01 Online Safety within Ofsted’s new “Common Inspection Framework” from September 2015

On the 15th June 2015, Ofsted published their new common inspection framework and handbooks for Ofsted inspectors which come into effect from September 2015. 

The Common Inspection Framework and  Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills from September 2015 includes important information about online safety (e-Safety) provision in maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and early years settings.

The blog post will highlight the changes within the Common Inspection Framework. Subsequent posts will highlight online Safety content within Inspecting Safeguarding as well as identifying content for specific settings (see bottom paragraph).

The common inspection framework comes into effect from 1 September 2015 and remains in draft until that point. Minor amendments may be made to the text prior to September. This post was published in June 2015 and last updated in June 2015.

Please be aware that this post will only highlight elements reflective of online safety and should be read within the wider context of the documentation. Italic content indicates a direct quote from the new guidance and standard font in blue highlights best practice and recommendations.

Please ensure that you also access the following link for information relating Online Safety within Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings from September 2015.

Online Safety within the “Common Inspection Framework”, September 2015

“Helping to protect children and learners“

  1. Inspectors will always have regard for how well children and learners are helped and protected so that they are kept safe. Although inspectors will not provide a separate numerical grade for this key aspect of a provider’s work, inspectors will always make a written judgement under leadership and management about whether or not the arrangements for safeguarding children and learners are effective. This highlights that safeguarding and online safety is clearly identified as a responsibility for schools and settings leaders/managers and a strategic oversight must be in place.
  2. Ofsted has published a document setting out the approach inspectors should take to inspecting safeguarding in all the settings covered by the framework. It should be read alongside the framework and handbooks ‘Inspecting safeguarding in education, skills and early years settings’, June 2015. See below for specific content.
  3. It is also essential that inspectors are familiar with the statutory guidance in relation to safeguarding; ‘Keeping children safe in education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges’, March 2015. Keeping children safe in education specifically highlights the need for Governing bodies and leaders to consider how children will be taught about safeguarding, including online safety, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. School leaders and designated persons must therefore ensure that their school promotes safe practice and challenges unsafe or concerning behaviours throughout the community and ensures that all members of staff receive up-to-date and appropriate safeguarding training, including online safety. Keeping children safe in education 2015 also highlights that Governing bodies and education leaders should ensure there is an effective child protection policy in place together with a staff behaviour policy (code of conduct/Acceptable Use Policy) which should include staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media. This should be provided to all staff including temporary staff and volunteers on induction

“Effectiveness of leadership and management”

Inspectors will make a judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management by evaluating the extent to which leaders, managers and governors:

  • provide learning programmes or a curriculum that have suitable breadth, depth and relevance so that they meet any relevant statutory requirements, as well as the needs and interests of children, learners and employers, nationally and in the local community. This will include ensuring that there is a progressive and embedded online safety curriculum. It is recommended that schools ensure online safety is highlighted explicitly within Computing and PSHE/Citizenship curriculum but opportunities for reinforcement and awareness should be developed across all subject areas from early years to higher education.
  • actively promote equality and diversity, tackle bullying and discrimination…. This will include dealing with bullying incident where technology and internet (such as social media) are a factor. Settings should ensure that cyber/online bullying is acknowledged within the anti-bullying policies and have clear procedures to respond. Schools and settings should ensure that they act in accordance with legislation and Government guidance.
  • make sure that safeguarding arrangements to protect children, young people and learners meet all statutory and other government requirements, promote their welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism. This will include the school being aware of the possible risks of children being groomed for extremist activity or accessing and sharing radicalisation content online, either at school or at home. 

“Personal development, behaviour and welfare”

Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development, behaviour and welfare of children and learners by evaluating the extent to which the provision is successfully promoting and supporting children’s and other learners’:

  • self-confidence, self-awareness and understanding of how to be a successful learner. This may include young people’s use of online tools and an awareness of the benefits and limitations of technology regarding their own learning. 
  • where relevant, employability skills so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training. This may include awareness of their own online presence or “digital footprint”.
  • following of any guidelines for behaviour and conduct, including management of their own feelings and behaviour, and how they relate to others. This may include  online behaviour and conduct. 
  • understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as abuse, sexual exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media. This explicitly highlights the need for children to be aware of how to manage and respond to online risks. Schools and settings must address e-Safety explicitly with all children and staff to ensure that they are preparing them to be able to keep safe online. Children should have an age appropriate awareness of organisations such as CEOP, IWF, NSPCC, ChildLine etc.
  • knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy, both emotionally and physically, including through exercising and healthy eating. This may include issues relating to online safety such as self-harm, suicide, eating disorder content etc.
  • personal development, so that they are well prepared to respect others and contribute to wider society and life in Britain. This should include ability to respect others online and contribute to online platforms safely and responsibly.

Please access the following links for information relating to online safety within the  specific inspection handbook for each remit

Specific Handbooks for schools, settings and providers:

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