websites the young people visit.
- It is accepted that from time to time, for good educational reasons, students may need to research topics (eg racism, drugs, discrimination) that would normally result in internet searches being blocked. In such a situation, staff can request that the ICT co-ordinator/Headteacher/Network Manager can temporarily remove those sites from the filtered list for the period of study. Any request to do so, should be auditable, with clear reasons for the need.
- Pupils should be taught in all lessons to be critically aware of the materials / content they access on-line and be guided to validate the accuracy of information
- Pupils should be taught to acknowledge the source of information used and to respect copyright when using material accessed on the internet.
Use of digital and video images – Photographic, Video
The development of digital imaging technologies has created significant benefits to learning, allowing staff and pupils instant use of images that they have recorded themselves or downloaded from the internet. However, staff and pupils need to be aware of the risks associated with sharing images and with posting digital images on the internet.
When using digital images, staff should inform and educate pupils about the risks associated with the taking, use, sharing, publication and distribution of images. In particular they should recognise the risks attached to publishing their own images on the internet eg on social networking sites.
- Staff are allowed to take digital / video images to support educational aims, but must follow school policies concerning the sharing, distribution and publication of those images. Those images should only be taken on school equipment, the personal equipment of staff should not be used for such purposes.
- Care should be taken when taking digital / video images that pupils are appropriately dressed and are not participating in activities that might bring the individuals or the school into disrepute.
- Pupils must not take, use, share, publish or distribute images of others without their permission
- Photographs published on the website, or elsewhere that include pupils will be selected carefully and will comply with good practice guidance on the use of such images.
- Pupils’ full names will not be used anywhere on a website or blog, particularly in association with photographs.
- Written permission from parents or carers will be obtained before photographs of pupils are published on the school website
- Student’s work can only be published with the permission of the pupil and parents or carers.
Personal data will be recorded, processed, transferred and made available according to the Data Protection Act 1998 which states that personal data must be:
- Fairly and lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Kept no longer than is necessary
- Processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights
- Only transferred to others with adequate protection.
Staff must ensure that they:
- At all times take care to ensure the safe keeping of personal data, minimising the risk of its loss or misuse.
- Use personal data only on secure password protected computers and other devices, ensuring that they are properly “logged-off” at the end of any session in which they are using personal data.
- Transfer data via the internet using encryption and secure password protected devices
When personal data is stored on any portable computer system, USB stick or any other removable media:
- the device must be password protected where possible (many memory sticks / cards and other mobile devices cannot be password protected)
the device must offer approved virus and malware checking software
- the data must be securely deleted from the device once it has been transferred or its use is complete.
A wide range of rapidly developing communications technologies has the potential to enhance learning. The following table shows how the school currently considers the benefit of using these technologies for education outweighs their risks / disadvantages:
|Staff & other adults||Students / Pupils|
|Communication Technologies||Allowed||Allowed at certain times||Allowed for selected staff||Not allowed||Allowed||Allowed at certain times||Allowed with staff permission||Not allowed|
|Mobile phones may be brought to school||y||y|
|Use of mobile phones in lessons||y
|Use of mobile phones in social time||y||y|
|Taking photos on mobile phones or other camera devices||y
|Use of hand held devices eg PDAs, PSPs||y||y|
|Use of personal email addresses in school, or on school network||y||y|
|Use of school email for personal emails||y||y|
|Use of chat rooms / facilities||y||y|
|Use of instant messaging||y
|Use of social networking sites||y (own time)||y|
|Use of blogs||y||y|
HT = Headteacher
When using communication technologies the school considers the following as good practice:
- The official school email service may be regarded as safe and secure and is monitored.
- Users need to be aware that email communications may be monitored
- Users must immediately report, to the ICT co-ordinator/Headteacher – in accordance with the school policy, the receipt of any email that makes them feel uncomfortable, is offensive, threatening or bullying in nature and must not respond to any such email.
- Any digital communication between staff and pupils or parents / carers (email etc) must be professional in tone and content. These communications may only take place on official (monitored) school systems. Personal email addresses, text messaging or public chat / social networking programmes must not be used for these communications.
- Whole class or group email addresses will be used in the infant class, while pupils in the Junior class and above will be provided with individual school email addresses for educational use.
- Pupils should be taught about email safety issues, such as the risks attached to the use of personal details. They should also be taught strategies to deal with inappropriate emails and be reminded of the need to write emails clearly and correctly and not include any unsuitable or abusive material.
- Personal information should not be posted on the school website and only official email addresses should be used to identify members of staff.
Unsuitable / inappropriate activities
Some internet activity eg accessing child abuse images or distributing racist material is illegal and would obviously be banned from school and all other ICT systems. Other activities eg Cyber-bullying would be banned and could lead to criminal prosecution. There are however a range of activities which may, generally, be legal but would be inappropriate in a school context, either because of the age of the users or the nature of those activities.
The school believes that the activities referred to in the following section would be inappropriate in a school context and that users, as defined below, should not engage in these activities in school or outside school when using school equipment or systems. The school policy restricts certain internet usage as follows:
|User Actions||Acceptable||Acceptable at certain times
|Acceptable for nominated users||Unacceptable||Unacceptable and illegal|
|Users shall not visit Internet sites, make, post, download, upload, data transfer, communicate or pass on, material, remarks, proposals or comments that contain or relate to:||child sexual abuse images||y|
|promotion or conduct of illegal acts, eg under the child protection, obscenity, computer misuse and fraud legislation||y|
|adult material that potentially breaches the Obscene Publications Act in the UK||
|criminally racist material in UK||y|
|promotion of any kind of discrimination||y|
|promotion of racial or religious hatred||y|
|threatening behaviour, including promotion of physical violence or mental harm||y|
|any other information which may be offensive to colleagues or breaches the integrity of the ethos of the school or brings the school into disrepute||y|
|Using school systems to run a private business||y|
|Use systems, applications, websites or other mechanisms that bypass the filtering/safeguards employed by the school||y|
|Uploading, downloading or transmitting commercial software or any copyrighted materials belonging to third parties, without the necessary licensing permissions||y|
|Revealing or publicising confidential or proprietary information (eg financial / personal information, databases, computer / network access codes and passwords)||y|
|Creating or propagating computer viruses or other harmful files||y|
|Carrying out sustained or instantaneous high volume network traffic (downloading / uploading files) that causes network congestion and hinders others in their use of the internet||y|
|On-line gaming (educational)||y|
|On-line gaming (non educational)||y|
|On-line shopping / commerce||y (HT)|
|Use of social networking sites||y
Use of video broadcasting eg Youtube
Responding to incidents of misuse
It is hoped that all members of the school community will be responsible users of ICT, who understand and follow this policy. However, there may be times when infringements of the policy could take place, through careless or irresponsible or, very rarely, through deliberate misuse. Listed below are the responses that will be made to any apparent or actual incidents of misuse:
If any apparent or actual misuse appears to involve illegal activity ie.
• child sexual abuse images
• adult material which potentially breaches the Obscene Publications Act
• criminally racist material
• other criminal conduct, activity or materials
In these cases any evidence will be kept, where possible, and the local police informed. Investigations may result in the suspension of staff, or re-deployment, until the investigation is concluded The school will follow the disciplinary procedure to deal with such incidents.
If members of staff suspect that misuse might have taken place, but that the misuse is not illegal (as above) it is still essential that correct procedures are used to investigate, preserve evidence and protect those carrying out the investigation.
It is more likely that the school will need to deal with incidents that involve inappropriate rather than illegal misuse. These should immediately be reported to the Headteacher who will carry out a thorough investigation as it is important that any incidents are dealt with as soon as possible in a proportionate manner, and that members of the school community are aware that incidents have been dealt with. Investigations may result in the suspension of staff, or re-deployment, until the investigation is concluded. It is intended that incidents of misuse will be dealt with through normal behaviour/disciplinary procedures as follows:
|Incidents:||Refer to class teacher||Refer to Headteacher||Refer to Police||Refer to technical support staff for action re filtering / security etc||Inform parents / carers||Removal of network / internet access rights||Warning||Further sanction eg detention / exclusion|
|Deliberately accessing or trying to access material that could be considered illegal (see list in earlier section on unsuitable / inappropriate activities).||y||y||y||yy|
|Unauthorised use of non-educational sites during lessons||y||y||y|
|Unauthorised use of mobile phone / digital camera / other handheld device||y||y||y||y|
|Unauthorised use of social networking / instant messaging / personal email||y||y||y||y||y||y|
|Unauthorised downloading or uploading of files||y||y||y||y|
|Allowing others to access school network by sharing username and passwords||y||y||y||y||y||y|
|Attempting to access or accessing the school network, using another student’s / pupil’s account||y||y||y||y||y||y|
|Attempting to access or accessing the school network, using the account of a member of staff||y||y||y||y||y|
|Corrupting or destroying the data of other users||y||y||y||y||y|
|Sending an email, text or instant message that is regarded as offensive, harassment or of a bullying nature||y||y||y||y||y|
|Continued infringements of the above, following previous warnings or sanctions||y||y||y||y||y||y|
|Actions which could bring the school into disrepute or breach the integrity of the ethos of the school||y||y||y||y|
|Using proxy sites or other means to subvert the school’s filtering system||y||y||y||y|
|Accidentally accessing offensive or pornographic material and failing to report the incident||y||y||y||y||y|
|Deliberately accessing or trying to access offensive or pornographic material||y||y||y||y||y|
Receipt or transmission of material that infringes the copyright of another person or infringes the Data Protection Act
|Incidents:||Refer to Headteacher||Refer to Police||Refer to Technical Support Staff for action re filtering etc||Warning||Suspension||Disciplinary action|
|Deliberately accessing or trying to access material that could be considered illegal (see list in earlier section on unsuitable / inappropriate activities).||y||y||y||y|
|Excessive or inappropriate personal use of the internet / social networking sites / instant messaging / personal email||y||y||y||y|
|Unauthorised downloading or uploading of files||y||y||y||y|
|Allowing others to access school network by sharing username and passwords or attempting to access or accessing the school network, using another person’s account||y||y||y||y|
|Careless use of personal data eg holding or transferring data in an insecure manner||y||y|
|Deliberate actions to breach data protection or network security rules||y||y||y|
|Corrupting or destroying the data of other users or causing deliberate damage to hardware or software||y||y||y||y|
|Sending an email, text or instant message that is regarded as offensive, harassment or of a bullying nature||y||y||y|
|Using personal email / social networking / instant messaging / text messaging to carrying out digital communications with pupils||y||y||y||y|
|Actions which could compromise the staff member’s professional standing||y||y||y|
|Actions which could bring the school into disrepute or breach the integrity of the ethos of the school||y||y||y|
|Using proxy sites or other means to subvert the school’s filtering system||y||y||y||y|
|Accidentally accessing offensive or pornographic material and failing to report the incident||y||y||y||y||y|
|Deliberately accessing or trying to access offensive or pornographic material||y||y||y||y|
|Breaching copyright or licensing regulations||y||y||y|
|Continued infringements of the above, following previous warnings or sanctions||
Schedule for Development / Monitoring / Review
|This e-safety policy was approved by the Governing Body on:|
|The implementation of this e-safety policy will be monitored by the:||ICT Coordinator and Headteacher|
|Monitoring and review of the policy will take place at regular intervals:||At least once a year (or more regularly in response to new government guidance or legislation)|
|The Governing Body will receive a report on the implementation of the e-safety policy at regular intervals:||At least once a year|
|Should serious e-safety incidents take place, the following external persons / agencies should be informed:||LA Safeguarding Officer, Police Commissioner’s Office|
The school will monitor the impact of the policy using:
- Logs of reported incidents
- Logs of internet activity (including sites visited)
- Internal monitoring data for network activity
- Surveys / questionnaires of pupils, parents / carers, staff