Ofsted describes e-safety as a school's ability to protect and educate pupils and staff in their use of technology, and to have mechanisms to intervene and support any incident, where appropriate. 

Early Years, schools and college settings can find guidance and information below on statutory requirements and how they will be judged on meeting these by Ofsted. 

Keeping children safe in education

The statutory guidance for schools and colleges on Keeping children safe in education notes that "as schools and colleges increasingly work online it is essential that children are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. As such governing bodies and proprietors should ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place."

Annex C of the guidance is on online safety and covers three areas of risk:

  • content - being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material;
  • contact - being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; and
  • conduct - personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm.

Schools are able to use the free online safety self-review tool for schools provided by 360safe to aid in their review of online safety policies and practice. 

Guidance for School Governors

The DfE have provided guidance for governors on the types of questions they should ask to help ensure their school leaders are keeping children safe online.

Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions from the Governing Board 

Governors can use it to: 

  • gain a basic understanding of the school's current approach to keeping children safe online;
  • learning how to improve this approach where appropriate;
  • find out about tools that can be used to improve the approach. 

The document includes examples of good and outstanding practice, as well as identifying when governors should be concerned. This is non-statutory guidance and should be read alongside the DfE's Keeping children safe in Education statutory guidance. 

Ofsted inspecting e-safety

Schools should expect there to be questions about the induction and training of staff with regard to safeguarding. There is likely to be interest from the inspectors as to whether there is evidence of a culture of vigilance and how the school evaluates the effectiveness of its safeguarding systems policies, such as those relating to child protection, online safety and safer recruitment.

As part of their Ofsted training around online safety there is an expectation that inspectors will talk to students about their online behaviour. They will also ask what messages they have been given in school and across the curriculum, about safe use of the internet and social media.

Schools should expect to be questioned about their promotion of British values and how extremism and radicalisation are challenged. If this is an issue within a school there are likely to be questions about how positive links to the local community are being made. It is likely that all schools will be questioned about the effectiveness of their online safety.

The guidance for Ofsted inspectors inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings under the common inspection framework includes the following points: 

  • The term 'online safety' reflects a widening range of issues associated with technology and a user's access to content, contact with others and behavioural issues.
  • Leaders oversee the safe use of technology when children and learners are in their care and take action immediately if they are concerned about bullying or children's well-being.
  • Action is taken to ensure that children are taught about safeguarding risks, including online risks.
  • Staff, leaders and managers oversee the safe use of electronic and social media by staff and learners and take action immediately if they are concerned about bullying or risky behaviours.
  • Appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place to protect learners from potentially harmful online material.
  • Inspectors will consider, among other things, children's and learners' understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media. Inspectors should include online safety in their discussions with children and learners (covering topics such as online bullying and safe use of the internet and social media).
  • Inspectors should investigate what the school or further education and skills provider does to educate pupils in online safety, and how the provider or school deals with issues when they arise.

Sexting Resources

The UKCCIS Education Group has produced advice for schools and colleges on responding to incidents of 'sexting.' The advice aims to support them in tackling the range of issues which these incidents present, including, responding to disclosures, handling devices and imagery, risk assessing situations and involving other agencies.

The advice also contains information about preventative education, working with parents and reporting imagery to providers. This advice is non-statutory and should be read alongside the Department for Education's Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance and non-statutory Searching, Screening and Confiscation advice for schools.

Below are some useful links to resources around sexting/youth produced imagery.

Links for schools to share with parents on e-safety

Below are some useful links for parents

Last update: Thursday 16th of April 2020 11:29:24 AM