Online SafetyOnline Safety FAQs

Below are some answers to the questions the Online Safety team get asked most frequenty. If you have a question that is not anwered here, please contact us at

What is the headteachers responsibility?

The Headteacher is responsible, through the legal duty of care, for ensuring that all pupils and staff are safe. This includes protecting staff and pupils from the dangers associated with electronic communications.

It is the duty of the Headteacher to ensure that all staff are aware of the possible dangers associated with electronic communications, and the means for ensuring safe usage. The head teacher may, however, delegate day to day management of e-safety issues to a member of staff who is sufficiently knowledgeable, trained and competent.

It is also the responsibility of the governing body to ensure that policies are followed to ensure the safety of the school community.

Access our Online Safety Resources

What do you mean by electronic communications?

Electronic communications encompass internet technologies such as: The World Wide Web, Chat rooms, E-mail, Instant messaging, Blogs, Social sites.

Digital photography, video and sound recording can also be captured and copied to portable players (MP3 players, iPods etc). Mobile phones provide similar functions through texting, taking and sending photos and video clips. Handheld computing devices also combine many of these technologies.

All of these technologies make a positive contribution to the world and education, but all are equally capable of being abused.

What are the risks that pupils face?

If precautions are not taken, these technologies can expose pupils to hostile individuals, including sexual predators, who can form relationships with pupils, sometimes using false identities or posing as a child. This is known as grooming.

The technologies can expose pupils to pornography and pornographers, to materials extolling violence, drugs or prejudice hatred. The technologies can also enable bullying.

What are the risks for school staff?

There have been cases reported of adults being bullied or harassed at work through these technologies.

It is also the case that the school environment can provide some adults with the opportunity to exploit the technologies for their own inappropriate purposes. These include downloading or publishing offensive or illegal materials and initiating improper contacts with young people.

Staff are also vulnerable if they are singly responsible for the administration of passwords and filtering.

What should I do if I suspect or discover illegal activity on the web?

Discovery of indecent material within the school's network is a very serious situation, and must always be reported to the police.

It is important that the material is not downloaded, printed or sent by email, because doing so will be an offence in itself. If at all possible, do absolutely nothing to the suspect computer or computers, including turning them on or off. It may be necessary to shut down the whole network, but do not do this unless instructed by the police.

Ensure that everyone is kept away and that nothing is touched. Under no circumstances should the internet safety co-ordinator, network manager or headteacher attempt to conduct an investigation of their own, or bring in an outside 'expert' to do so, as this may compromise the evidence if a legal case were to result. In some cases this may constitute a criminal offence in itself.

It is essential that evidence is preserved.

What do I do if I suspect or discover unacceptable activity?

Follow the agreed course of action in your Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

If there is no specific reference to help you in your AUP, you may find support in your Anti-bullying Policy or PSHE Policy. 

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