In March, this year the DfE launched an additional set of Education Technology standards. Building on the existing standards, they aim to further help schools develop safer safeguarding strategies. One key development includes strengthening the safeguarding of pupils from potentially harmful online content.
The newly launched Safeguarding Incident Management Platform by Schools Broadband is a tool that will help schools’ safeguarding leads meet the new standards.
New DfE safeguarding monitoring standards
The new standards state that schools should have effective monitoring strategies: “Monitoring user activity on school and college devices is an important part of providing a safe environment for children and staff. Monitoring allows you to review user activity on school and college devices, and for this to be effective it must pick up incidents urgently, usually through alerts or observations, allowing you to take prompt action and record the outcome.”
Who is responsible for managing online safeguarding?
The standards say that filtering and monitoring technologies are crucial when it comes to safeguarding pupils online, as are school staff who take on the responsibility. From Designated Safeguarding Leads, Senior Leadership Teams, and Governing bodies, safeguarding now firmly requires a whole school commitment and approach.
Governing bodies and proprietors have overall strategic responsibility for safeguarding in schools, Senior Leadership Teams are responsible for the procurement of systems and filtering decisions, and Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) should lead on the day-to-day responsibility for safeguarding and online safety. The standards emphasise the importance of both safeguarding and IT staff working closely together to use expertise and technology to improve safeguarding.
Using technology to support the effective management of online safeguarding
David Tindall, CEO of Schools Broadband says; “The ever-increasing use of digital devices among school children and young people makes the Safeguarding Lead’s job more challenging year by year. Not only can it be harder for smaller schools where resources are stretched, staff may not always have the time, understanding or skillsets to effectively manage and review pupils’ internet activity. Online safeguarding involves a lot of work.”
“That’s why it’s essential that tech’ companies like Schools Broadband do everything we can to help schools and Safeguarding Leads identify immediately when a child may need help. To do this, it’s important to distinguish between ‘filtering’ and ‘safeguarding; they are two very different things. A filtering system filters out harmful content to make it inaccessible; a safeguarding solution alerts staff to harmful content that children are attempting to look at. Many filtering solutions will flag a problem in a report days later. By then the pupil in question may have attempted to view the information again.”
The Safeguarding Incident Management Platform supports schools in managing online safeguarding effectively with a range of features including instant real-time alerts on keyword searches and visited sites of interest, case management, risk assessment, and data analysis.
Capturing all the relevant contextual details of an incident, showing searches made both before and after, alerts include the date, time, and location, as well as the nature of the incident. Immediate alerts to Safeguarding leads allow close and accurate monitoring as well as immediate intervention if required.
The platform collects data on all reported incidents providing insights into online safeguarding trends and patterns helping schools identify areas of concern and take proactive measures to prevent incidents from occurring.
Schools Broadband CEO David Tindall adds: “The Safeguarding Incident Management Platform provides a robust and comprehensive framework to help schools protect children and young people from harm. By responding to online safeguarding incidents immediately schools will not only meet the updated DfE standards, they will have one of the best mechanisms to identify when someone needs help.”
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