This analysis of data from the 360 Degree Safe draws from the self-review data of almost 7000 schools to consider the “state of the nation” related to online safety policy and practice. This fifth annual analysis shows, in general, an improving picture compared to previous years, with the data demonstrating increases in performance against 28 aspects related to online safety in schools. Similarly to previous years, strengths lie in policy and technical infrastructure, and weakness around training, evaluation and community engagement:
The strongest aspects being
- having effective connectivity and filtering in place;
- the scope of online safety covered in school policies;
- having effective Acceptable Usage Agreements in place;
- having policy addressing issues around digital images and video;
- having effective online safety policy in place.
The weakest are:
- effective engagement with the wider school community on issues related to online safety;
- the evaluation mechanisms in place to measure the impact of online safety policy and practice in schools;
- the effectiveness of training for school governors related to online safety;
- the effectiveness of training for staff on matters related to online safety
- having an effective online safety group which comprises stakeholders across the school setting.
In developing this analysis further we can see that:
- 60% of schools have excellent or good connectivity and filtering in place
- Over 50% have a detailed and effective Acceptable Usage Agreement in place
- Almost 50% have strong practice around the management of mobile devices
However, there are also statistics from this analysis that can cause grave concern:
- Almost 60% of schools have no engagement with the community on online safety issues
- 55% have carried out no governor training around online safety issues
- Over 50% have no staff training to date around online safety
- 30% have no governor involvement in the development of online safety policy or practice
Practice between primary and secondary schools shows some variation, which secondary settings generally being stronger in technical issues and management of mobile devices, while both share similar weaknesses around training and community engagement. More specifically:
- Almost 35% of primary schools have no policy around mobiles
- Over 40% of primary schools have only basic filtering in place, with 6% still not having any
- Over 60% of primary schools have no evaluation of impact of online safety incidents
- 54% of staff in primary schools have received no staff training around online safety
- Over 50% of secondary schools have strong policy around mobile devices.
- 30% of secondary do nothing with the community on online safety matters
- There are no secondary schools who demonstrate aspirational or innovating practice in engagement with the wider community
- In both phases over 50% of schools have no form of governor training around online safety in place
- Schools place more effort on parental engagement compared to staff professional development
This analysis has been evaluated against recent OFSTED data, which collected responses from 84 inspections across England in the first half of this year and finds a close marrying with the findings. We are clear in this state of the nation report that while schools are increasingly aware of online safety issues, reflected in their policy scope and development, they are less able to ensure effective training for both staff and governors, which does raise questions around the effectiveness of schools to engage with the ever changing issues that arise in this field.