Woodford County High School receives award for Online Safety
On the 27th June 2022 an assessor from the South West Grid for Learning visited Woodford County High School to review the school’s e-safety provision. The Assessor met school teaching and non-teaching staff, SLT, parents, Governors and students and was very pleased to find that the school provides a high level of protection for users of new technologies.
The South West Grid for Learning Trust provides a range of online/digital technology services to schools across the UK and is in the forefront of national and international developments in online safety. To enhance these services, SWGfL has developed the 360 degree safe self review tool to help schools address online safety issues. The online tool allows schools to evaluate their online safety policy and practice and then suggests how the school might do more to protect young people and staff.
To apply for the 360 degree safe online Safety Mark, schools have to reach a series of benchmark levels when they complete the online self-review. The evidence is then verified by a visit from experienced Assessors.
The prime benefit of using the review and applying for the Online Safety Mark is that it does not focus on the individual aspects of online safety such as technological solutions, but instead it integrates online safety into school policy and the curriculum, challenging teachers and managers in the school to think about their provision and its continual evolution.
Schools are expected to show that they have provided a high standard of online safety education and awareness for all staff, students and also for parents and carers, to ensure that these users of the new technologies can be safe online – whether they are in school, in their homes or out and about using mobile phones or other handheld devices.
Following his visit, Assessor Gareth Cort reported, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the school for the very warm welcome I received. It was a pleasure to carry out the assessment and see the continued strong commitment to online safety across the whole school community. The young people I spoke with were a credit to the school and spoke articulately. It was great to hear their views as well as their understanding in this area. There was a very high level of consistency across all the different stakeholders that I spoke to, which reflected the school’s clear and well understood approach to online safety and safeguarding. I was so pleased to see the school embrace the use of technology (particularly Microsoft Teams) to improve education and school communication in general. The staff were also clearly onboard with the school’s vision and not afraid to try new ways of working with technology. Congratulations!"
Areas of strength and good practice:
- There was a clear and consistent approach to online safety throughout the school and across all key stakeholders (including students and parents/carers).
- The school has developed an effective infrastructure for managing and minimising online safety risks alongside methods for responding to safeguarding issues in a timely and proportionate manner.
- There is a positive culture of trust between the students and school – students have confidence that they can turn to staff for advice and help and that their concerns are heard and taken seriously. Students and staff also have a clear understanding of safeguarding procedures.
- The involvement of Digital Leaders and the School Council in shaping the educational opportunities available for all students demonstrates a strong commitment to peer-based education.
- There is strong inclusion of online safety education in the curriculum and the school is always keen to develop and improve its practice.
- Training around online safety is effective and there are many opportunities for staff, students, Governors and parents/carers to access training.
Ron Richards, Lead Assessor for the 360 degree safe Online Safety Mark congratulated the school on its success and commented that it was re-assuring to know that the school had put a lot of thought and effort into improving the online safety of the staff and young people, by addressing these important safeguarding issues.