England Schools told to monitor pupils’ web use

To prevent radicalisation

All schools in England are being told to filter inappropriate content and teach pupils about staying safe including online harm. Plans unveiled by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will require all schools to put in place strengthened measures to protect children from harm online – including cyber bullying, pornography and the risk of radicalisation.

The Department of Education revealed that recent events have shown that the risks to young ?people being targeted by radical groups have risen and should not be underestimated – some school children who travelled or attempted to travel to Syria were able to access material about Daesh and foreign fighters via school computers.

Under the proposals published today for consultation, all schools will:

  • need to have appropriate filters and monitoring systems, so that no child can access harmful content via the school’s IT systems and concerns can be spotted quickly
  • be required to ensure that they teach their pupils about safeguarding, including online

Nicky Morgan said:

As a parent I’ve seen just what an important role the internet can play in children’s education. But it can also bring risks, which is why we must do everything we can to help children stay safe online – at school and at home.

This includes ensuring young people know how to use the internet responsibly and that parents and teachers have the right measures in place to keep children safe from exploitation or radicalisation.

These measures are delivering on the government’s commitment to keep children safe from harm, as well as providing helpful support and information for professionals and parents so we are all equipped to help protect children in this digital age.

The government has also announced a further package of measures to help keep children safe online including:

  • 2 practical guides on social media:
    • a guide for social media companies on good practice
    • a guide to help parents keep their children safe online produced by the UK’s Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCISS) – to help children understand the risks and benefits of social media, and prevent risks becoming problems
  • new online training will be launched in the new year for professionals, including nurses, doctors and teachers who work with children and young people, to equip them with the tools they need to handle online risks and support young people in today’s digital world
  • the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command has revised and updated the parents content on the Thinkuknow website – the new site offers a completely refreshed suite of articles and guidance on all aspects of child internet safety, as well as providing specific advice for parents and carers on preventing their children from becoming victims of sexual abuse and exploitation both online and in the ‘real world’
  • new industry-led awareness raising initiatives including Google’s ‘Internet Legends’ tour which will travel around the country delivering assemblies to school children in 40 locations during this school year, to help kids be safe online, so they can get the most out of all that the internet can offer.

The government in England made internet safety a compulsory part of the new curriculum in 2014. Schools can also teach e-safety during PSHE lessons and they are all required by law to have measures in place to prevent bullying and cyber bullying.

Schools already play a vital role in keeping children safe from harm online, including from the risks of radicalisation and cyber bullying. The majority of schools already have measures in place to protect children from harm online and are also teaching their pupils about the safeguarding risks that exist:

Brook Green Centre for Learning, a special school in Plymouth, Devon, has implemented a range of e-safety measures to ensure their pupils are protected. This includes a robust IT filtering system and a whole school approach to online safety with dedicated curriculum time as well as parent and carer training.

This was a press release via the Department for Education and The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

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