Important updates to the 360safe Cymru online safety self-review tool – Frequently Asked Questions

This article is also available in Welsh.

We are pleased to announce that an updated and improved version of our award-winning online safety tool 360 safe Cymru will be launched in March. You can find out why the tool is changing here.

Guidance for existing users on updated version of the 360 safe Cymru tool 

As one of the 1,400+ schools already using 360 safe Cymru, there are probably a few questions you have regarding the new and improved version of this online safety self-review tool. Here we go through the most commonly asked questions and explain how 360 safe Cymru has improved.

What is new?

  • There are now 21 aspects instead of 28, making the content more focussed and simpler to use. Please see the diagram at the end of the article to see how these aspects are structured in the new tool.
  • The level statements and improvement actions have all been updated to reflect changes in technology, behaviours, legislation and statutory guidance.
  • The Online Safety Mark benchmark level has been increased from level 3 to level 2 in five aspects (Technical Security; Data Security; Staff; Agencies; and Outcomes/Impact). This ensuresthat the benchmark level is consistent across the tool.

What has happened to your data in the ‘old’ tool?

  • Your chosen levels and commentary have been transferred from the nearest equivalent aspect in the old tool to the new aspect in the new tool. Please see the table later in the article to see how aspects have been merged and data migrated.
  • The only exception to this is the new Monitoring aspect. Here the chosen level has been copied from the old Filtering and Monitoring aspect, but not the commentary.
  • To check how your data has been migrated in each aspect, please click on the orange bar at the top of each aspect review page which states: “This aspect has been updated since you last reviewed it. Review the changes here.” This will explain how the data in the new aspect has been transferred and whether there is a change to the benchmark level.

Can I still see my old data?

  • Yes, you can print your “Detailed Summary Review” from the Reports section of the tool and you can select a historical date for the report.

Will it be harder to reach the new benchmark levels?

  • Generally, no, as the new benchmark level should be no harder to reach as we have adjusted the level statements to keep the requirements similar. The exception to this is the Data Protection benchmark level statement, which is more stringent because of the recent changes in data protection legislation and related guidance.

What should existing users do next?

  • Now is the time for you to update your review so that you can check your online safety policy and provision meets the latest guidance and good practice.
  • Carefully check the level statements to ensure that the level you have chosen previously is still relevant.
  • Read the improvement actions to see what you might include in your action plans to move to the next level in each aspect and prioritise these.
  • If you are considering an application for an Online Safety Mark assessment or re-assessment check that you meet the new benchmark levels and that your commentary describes clearly how your provision matches the benchmark level statement.
  • Review your school’s 360 safe Cymru users in User Manager and update/manage permissions as appropriate.

Can schools apply for the Online Safety Mark at present?

  • Yes, applications are still being accepted and are very welcome.
  • If you are due to be re-assessed (after three years) you are encouraged to update your review in the new tool and apply on the application form for re-assessment (which can be found on the Accreditation/Online Safety Mark page in the tool).
  • Given the current circumstances facing schools we are willing to extend the expiry date of your award – please email to discuss.
  • If you are applying for the first time, you need to check that in your review you meet the new benchmark levels and that your commentary describes clearly how your provision matches the benchmark level statement.  You will then need to apply using the online form on the Online Safety Mark page in the tool.
  • To compensate for the difficulties schools may face currently in applying for the award, we are offering remote assessments in place of an Assessor visit.

Can schools be assessed against the previous version of the tool?

  • We would encourage schools to update their review and be assessed against the new criteria.
  • However, it will be possible for schools, who are already working toward an assessment, to be assessed against the previous criteria until the end of the summer term 2021 should they so wish. We would use the “historic report” for the school at the time the tool was updated. We would expect that report to have been recently reviewed by the school prior to the update – otherwise it would be out of date by the time of the assessment.

How has the old data been migrated to the aspects in the new tool?

Details of the merging of aspects in the updated 360 safe Cymru tool

Existing Element

Existing Strand

Existing Aspects


New Aspects

Policy & Leadership


Online Safety Group

Online Safety Group

Online Safety responsibilities

Online Safety responsibilities



Acceptable use

Acceptable use

Policy development

Online safety policy

Policy scope

Whole school


Reporting and responding

Developing a culture of safe and responsible use

Self Evaluation

Communications & communications technologies

Digital & video images

Digital & video images

Social media

Social media

Mobile technology

Mobile technology

Professional standards

Professional standards

Public online communications

Online publishing



Password security

Technical security


Technical security

Filtering and monitoring



Data protection

Data security



Digital literacy

Online safety education programme

Online safety education

Contribution of learners

Contribution of learners


Staff Training



Governor Education


Parents & carers

Parental engagement



Community engagement


Standards & inspection


Monitoring and recording of OS incidents

Impact of the online safety policy & practice

Impact of the online safety policy & practice

How do the new aspects appear in the new tool?

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