School eSafety Policies have had to develop rapidly because stakeholders can today access the internet in a multitude of ways from the school premises. We all live with digital technologies as part of our daily lives. To ensure our children know how to best harness the opportunities available through digital technologies, they need to know and understand how to use them, now more than ever. To ensure that this is done in the safest and most secure environment possible, whether in the home, in school, or when they’re out and about with friends or alone, all schools need to have a clear and concise School Policy that pays attention to all aspects of eSafety.
- While safety is the responsibility of every teacher in the school, the School eSafety Policy needs to have one single lead person responsible for its implementation, review and action. This person, sometimes called the eSafety Coordinator, will oversee the implementation and monitoring of the School eSafety Policy and report to the eSafety Committee and Headteacher at least once per year, or more regularly in the light of any significant new developments in the use of the technologies, new threats to eSafety or where incidents have taken place.
- The School eSafety Policy needs to keep pace with digital developments and new trends relevant to the safety and security of staff, students and parents and the reputation and future of the school.
- Legislation to which reference is made in the School eSafety Policy needs to be cited during briefings on what the Policy covers, e.g. appropriate behaviour, sharing of information or illegal images, among others.
- The School eSafety Policy must be robust and consistent in key eSafety areas, while encouraging pupils’ awareness of a healthy use of online technologies.
- Fit for purpose – the School eSafety Policy should be coherent with the AUP and with other safety-related policies within the school, e.g. on child protection, anti-social behaviour or anti-bullying.
- Encourage stakeholder involvement - it is recommended that all stakeholders should be involved in the creation of the policy: students, staff, parents and members of the wider community. This will help to ensure that all groups have ownership over certain parts of the policy and as such they are more likely to adhere to it.
- Clear and concise – the School eSafety policy must be in easy-to understand non-technical language with clear guidelines that ensure all staff and students know what is expected from them.