Despite more recent references to eSafety by Ofsted in ‘Inspecting Safeguarding’ from September 2014, it is clear that inspectors are still using the ‘Inspecting eSafety’ document released in April 2014.
In the later document, the focus is more general yet it still gives schools a clear direction on how to prepare for an inspection:
Extract from Ofsted: Inspecting Safeguarding, September 2014
Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It relates to aspects of school life including internet or eSafety. Inspectors should include e-safety in their discussions with pupils (covering topics such as safe use of the internet and social networking sites, cyber bullying, including by text message) and what measures the school takes to promote safe use and combat unsafe use, both proactively (by preparing pupils to engage in e-systems) and reactively (by helping them to deal with a situation when something goes wrong)."
The more specific eSafety document from April last year has clear questions which could be used during an inspection.
A 2015 primary school 'Safeguarding' themed inspection resulted in a governor at the school being asked these specific questions:
Does the school have a specific and discrete eSafety policy?
The answer should be yes but the HfL Acceptable Use Policy is available on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning (Grid) website if you need to update your policy. Visit the Grid: eSafety policies
Is online safety taught in computing lessons?
Refer the inspector to your Computing Learning Programme, which may well be the Herts Primary Computing Scheme, where eSafety and risk awareness is embedded throughout. Visit the Grid: ICT: scheme of work
Are eSafety principles reiterated whenever computers are used in a lesson? For example ‘If a website which you don’t know pops up on your screen remember that you must tell your teacher straight away’
A reasonable response could be that teachers always ensure eSafety best practice reminders are provided verbally or visually in every session.
Have governors received eSafety training?
HfL offer staff and/or governor training sessions if in-house sessions are not an option
Have parents had the opportunity to receive eSafety training?
You should have a record of eSafety sessions. For information on what HfL offer, please: Visit the Grid: Safety: training and consultancy
What this means:
Not only do schools need to provide a satisfactory answer to these questions, all staff and governors will need to be briefed for a potential meeting with an inspector. All staff as well as governors should be in a position to articulate the answers to these questions.
What can you do about this:
Ensure that you have addressed all of the issues raised in the questions above
- Check the most recent Ofsted documents referring to eSafety
- Ensure that staff training is up-to-date and recorded centrally
- The Computing curriculum ensures that this is the case but assessment will ensure that children will be able to offer the appropriate responses if questioned.
- eSafety sessions should be additional to, and not a replacement for, sound and regular eSafety update, training and sessions.
If in doubt, contact Richard Maskrey, eSafety Adviser at HfL who can offer you the required assistance firstname.lastname@example.org
Ofsted: Inspecting Safeguarding in Maintained Schools and Academies
- Ofsted: Inspecting safeguarding in maintainted schools and academies: briefing for section 5 inspections
Ofsted: Inspecting e-Safety in Schools (April 2014)
Although no longer available on the Ofsted website, inspectors could still refer to this for guidance:
- Ofsted: Inspecting e-safety in schools (pdf/327kb)