Whilst helping students to understand e-safety is important, staff must also have an awareness of e-safety within their own learning environments, whether the classroom, workplace or library.
Embedding e-safety with both academic and support staff is key so that students can build on and enhance their own personal competencies and in how they behave online. The key is to engage staff in e-safety so that they can tailor support as students explore new technologies and the opportunities and challenges associated with them. Professional development programmes also offer staff the opportunities to embed e-safety within teaching practice and reflect on their own approach to e-safety.
Like students, staff need to be aware of e-safety policies and procedures when using technology in their teaching practice or research. Institutions need to make clear guidelines for staff as to the appropriate use of digital technology and equipment.
Safeguarding responsibilities include e-safety, so staff will need the skills to protect their learners and themselves online. Staff should consider e-safety on a number of levels: their personal use of the internet, their professional use and its impact on their professional identity and their skills and knowledge applied when teaching and working with learners. Staff development programmes around safeguarding should include content on e-safety, linking together an individuals ICT training needs addressed in their appraisal or review. Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) produced a personal risk-assessment audit to test your knowledge.
Roles and responsibilities
e-safety is an issue that affects the whole institution, not just the classroom. The implications of e-safety need to be considered across different subject areas as appropriate. Senior management need to coordinate and record any reported misuse of technology, in order to inform the relevant agencies, such as the police. Some of the roles and action points are outlined below:
- E-safety co-ordinator
Usually a senior manager responsible for setting up an e-safety committee and leading on the development of policy, training, risk monitoring and ensuring the learning environment is safe
- IT/Network manager
Responsible for the technology infrastructure of the institution. The network manager will carry out regular checks of the network for indications of misuse and ensure security systems are in place
- Teaching staff
Will ensure that e-safety is embedded within the classroom. Teaching staff will need a high level of e-safety awareness as to be able to inform students about the risks associated with being online
- Learning support managers
Responsible for developing policies that are tailored to the special education needs of students
- Child protection officers
Working in collaboration with the e-safety coordinator in providing first-line support and guidance around e-safety. Will take a proactive role in educating students about e-safety.
Continuing professional development (CPD)
To fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities it is likely staff will need some e-safety skills training if only to recognise incidents and report them efficiently. Many organisations have elected to provide level 2 safeguarding training for staff. LSIS produced new safeguarding in a digital world advice on the Excellence Gateway.
The Education and Training Foundation have an e-safety module as part of their Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment course that is provided through the Foundation Online Learning website. This site can be accessed using providers’ existing LSIS Learning Environment (LLE) Accounts and login details.
Other options include:
- Education Development International (EDI) level 1 and level 2 qualifications in e-responsibility in education
- The British Computer Society (BCS) have developed a QCF accredited level 1 award in e-safety
- Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) offer certificated awareness training and ‘ambassador’ training for those who will be training others. The content is mainly focused on school age children at this stage though specific age related resources are expected to follow soon. CEOP have a website called ThinkuKnow that provides age-targeted resources
- European Pedagogical ICT (EPICT) Licence offer a certificated award in e-safety as part of its programme
- iSafe offers online training in e-safety
- Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has developed a qualification: internet safety. The unit is designed to enable candidates to make safe and legal use of the internet.