The consultation for changes to the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ has concluded with the government publishing changes that come into effect on September 5th 2016. This article discusses what the guidance means for schools and is Part 2 of a series of three blogs:
Part 2 - What does the guidance mean and how should my school assess the impact
For background information you may find it useful to read our blog on the draft Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance.
What does the guidance mean and how should your school assess the impact
The guidance takes effect from September 5th 2016, leaving schools with the short time between now and the end of the summer break to ensure they comply with the requirements. Schools are expected to follow and demonstrate their compliance with this guidance.
The guidance requires schools to put in place an effective and appropriate whole school approach to online safety. Previous guidance has been focussed on Prevent, but this updated guidance is all encompassing, requiring schools to link together technology, people, policy, processes and procedures. It highlights each school as different and requires each school to determine its own interpretation of the content. This should be done by considering the age of pupils, number of pupils, how often they access the school's IT system and the proportionality of costs vs. risks. Throughout the guidance there is specific reference to the need for schools to assess risks and put appropriate measures in place.
In assessing the impact of the guidance, schools need to be asking themselves questions such as:
- What can children access online from school, how do they do this and when do they do it?
- What risks are created through the type and frequency of online access children have at school?
- What is taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding and how do our systems enable the school to be effective in doing this?
- Who is responsible for managing online access and are they sufficiently qualified in safeguarding to manage the risks to the school?
- What policies, processes and procedures exist to proactively identify children who are at risk of harm through online use?
- What policies are in place to differentiate between groups of users groups?
- What training is required, who requires this training and how do we sustain continued professional development around safeguarding?
The above questions have been identified as a direct result of us assessing and interpreting the guidance and is an approach we take within our ICT and safeguarding Health Check.
In conducting the impact of the guidance, schools need to assess whether changes are needed to their technical systems, policies, processes and procedures. Given the requirements of the guidance this may mean schools need to undertaken an in depth assessment in each of these areas. In short, the expectation is that the school has a system that identifies and profiles children at risk, creating alerts that are then actively assessed and managed. The word ‘system’ is a reference to a mix of technology, policies, processes and procedures. Schools need to undertake an assessment of each of these to understand whether they are fit for purpose and appropriate given the updated guidance.
The implications of the update need careful consideration.Part 3 of this series of blogs explores what the guidance means to schools and how schools should assess its impact.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our ICT and Safeguarding Health Checks.
For immediate support on what this guidance means for your school from September 5th 2016, get in touch:
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