The government is committed to ensuring that children and young people stay safe online. On 11 October, the government published its Internet Safety Strategy green paper, attached, setting out plans for keeping all users safe. The Internet Safety Strategy outlines the crucial role that education will play in improving children’s safety online and the importance of digital literacy.
When carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, schools and colleges must have regard to the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance. The guidance, attached, was updated in September 2016 to include, for the first time, a section covering online safety, including the requirement for schools and colleges to ensure appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place. It also changed the emphasis from schools and colleges “considering” teaching about safeguarding (including online) to “ensuring” children are taught about safeguarding (including online).
As part of the computing curriculum pupils in primary and secondary schools are taught to identify inappropriate and unacceptable content and contact, and a range of ways to report concerns about this.
Education institutions are under a specific duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (the Prevent duty). To support schools in this duty, the government published comprehensive advice and resource materials on the Educate Against Hate website, available at: https://educateagainsthate.com/. The website signposts to support provided by leading partners, such as the NSPCC and the UK Safer Internet Centre to help keep children and young people safe from the risk of online radicalisation. It includes advice on how to report online material promoting terrorism or extremism.
Higher and further education providers covered by the Prevent duty are required to understand and manage the potential risk posed by online material. This may include IT filtering or monitoring, or putting in place alternative measures. To support this activity and further protect young people online, the Department for Education has also funded a range of training material across Higher and Further education to raise awareness of the risk posed by online radicalisers and extremist content, and the support available to students and providers in responding to this.