Schools failing to support pupils’ online safety

Schools are not providing pupils with the guidance and support they need to be safe online, according to the Education Select Committee. 

Although the DfE issued guidance for schools and colleges in England on how to keep children safe online earlier this year, in September a survey of over 700 teachers suggested that two-thirds had seen pupils abusing and bullying each other online.

The House of Commons Education Select Committee has been looking into whether the guidance is adequate, as part of an inquiry into PHSE, the BBC reports. Its chairman Graham Stuart feels that schools aren’t doing enough: “What’s clear from Ofsted and other reports is that schools are failing to provide young people with the guidance and support they need to be safe online,” he said. “Schools have a part to play in ensuring young people are safe and kept away from the misery and depression which online abuse can bring about.”

Mr. Stuart called for teacher training to evolve with the needs of pupils: “It’s quite hard to keep up. It’s therefore an important part of continuing professional development of teachers that they are kept up to date with these issues so they can help the youngsters.”

The DfE said: “We expect schools to take firm action to tackle victimisation both on and offline. As with all forms of bullying, the best schools create an ethos to stop it from happening in the first place. We have given schools the power to search for, and if necessary delete, inappropriate images on electronic devices and are working with social networking sites and internet providers to make the internet a safer place for young people.”

Is your school giving pupils the support they need to stay safe online? Do you need professional development to help them?

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