This analysis of data from the 360 Degree Safe draws from the self review data of almost 10000 schools across the country to consider the “state of the nation” related to online safety policy and practice in English schools. This 8th review of the 360 degree safe database presents both familiar and novel findings. We see a similar and consistent shape to the data – we continue to see that some areas, such as filtering and monitoring, and a number of policy aspects are growing in strength, which is encouraging as policy is needed as part of the foundation for effective and consistent online safety practice in schools.
Areas of strength are:
- Almost 70% of all establishments have at least coherent and embedded filtering and monitoring, which is encouraging given the statutory requirements on schools for these technical interventions
- Over 70% of establishments have at least coherent and embedded policy scope, which is encouraging as policy contributes toward clear and consistent practice in the setting.
- Over 80% of settings have at least basic policy around mobile devices in the school setting
- While Parental Engagement is a weak aspect, with a large number of schools only having “basic” practice in place, at least they have something in place and information about online safety is passed to parents in a lot of schools.
However, there are also areas of concern, primarily around training and the development of knowledge in the wider community:
- 50% have carried out no governor training around online safety issues with only a slight improvement on 2017
- 43% have no staff training to date around online safety, although this has improved on 47% in 2017. Staff training remains consistently one of the weakest aspects
- The majority (54%) of schools are not evaluating the impact of their online safety efforts.
- Whilst there has been a 2% improvement, it remains that 30% of schools have insufficient data protection provision.
The issue with training is something that continues to cause concern and we will continue to raise as this is the other part of the foundation of effective online safety practice. Without effective knowledge by staff, and those who scrutinize the staff, we cannot hope to have effective practice. We know from our work with young people that one of the things they call for is knowledgeable and understanding staff. If over 40% of schools have no staff training programme in place, not only are the failing in their statutory duties, but it is unlikely they would be able to effectively support young people in their care when addressing online safety incidents. Schools need effective training to deliver online safety and ensure young people and the wider school community engage with the online world in a resilient and risk mitigating manner.