Online safety lessons failing to reach more than one in four secondary pupils, Ofsted warns

3rd July 2015 at 17:31
computing, online safety, safeguarding, ofsted, online bullying, sexting

More than a quarter of secondary pupils cannot recall whether or not they have been taught about online safety within the last year, a new Ofsted survey reveals.

And a similar number have little confidence in their teachers’ knowledge of online safety issues.

In a talk delivered during a summit on child internet safety today, Ofsted inspector David Brown presented information gathered from 39 primary and 45 secondary schools during school inspections.

He revealed that 95 per cent of all schools had an online safety policy. However, pupils were not always aware of these policies. In secondaries, Ofsted found that 27 per cent of pupils could not recall whether they had been taught about online safety during the preceding 12 months.

Three-quarters (76 per cent) of pupils, both at primary and secondary level, said they were not involved in the design and development of such policies.

Lessons in online safety were mostly delivered during computing or ICT lessons, or in school assemblies. The issue was also discussed during PSHE lessons. But training in the subject was inconsistent. In some cases, senior leaders believed that staff had been sufficiently trained, but this viewpoint was not echoed by the teachers themselves.

In secondaries, 28 per cent of pupils said that they did not have confidence in their teachers’ understanding of online safety.

Mr Brown pointed out that in schools with effective internet policies, “adults understand the risks posed by adults or learners who use technology, including the internet, to bully, groom, radicalise or abuse children or learners."

In addition, these schools would have “well developed strategies in place to keep children and learners safe, and to support them to develop their own understanding of these risks, and in learning how to keep themselves safe.”   

When judging schools’ internet safety policies, Mr Brown said, inspectors would always examine children’s understanding of how to keep themselves safe from risks online.



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