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Online Safety (Academy) Policy

Online Safety (Academy) Policy

Issue:                 1

        Created:                January 2024

Review:                January 2025

Policy Owner:        Nina Carter



1. Aims        3

2. Legislation and guidance        3

3. Roles and responsibilities        4

4. Educating pupils about online safety        6

5. Educating parents about online safety        7

6. Cyber-bullying        7

7. Acceptable use of the internet in the Academy        8

8. Pupils using mobile devices in the Academy        9

9. Staff using work devices outside of the Academy        9

10. How the Academy will respond to issues of misuse        9

11. Training        10

12. Monitoring arrangements        11

13. Links with other policies        11

  1. Aims

Our Academy aims to:  

  • Have robust processes in place to ensure the online safety of pupils, staff, volunteers and governors
  • Deliver an effective approach to online safety, which empowers us to protect and educate the whole school community in its use of technology, including mobile and smart technology (which we refer to as ‘mobile phones’)
  • Establish clear mechanisms to identify, intervene and escalate an incident, where appropriate

The 4 key categories of risk

Our approach to online safety is based on addressing the following categories of risk:

  • Content – being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, such as pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism
  • Contact – being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users, such as peer-to-peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes
  • Conduct – personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm, such as making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g. consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography), sharing other explicit images and online bullying; and
  • Commerce – risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and/or financial scam.

  1. Legislation and guidance

This policy is based on the Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and its advice for schools on:

It also refers to the DfE’s guidance on protecting children from radicalisation.

It reflects existing legislation, including but not limited to the Education Act 1996 (as amended), the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and the Equality Act 2010. In addition, it reflects the Education Act 2011, which has given teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying by, if necessary, searching for and deleting inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices where they believe there is a ‘good reason’ to do so.

The policy also considers the National Curriculum computing programmes of study. Our curriculums for ICT and other computing-based subjects can be found on our Academy website.

  1. Roles and responsibilities

The Academy Governing Council (AGC)

The Governing board has overall responsibility for monitoring this policy and holding the Headteacher and other Senior Leaders to account for its implementation.

The Governing board will coordinate regular meetings with appropriate staff to discuss online safety, and monitor online safety logs as provided by the designated safeguarding lead (DSL).

The governor who oversees online safety in the Academy is Simon Worsley

All governors will:

  • Ensure that they have read and understand this policy
  • Agree and adhere to the terms on acceptable use of the school’s ICT systems and the internet.
  • Ensure that, where necessary, teaching about safeguarding, including online safety, is adapted for vulnerable children, victims of abuse and some pupils with SEND because of the importance of recognising that a ‘one size fits all’ approach may not be appropriate for all children in all situations, and a more personalised or contextualised approach may often be more suitable

The Headteacher

The Principal is responsible for ensuring that all staff understand this policy, and that it is being implemented consistently throughout the school.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Details of the school’s DSL and deputies are set out in our child protection and safeguarding policy as well as relevant job descriptions.

The DSL takes lead responsibility for online safety in school, in particular:

  • Supporting the Headteacher in ensuring that staff understand this policy and that it is being implemented consistently throughout the school
  • Working with the Headteacher, ICT manager and other staff, as necessary, to address any online safety issues or incidents
  • Managing all online safety issues and incidents in line with the Academy child protection policy
  • Ensuring that any online safety incidents are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyberbullying are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with the Academy behaviour policy
  • Updating and delivering staff training on online safety where required
  • Liaising with other agencies and/or external services if necessary
  • Providing reports on online safety in Academy to the Principal and/or governing board
  • Monitoring online safety incidents to emerging safeguarding trends and responding accordingly.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

The ICT manager

The ICT manager is responsible for:

  • Putting in place an appropriate level of security protection procedures, such as filtering and monitoring systems, which are reviewed and updated on a regular basis to assess effectiveness and ensure pupils are kept safe from potentially harmful and inappropriate content and contact online while at school, including terrorist and extremist material
  • Ensuring that the Academy ICT systems are secure and protected against viruses and malware, and that such safety mechanisms are updated regularly
  • Conducting a full security check and monitoring the Academy ICT systems on a weekly basis
  • Blocking access to potentially dangerous sites and, where possible, preventing the downloading of potentially dangerous files
  • Ensuring that any online safety incidents are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyber-bullying are dealt with appropriately in line with the school behaviour policy

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

All staff and volunteers

All staff, including contractors and agency staff, and volunteers are responsible for:

  • Maintaining an understanding of this policy
  • Implementing this policy consistently
  • Agreeing and adhering to the terms on acceptable use of the Academy ICT systems and the internet and ensuring that pupils follow the school’s terms on acceptable use
  • Working with the DSL to ensure that any online safety incidents are logged and dealt with appropriately in line with this policy
  • Ensuring that any incidents of cyber-bullying are dealt with appropriately in line with the Academy behaviour policy
  • Responding appropriately to all reports and concerns about sexual violence and/or harassment, both online and offline and maintaining an attitude of ‘it could happen here’

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.


Parents are expected to:

  • Notify a member of staff or the Headteacher of any concerns or queries regarding this policy
  • Ensure their child has read, understood and agreed to the terms on acceptable use of the Academy ICT systems and internet
  • Parents can seek further guidance on keeping children safe online from the following organisations and websites:

Visitors and members of the community

Visitors and members of the community who use the Academy ICT systems or internet will be made aware of this policy, when relevant, and expected to read and follow it. If appropriate, they will be expected to agree to the terms on acceptable use.

  1. Educating pupils about online safety

Pupils will be taught about online safety as part of the curriculum:

The text below is taken

 from the National Curriculum computing programmes of study. It is also taken from the guidance on relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education. 

All schools/Academies have to teach:

In Key Stage 3, pupils will be taught to:

  • Understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy
  • Recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns

Pupils in Key Stage 4 will be taught:

  • To understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity
  • How to report a range of concerns

By the end of Key Stage 4, pupils will know:

  • Their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online
  • About online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online
  • Not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them
  • What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online
  • The impact of viewing harmful content
  • That specifically sexually explicit material (e.g. pornography) presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners
  • That sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail
  • How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online
  • How to identify harmful behaviours online (including bullying, abuse or harassment) and how to report, or find support, if they have been affected by those behaviours
  • How people can actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent, and how and when consent can be withdrawn (in all contexts, including online)

The safe use of social media and the internet will also be covered in PSHE, Citizenship, assemblies and pupil workshops. Pupils are also involved in the delivery of online safety and social media in assemblies as part of our Academy pupil leadership programme.

Where necessary, teaching about safeguarding, including online safety, will be adapted for vulnerable children, victims of abuse and some pupils with SEND.

  1. Educating parents about online safety

The Academy will raise parents’ awareness of internet safety in letters and or other communications at home, and in information via our website. This policy will also be shared with parents though the Academy website

If parents have any queries or concerns in relation to online safety, these should be raised in the first instance with the DSL (Miss Carter).

Concerns or queries about this policy can be raised with any member of staff or the Headteacher.

  1. Cyber-bullying


Cyber-bullying takes place online, such as through social networking sites, messaging apps or gaming sites. Like other forms of bullying, it is the repetitive, intentional harming of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power.

Preventing and addressing Cyber-Bullying

To help prevent cyber-bullying, we will ensure that pupils understand what it is and what to do if they become aware of it happening to them or others. We will ensure that pupils know how they can report any incidents and are encouraged to do so, including where they are a witness rather than the victim.

The Academy will actively discuss cyber-bullying with pupils, explaining the reasons why it occurs, the forms it may take and what the consequences can be. Form Tutors, Heads of Year and Senior leaders will regularly discuss cyber bullying with year groups. Citizsenship teachers will also discuss cyber-bullying as part of their Citizenship curriculum. Teaching staff are also encouraged to find opportunities to use aspects of the curriculum to cover cyber-bullying.

All staff, governors and volunteers receive training on cyber-bullying, its impact and ways to support pupils, as part of safeguarding training.

In relation to a specific incident of cyber-bullying, the Academy will follow the processes set out in the school Behaviour for Learning policy. Where illegal, inappropriate or harmful material has been spread among pupils, the Academy will use all reasonable endeavours to ensure the incident is contained.

The DSL will consider whether the incident should be reported to the police if it involves illegal material, and will work with external services if it is deemed necessary to do so.

Examining electronic devices

Academy staff have the specific power under the Education and Inspections Act 2011 to search for and, if necessary, delete inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices, including mobile phones, iPads and other tablet devices, where they believe there is a ‘good reason’ to do so.

When deciding whether there is a good reason to examine or erase data or files on an electronic device, staff must reasonably suspect that the data or file in question has been, or could be, used to:

  • Cause harm, and/or
  • Disrupt teaching, and/or
  • Break any of the school rules

If inappropriate material is found on the device, it is up to the staff member in conjunction with the DSL or other member of the Academy Leadership Team to decide whether they should:

  • Delete that material, or
  • Retain it as evidence (of a criminal offence or a breach of school discipline), and/or
  • Report it to the police*

* Staff may also confiscate devices for evidence to hand to the police, if a pupil discloses that they are being abused and that this abuse includes an online element.

Any searching of pupils will be carried out in line with:

Any complaints about searching for or deleting inappropriate images or files on pupils’ electronic devices will be dealt with through the school complaints procedure.

  1. Acceptable use of the internet in the Academy

All pupils, parents, staff, volunteers and governors are expected to sign an agreement regarding the acceptable use of the Academy ICT systems and the internet. Visitors will be expected to read and agree to the school’s terms on acceptable use if relevant.

Use of the Academy internet must be for educational purposes only, or for the purpose of fulfilling the duties of an individual’s role.  

We will monitor the websites visited by pupils, staff, volunteers, governors and visitors to ensure they comply with the above.

More information is set out in the acceptable use agreements in appendices 1, 2 and 3.

  1. Pupils using mobile devices in the Academy

The Academy operates a No Phone Seen or Heard Rule. Pupils may bring mobile devices into the Academy, but are not permitted to use them during:

  • Lessons
  • Tutor group time
  • Social times
  • Clubs before or after school, or any other activities organised by the Academy

Any use of mobile devices in Academy by pupils must be in line with the acceptable use agreement.

Any breach of the acceptable use agreement by a pupil may trigger disciplinary action in line with the Academy behaviour policy, which may result in the confiscation of their device or a complete ban on them being able to bring their mobile device into the Academy.

  1. Staff using work devices outside of the Academy

All staff members will take appropriate steps to ensure their devices remain secure. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Keeping the device password-protected – strong passwords are at least 8 characters, with a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters (e.g. asterisk or currency symbol)
  • Ensuring their hard drive is encrypted – this means if the device is lost or stolen, no one can access the files stored on the hard drive by attaching it to a new device
  • Making sure the device locks if left inactive for a period of time
  • Not sharing the device among family or friends
  • Installing anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • Keeping operating systems up to date – always install the latest updates

Staff members must not use the device in any way which would violate the school’s terms of acceptable use, as set out in appendix 3.

Work devices must be used solely for work activities.

If staff have any concerns over the security of their device, they must seek advice from Coop Academy Failsworth Trust IT Officer.

  1. How the Academy will respond to issues of misuse

Where a pupil misuses the Academy ICT systems or internet, we will follow the procedures set out in our Positive Behaviour Policy. The action taken will depend on the individual circumstances, nature and seriousness of the specific incident, and will be proportionate.

Where a staff member misuses the Academy ICT systems or the internet, or misuses a personal device where the action constitutes misconduct, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the staff code of conduct. The action taken will depend on the individual circumstances, nature and seriousness of the specific incident.

The Academy will consider whether incidents which involve illegal activity or content, or otherwise serious incidents, should be reported to the police.

  1. Training

All new staff members will receive training, as part of their induction, on safe internet use and online safeguarding issues including cyber-bullying and the risks of online radicalisation.

All staff members will receive refresher training at least once each academic year as part of safeguarding training, as well as relevant updates as required (for example through emails, briefings and staff meetings).

By way of this training, all staff will be made aware that:

  • Technology is a significant component in many safeguarding and wellbeing issues, and that children are at risk of online abuse
  • Children can abuse their peers online through;
  • Abusive, harassing, and misogynistic messages
  • Non-consensual sharing of indecent nude and semi-nude images and/or videos, especially around chat groups
  • Sharing of abusive images and pornography, to those who don’t want to receive such content
  • Physical abuse, sexual violence and initiation/hazing type violence can all contain an online element  

Training will also help staff:

  • develop better awareness to assist in spotting the signs and symptoms of online abuse
  • develop the ability to ensure pupils can recognise dangers and risks in online activity and can weigh the risks up
  • develop the ability to influence pupils to make the healthiest long-term choices and keep them safe from harm in the short term  

The DSL and deputies will undertake Child protection and Safeguarding training, which will include online safety, at least every 2 years. They will also update their knowledge and skills on the subject of online safety at regular intervals, and at least annually.

Governors will receive training on safe internet use and online safeguarding issues as part of their safeguarding training.

Volunteers will receive appropriate training and updates, if applicable.

More information about safeguarding training is set out in the Academy Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

  1. Monitoring arrangements

The DSL and wider pastoral team logs behaviour and safeguarding issues related to online safety.

This policy and Academy practice will be reviewed every year by Nina Carter (Senior Assistant Headteacher and DSL). The Academy will also carry out an annual review of all online safety through the 360-degree safe audit tool.  The review can be found here considers and reflects the risks pupils face online. This is important because technology, and the risks and harms related to it, evolve and change rapidly.

  1. Links with other policies

This online safety policy is linked to the Academy:

  • Child protection and safeguarding policy
  • Positive Behaviour policy
  • Staff disciplinary procedures
  • Staff code of conduct
  • Data protection policy and privacy notices
  • Complaints procedure