Governing Bodies - Who's Responsible for Online Safety?

Five years ago online safety was viewed as being all about computers and therefore was tacked on to the ICT/Computing lead’s role. In 2012 Ofsted included e-safety in its section 5 criteria. In September 2016 DfE’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and Ofsted subsequence update to its guidance for inspectors ‘Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years, Education and Skills’ firmly positioned online safety within Safeguarding. 

This repositioning of online safety has had a profound impact on how online safety needs to be managed in schools. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), the senior leadership team and Governors are now integral to the implementation of online safety and carry ultimate responsibility for its delivery. Governing bodies are now required to approve and review the effectiveness of online safety policies and practise. Together with the SLT and DSL, they have shared responsibility for how online safety is managed and implemented, for the creation of a positive safeguarding culture and ethos and for ensuring that all staff are adequately trained in all aspects of safeguarding including online safety.
Online Safety responsibilities for Governors:

• Manage, review, promote and evaluate adherence to online safety policies
• Ensure that there are mechanisms to support pupils, staff and parents facing online safety issues
• Ensure that the DSL is trained to support staff and pupils and to work with other agencies
• Ensure that all staff receive relevant training that is regularly refreshed
• Educate parents and the wider school community

The UKCCIS Education Group has developed guidance for school governors to help governing boards support their school leaders to keep children safe online.
This document is non-statutory and should be read in conjunction with DfE’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’
How E2BN help
E2BN has a long history of providing online safety training and advice to schools. In addition to sessions for school staff and parents, E2BN also offers Online Safety sessions for Governors.

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