Very highly recommended for colleagues with a safeguarding responsibility, the Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH) is available to anyone working with children and young people dealing with online safety issues.
Support requests to the helpline are typically from school colleagues although it supports a variety of organisations and professionals including Police colleagues, Children’s Social Care, Sports Clubs, Faith institutions and further education settings.
The Helpline is a free service and also provides signposting, advice and mediation to resolve online safety issues staff may face about themselves, such as protecting professional identity or online harassment in addition to those problems affecting young people such as cyberbullying or sexting issues.
You can access the Professionals Online Safety Helpline via the following link: POSH Helpline
Knowing where to start in your organisation can be a challenge when considering Online Safety and may initially seem overwhelming with all the different aspects to consider. In this respect, it is often useful to break down the subject into discrete areas and our recommended approach is based upon the original and widely-recognised PIES model.
As the Online Safety agenda covers an increasingly broad variety of aspects (e.g. policies, procedures, staff, pupils, infrastructure, learning, governors, social media, numerous risk areas (e.g. Grooming, Sexting, Bullying, Social Media, Gaming…)), by breaking down into 4 discrete (albeit related) objectives often helps to provide colleagues with a useful framework from which to approach.
Based around the PIES model, the four framework objectives are explained below:
1) Safer Management; 2) Safer Access; 3) Safer Learning; 4) Safer Standards
Consider how Online Safety is managed within your setting – whilst not exhaustive, the items below are examples of typical areas to consider under the Safer Management Objective:
Consider how items such as the establishment’s technical tools and infrastructure can support the approach. Ensuring the technical and non-technical systems contribute to and complement effective practice is a key component and may include areas such as:
Consider learning opportunities for all stakeholders (e.g. Pupils/Students, Staff, Governors, Parents/Carers and the wider Community) to raise awareness of potential risks and how to report and manage them. Areas to consider include:
This aspect closely links with each of the other objectives – consider how Online Safety is audited and reviewed within your setting. Whilst not exhaustive, the items below are examples of typical areas to include under the Safer Standards Objective:
An excellent and highly-recommended resource to support addressing Online Safety is the award-winning 360 Safe Self Review Tool intended to help schools review their online safety policy and practice. For non-school colleagues, 360 Groups takes a similar approach, guiding you through reviewing your online safety policies and practice, suggesting improvement actions and pointing to good practice resources. Both self-review resources are freely-available and can be found in our Supporting Resources section.
Further frequently asked questions about addressing online safety are available in the FAQ section found at the bottom of the main Online Safeguarding section of the site.