With the rise of cybercrime and recent increases in school data being compromised, the focus on strengthening efforts to protect educational establishments is becoming more and more essential. Ensuring that your policy set is capable of responding to a range of incidents is important to provide the structure to respond appropriately.
Whilst our focus may be on external threats, computer misuse within the school community is still a notable risk that can potentially lead to damaging consequences if not managed correctly. To respond to this, SWGfL have worked with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) to produce a new Computer Misuse and Cyber Choices policy template for UK Schools.
While many students will be developing their knowledge of technology throughout their school experience, a lot of pupils will already be extremely adept at navigating computer systems. Those with high IQs and an interest in technology may even go beyond acceptable behaviours and take risky actions such as attempting to hack devices, install viruses and corrupt entire school systems. Despite having the knowledge to carry out these acts, many students will not be aware of what the law is and may not even be aware that in many of these situations, a crime has been committed and they are in fact accountable.
Professionals as well may not fully understand what constitutes a crime and whether something solely falls under a safeguarding concern or a matter that is in fact illegal and needs escalating further. If a crime has been committed or there is a distinct concern about criminal activity taking place, educators also need knowledge of where to go to for support.
New Policy Template
This new policy template can guide educators around what to be aware of when it comes to computer misuse. Included are expectations that staff need to be aware of, such as understanding the Computer Misuse Act 1990 as well as having awareness of the Cyber Choices programme for referrals. As well, having awareness of who the point of contact is at their local Regional Organised Crime Unit and ensuring that learners agree to the schools Acceptable Use Policy that outlines expected behaviours and what constitutes illegal activity.
This policy template is available as a free downloadable document under Appendix 9 of our online safety policy templates. For more information, you can also find a range of additional policy templates that were updated for September 2023 that cover a range of online safety issues.