Online Safety Mark Success
An Assessor from the South West Grid for Learning recently visited The Priory Academy LSST to review our online safety provision. The Assessor met academy staff, parents and carers, governors and students and was pleased to find that the Academy provides a high level of protection for users of digital technologies.
Following the visit the Assessor reported that:
‘A whole academy approach is a term which is used a lot, however in the case of The Priory Academy LSST it is clear that there is a whole academy approach to online safety with good leadership from the Trust, governors and the academy leadership team which is welcomed by staff, students and parents alike. Integral to this is the work by digital leaders and the online safety group. The overall attitude is a very positive one and seems to be one of empowerment rather than policing/prevention and this alone is significant. Students are overall very positive about the approach the Academy takes to online safety and the education, support and guidance that they receive.’
Ron Richards, Lead Assessor for the 360 degree safe Online Safety Mark congratulated the Academy on its success and commented that it was re-assuring to know that the Academy 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.
The South West Grid for Learning Trust provides the internet connection and a range of other services to schools across the SW region and, as the lead partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre, is at the forefront of national and international developments in online safety. To enhance these services, they have developed a tool to help schools address online safety issues, not least the changes to Ofsted inspections, which include a stronger focus on safeguarding. 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 leaders 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 / pupils and also for parents and carers, to ensure that these users of digital technologies can be safe online – whether they are in school, in their homes or out and about using mobile devices.