Safeguarding pupils and teachers online

Safe Remote Learning

Whether your school is closed or not, schools may be considering moving learning online. Here’s the lowdown on organizing classes online so that safeguards are adequately considered and are


    • Most children are being educated at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, so school leaders and teachers are having to adjust to remote education strategies. While this is happening, it is important that schools continue to follow safeguarding procedures.
    • Keeping teachers safe when providing remote education is also essential. Remote education is a new experience for both staff and pupils, so it’s important that virtual schools understand how to approach safeguarding procedures online.
    • Students should always keep their hands clean and their computer
    • When away from the computer when you return make sure your hands are clean.
    • When you finish working with your computer at the end of the day wipe your computer and keys down with wet pipes.
    • What is Blended Learning? : To put it simply, Blended Learning is a two- way process of teaching. The first is using face to face interaction to educate (in school) whilst the second is through electronic platforms to educate online (remote learning). The model is used to maximize the educational impact on children and young people, in and out of the classroom.
    • Whilst many of us are now familiar with the concept of working from home, it will be important to consider what the ‘new norm’ might look like.  Blended Learning is one approach that should be considered. Blended learning allows for both school-based and remote learning environments to work.
    • Blended Learning will encourage you to implement a strategy that covers many different angles, but a key overarching principle should always be online safety. However you decide to approach and plan for blended learning, consider the safety points to ensure your virtual school community is safe online.
    • Define who has leadership responsibility for blended learning to ensure consistency in the implementation of policies and procedures including those related to safeguarding.
    • Review policies and procedures, particularly safeguarding, child protection, code of conduct, curriculum, the use of tutors and online safety to incorporate blended learning.
    • Provide appropriate pathways for children, young people and their families to report safeguarding concerns arising through work with tutors and staff during blended learning and make sure everyone is aware of these routes.
    • Provide appropriate pathways for staff and tutors to report safeguarding concerns arising through work with children, young people and their families. Make sure everyone is aware of these routes.
    • Review and learn from previous experiences. Use this to establish and keep an up-to-date risk assessment of blended learning.
    • Establish an appropriate lawful base and routes of communications that are consistent with data protection laws
    • Expectations Checklist:
    • The safeguarding of pupils is paramount and takes precedence over all
    • Identify a suitable environment for the call. Discourage, where possible, pupils from making video calls from their bedroom
    • Appropriate clothing for all participants
    • No personal items visible in the background
    • Distractions and disturbances minimized
    • Using a headset or headphones
    • Cameras optional, but preferred
    • Adherence of all to relevant behavior and conduct policies
    • Maintain a central register of all video calls and contact this should include the link to the call
    • Adherence to the pre-agreed policy for the recording of sessions
    • Capitalise on engagement opportunities with parents and carers to ensure that they are well-informed (this may include parents/carers observing or participating in sessions)
    • Be conscious of confidentiality when working online

This guidance outlines how virtual schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of forthcoming and existing curriculum requirements.

This is non-statutory guidance from the Department for Education.   It outlines how schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of existing curriculum requirements.

It is important to teach pupils about the underpinning knowledge and behaviours that can help pupils to navigate the online world safely and confidently regardless of the device, platform or app

This advice brings together information that will help virtual schools deliver online safety content within their curriculum and embed this within their wider whole school approach

This teaching could be built into existing lessons across the curriculum, covered within specific online safety lessons and/or school wide approaches. Teaching must always be age and developmentally appropriate.

How to evaluate what they see online – This will enable pupils to make judgements about what they see online and not automatically assume that what they see is true, valid or acceptable. Virtual schools can help pupils consider questions including:

    • Is this website/URL/email fake? How can I tell?
    • What does this cookie do and what information am I sharing?
    • Is this person who they say they are?
    • Why does someone want me to see this?
    • Why does someone want me to send this?
    • Why would someone want me to believe this?
    • Why does this person want my personal information?
    • What’s behind this post?
    • Is this too good to be true?
    • Is this fact or opinion?

Parents and students must abide by the code of conduct in the student policies.