Internet safety has been a key part of many schools’ agendas for almost a decade, but with the introduction of OFSTED’s latest safeguarding measures and the recent launch of the DfE’s Prevent Duty on schools as part of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, it’s now vital that every school has the knowledge, systems and protocols in place to safeguard their students.

Recent social, cultural and behavioural shifts, coupled with the explosion of content, the widespread availability of inappropriate material, growing concerns over online radicalisation and the rise in popularity of apps like Instagram, Snapchat and even Tinder have meant that schools need to stay ahead of the curve and ensure their staff have the proper training to keep students safe.

And whilst in recent years, RM Education’s annual survey has indicated that some schools were still viewing e-safety measures as a cost or an item to be ticked off a list, rather than a pedagogical responsibility, education specialists and internet safety advisors have identified a growing urgency amongst primary and secondary schools to invest in training, update their policies and embed internet safety into every aspect of their curriculum.

Something has happened in the last 18 months which has meant online safety has moved much higher up the agenda for schools.

In that time I’ve seen a growing number of schools suddenly becoming concerned that their policies are out of date, and realising they may need to invest in specialised training so they can take a far more proactive approach to online safety within their school.

I think in general, this reflects a more positive trend towards schools empowering themselves, and their students, to understand and minimise the risks.

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