According to the BBC News this morning:
Blocking pupils’ access to unsuitable websites does not encourage them to take responsibility for their safety online, Ofsted inspectors say.
"Managed" online systems were more successful than "locked" ones at safeguarding pupils’ safety, they said.
In a report, Ofsted said the area most in need of improvement was online safety training for teaching staff.
The report was published in E-safety Week, which aims to raise awareness of some of the dangers of technologies.
Ofsted inspectors visited 33 primary and secondary schools, a special school and a pupil referral unit and found e-safety was outstanding in five, good in 16, satisfactory in 13 and inadequate in one.
The five schools judged outstanding for online safety all used managed systems to help pupils become responsible users of technology.
Where the provision for e-safety was outstanding, the schools had managed rather than locked down systems
In the report, they identified a number of key findings, which included that outstanding schools shared responsibility for e-safety across the school, and that pupils in the schools that had ‘managed’ systems had better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe than those in schools with ‘locked down’ systems. They also noted that pupils were more vulnerable overall when schools used locked down systems because they were not given enough opportunities to learn how to assess and manage risk for themselves.
The weakest aspect of provision in the 35 schools visited was the extent and quality of their training for staff. Typically, it didn’t involve all the staff and was not provided systematically. Even the schools that organised training for all their staff did not always monitor its impact systematically.
In addition to three specific recommendations for the DCSF, working with Becta, CEOP and local authorities, Ofsted also identified 7 recommendations for schools. (Is it me, or is that a little unfair – just 3 recommendations for the whole government, and 7 for each school?)
Ofsted said that schools should:
- audit the training needs of all staff and provide training to improve their knowledge of and expertise in the safe and appropriate use of new technologies
- work closely with all families to help them ensure that their children use new technologies safely and responsibly both at home and at school
- use pupils’ and families’ views more often to develop e-safety strategies manage the transition from locked down systems to more managed systems to help pupils understand how to manage risk; to provide them with richer learning experiences; and to bridge the gap between systems at school and the more open systems outside school
- provide an age-related, comprehensive curriculum for e-safety which enables pupils to become safe and responsible users of new technologies
- work with their partners and other providers to ensure that pupils who receive part of their education away from school are e-safe
- systematically review and develop their e-safety procedures, including training, to ensure that they have a positive impact on pupils’ knowledge and understanding.
You may want to download Ofsted’s full report “The safe use of new technologies (PDF)” and send it on to the right senior manager in your school.
For some help in identifying good curriculum e-safety resources, a great starting place is the Think U Know website, which has specific teacher resources for each age range.