Whether you’re unsure where to start since the new statutory guidance came into effect, or you’re uncertain of just how robust your online safety provision actually is, we can help.
Our Online Safety Review is a safe self-review tool that will help you review your online safety policy and practice. It provides:
You may also be interested in taking our Data Protection Review and Cyber Security Review for further advice.
Your review will be full of key hints and tips to help you appraise how well prepared your MAT is today.
Understand the responsibility matrix for safeguarding
That’s right - ultimately the CEO, as leader of the MAT board, is legally responsible for safeguarding in the MAT. It is important that the board has a clear and defined strategy in this area and that the CEO/board regularly check to ensure safeguarding is as effective as it can be for the trust and schools. (Further information can be found in the governance handbook January 2017 and in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE).)
Policies, practice and reporting escalation routes are key to a robust strategy. The MAT should consider a range of incidents when compiling their policies and reporting routes to ensure that they are seamless and effective.
Regularly reviewing the policies, reporting strategies and the types of incidents that the trust has faced is key in ensuring that everything is in place and functioning correctly. When incidents occur it is imperative that the trust review if additional policies, reporting routes, information, advice and guidance (IAG), training etc. could be put into effect to reduce or stop incidents from occurring.
No - the DSL is an important person in the safeguarding strategy but ultimately the CEO, as leader of the MAT board, is legally responsible for safeguarding in the MAT. It is important that the board has a clear and defined strategy in this area and that the CEO/board regularly check to ensure safeguarding is as effective as it can be for the trust and schools. (Further information can be found in the governance handbook January 2017 and in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE).)
No - the DPO is an important person in the safeguarding strategy but ultimately the CEO, as leader of the MAT board, is legally responsible for safeguarding in the MAT. It is important that the board has a clear and defined strategy in this area and that the CEO/board regularly check to ensure safeguarding is as effective as it can be for the trust and schools. (Further information can be found in the governance handbook January 2017 and in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE).)
Create a MAT strategy for safeguarding.
Ensure that your MAT strategy is embedded within all of your academies.
Ensure that your strategy is regularly reviewed and updated – at least every 12 months.
Having a clear and defined strategy is very important and allows you to have consistency of approach across your MAT. It also ensures that all of your academies are working to the same strategy and vision.
It is important for you to review this strategy on a regular basis to ensure it continues to be as effective as possible.
Communicating your strategy is important and ensures that all academies are working to the same set of objectives and that they are consistent in how they approach safeguarding.
The MAT DSL should create regular bulletins and newsletters for academy DSLs.
Ensure the MAT DSL facilitates the adoption of the trust-wide strategy.
The MAT DSL should hold regular training sessions for the academy DSLs as frequently as once a term.
It is important to have a MAT DSL who can ensure the strategy for safeguarding is adopted and delivered within each academy. It is important for there to be a single point of contact for academies to escalate issues and seek further advice and guidance (in line with the policies and procedures).
The MAT DSL can liaise with the academy-based DSL on approaches to issues and other academy-based actions.
To ensure that the academy-based DSLs have relevant and current information, the MAT DSL could have a termly update meeting with academy DSLs and publish regular newsletters or bulletins to keep staff up-to-date around issues facing the trust.
Information, advice and guidance (IAG) can be given out to all areas of the academy community and tailored to the individual needs of the academy.
Create a review schedule for all policies and documents when they have been updated.
Create a clearly defined set of policies for your academies to use and ensure they are implemented.
Ensure all the policies are cross referenced.
It is crucial to have a clear, defined set of policies that are regularly reviewed. If any incidents occur it is very important to look at the policies again and review to see if improvements can be made.
All of your policies should cross reference other appropriate policies such as Behaviour Policies, Acceptable Use Policies, etc.
Documenting when your policies have been reviewed is important so you can demonstrate the improvements in your policies in line with issues you have had within the trust.
It is crucial to have a clear, defined set of policies that are regularly reviewed. These should be created, reviewed and approved by the trust before being shared and implemented in your academies.
If any incidents occur it is very important to look at the policies again and review to see if improvements can be made.
Create AUPs for all community members including MAT staff, academy staff, parents, board members and students
Review all AUPs annually and more frequently if needed to ensure effectiveness of the policy.
Having AUPs for all of your community including MAT staff, academy staff and students, parents and board members is important and will ensure that clear expectations are communicated across the MAT.
It is important that these AUPs are reviewed at least every 12 months.
Review the market for filtering and monitoring software to meet your MAT safeguarding monitoring requirements.
Regularly review and document the effectiveness of the monitoring and filtering software.
Develop a localised threat library to assist in the identification of issues in your MAT.
Schedule regular meetings with the monitoring and filtering suppliers to ensure the tools are fit for purpose and as effective as they can be across your MAT.
Using filtering tools and monitoring tools is important to ensure you capture all issues on your network. It is really important that these tools are regularly reviewed and updated in line with new threats.
It’s important to offer age-appropriate filtering in school so access to content is suitable for different age groups without limiting the power of the internet.
The DfE recommends ‘age appropriate filtering without overblocking’ so every school needs to be sure they have the control to meet this requirement.
Getting involved in creating localised threat libraries in your monitoring and filtering solutions is key and can help you capture localised terminology which might have been previously missed.
Work closely with your monitoring provider to ensure the tool meets your needs and the escalation policies are working and effective.
It is important that time is allocated to go through the reports on a daily and weekly basis so that safeguarding issues are picked up quickly and dealt with effectively in the academy and trust.
Classroom monitoring is useful and can help in locating issues in that lesson, but it is not always going to be effective and cannot be conducted at every time of the day on every device on the network. It may be worth considering monitoring solutions which can aid in monitoring the network for safeguarding issues and reporting them effectively and quickly.
It is important that time is allocated to go through the reports on a daily and weekly basis so that safeguarding issues are picked up quickly and dealt with effectively in the trust.
Create a clear incident management procedure.
Implement the incident management procedure across all academies in the trust.
Create a MAT incident management flowchart and one for academies.
Having clear lines of incident management is very important and can make sure that all incidents are managed in a specific and effective way.
It is important that these incident management procedures are regularly reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose.
It is recommended that the trust and academies use a flowchart incident management diagram. This can be displayed in the staff room, making sure staff are familiar with what they need to do in the event of an online safety incident.
It is important to ensure that all members of the staff community are aware of the incident management procedures and that they are adhered to at all times.
It is important to ensure that all procedures are updated in line with new legislation and advice documents such as sexting guidance and KCSiE/WTSC (Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children).
It is crucial that the incident management procedures are implemented and understood across the MAT and that any updates are properly communicated to all staff.
Schedule regular meetings of all academy DSLs to share key issues.
Create a newsletter or bulletin to share key issues and information, advice and guidance.
Create an online safety committee to share key issues and look at trends.
MAT academy DSLs should meet on a regular basis to share information, advice and guidance across the MAT. This sharing enables all academies to be better equipped to deal with specific issues.
Newsletters and bulletins can also be another way of sharing key issues and sharing resources to deal with these issues.
Having an Online Safety Committee across your trust including students, parents, board members and staff can help to raise key issues and identify the trends for the students in your trust.
Compile a training schedule for all community members and log attendance and training delivered.
Schedule regular workshops for parents.
Schedule regular workshops for staff.
Schedule regular workshops for students.
Schedule regular workshops for board members.
Create a survey for all community members to ensure the workshops are relevant.
Add links to the website for students to use when the school is shut. Example: CEOP report abuse/Childline etc.
Create a robust curriculum which develops digital resilience in students.
Holding regular workshops for all community members is really important. Workshops should be delivered to board members, teachers, parents and students.
Engagement with parents can sometimes be hard, so delivering workshops around parents’ evenings, performances etc. can be useful and bring larger audiences.
Giving information, advice and guidance via the academy website can also be useful.
A training programme should be created to keep a log of all sessions that have happened and their focus.
A regular survey of all community members will ensure that you are creating relevant and appropriate materials in the area of safeguarding.
Having links to other websites on your MAT/academy websites to help students with issues is really useful too, and can give much-needed advice when the academy is closed in the evenings, at weekends or during the holidays.
Having a programme of sessions for the students is crucial. A clear set of assemblies combined with a variety of different lessons on digital resilience will empower students to be able to use digital technologies safely and effectively. This can be delivered through a variety of lessons, for example PSHE.
Having links to other websites on your MAT/academy websites to help students with issues is really useful too, and can give much- needed advice when the academy is closed in the evenings, at weekends or during the holidays.