Even with good policies in place, it’s likely that e-safety incidents will still happen from time to time.
A detailed AUP should outline unacceptable behaviours online and the sanctions in place should the AUP be breached.
A detailed e-safety policy document will also outline the procedure for reporting an e-safety incident. All school staff must understand this procedure.
The first port of call for reporting an e-safety incident should be the e-safety co-ordinator. They will log what has taken place and may suggest action. Other parties may need to become involved such as senior school staff or the police.
All e-safety incidents are different are there are a number of different factors at play each time. Therefore, each incident requires an individual response. You’ll need to consider these scenarios:
- Inappropriate material: Was it deliberate or accidental?
- Illegal material: How was access to illegal material made possible? Senior staff and external agencies will usually need to be involved when illegal material is accessed.
- Network misuse: This could include hacking, virus issues or tampering with safety settings
- Bullying/harassment: Responses to cyberbullying should be in line with the overall anti-bullying policy.
- Sexual exploitation: Senior leaders and external agencies will need to be involved in the case of a serious offence such as this.
Preparing for incidents
Preparation for e-safety incidents should be in line with general safeguarding procedures in the school. The response model must be capable of handling a wide range of issues and take into account the various people who may be involved.
It is recommended that you contact your local safeguarding children board to make sure your policies reflect the ones at local level.
The following resources, created by councils, may be useful:
- East Sussex County Council: E-safety
- Hertfordshire Grid for Learning: Responding to an e-safety incident
- Kent County Council: Children’s Safeguards Unit – Policy and guidance
- Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board: Responding to an incident of concern
Elaine Gill, Headteacher, Shiphay School
When it comes to monitoring issues around e-safety and reporting those we’ve identified a clear procedure as to what colleagues need to do if they’re in the least bit concerned. We’re utilising the skills of our network manager to be that first gatekeeper of information.
He keeps a written record and that gets reviewed by our e-safety co-ordinator and then issues are raised through that monitoring through SLT and through me. If there are any concerns about child protection then those are picked up by a designated officer and taken on.