As part of our extensive work with 360 Degree Safe 2.0, SWGfL offer schools the opportunity for external validation and celebration through the award of the Online Safety Mark. Schools that reach the required benchmark levels in the tool can apply for an assessment. To date, 433 schools from all over the UK have received the award.
What is it used for?
Our assessments are there to confirm the progress that has been made with their online safety provision, suggest how they could improve in the future and celebrate the good practice. Our dedicated work in this field has always been to make sure that everyone can benefit from technology free from harm as well as helping schools to be the best they can possibly be when it comes to online safety.
Up until now, an OSM assessment process would involve an external visit from one of our online safety assessors who would work with the school to meet a wide range of people – staff, children, parents and governors to assess the school’s online safety provision.
What has changed?
Due to the current lockdown restrictions and with many schools only being open for smaller groups of pupils in the past few months, SWGfL have been unable to carry out our regular practice of visiting schools in person. Was that going to stop us though? A milestone was achieved last month when we carried out our first ever remote assessment at the Stour Federation in Warwickshire, made up of Shipston Primary School and Acorns Primary School.
With a steady flow of emails and video conferencing, we were able to carry out the Online Safety Mark as if we were stood right there next to them. Documents could be shared via Google Meets and our assessors were able to communicate effectively to staff whilst making them feel comfortable in the rather unfamiliar setup. Although we weren’t there, we were still able to effectively offer our guidance on where they excelled and where they might improve:
During the assessment, we think it brought to our attention how well we are set up for home learning and communicating important messages to children and parents, while they are at home. Also, we realised how important our school website is through this time and how we have to make sure it’s relevant and up to date.
Feedback has also been exceptionally positive, particularly with the way our assessors handled the session, regularly being marked as ‘Excellent’ throughout. Not only that, but the structure of having the assessment done remotely was deemed an effective method for the time:
It was exciting to be a part of this first ‘remote assessment’ process and we hope it will open up opportunities to roll out the assessment further afield as the effectiveness of this has been shown.
This successful first remote assessment confirmed that there was no loss of rigour or quality in the process. From this, we are confident that we can offer remote assessments more widely to further schools.
We are also pleased to let you know that a second successful remote assessment took place this week – at Deer Park Primary School in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where the school was able to show the assessor their excellent online safety provision.
Congratulations to the Stour Federation and to Deer Park Primary School. If other schools would like to apply for a remote assessment in the coming months they should contact us on email@example.com or to learn more about 360 Degree Safe click the button below.