Online Safety within the “Further education and skills inspection handbook” from September 2015

This post follows on from a post which highlights online safety within the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework available here and Inspecting Safeguarding here. Please be aware that these posts should not be read in isolation.

Please be aware that this post will only highlight elements reflective of online safety and should be read within the wider context of the documentation. Italic content indicates a direct quote from the new guidance and standard font in blue highlights best practice and recommendations.

The common inspection framework comes into effect from 1 September 2015.

Online Safety within the “Further education and skills inspection handbook”, September 2015

The full document can be found here

Part 1. How further education and skills providers will be inspected

  • 57. The lead inspector will use the telephone planning meeting to arrange how the following information, where applicable, will be made available to inspectors:
    • access to the logs that record complaints, incidents of poor behaviour, racist incidents and incidents of bullying or those relating to radicalisation or extremism. This is likely to include online incidents so providers should ensure that they have a central incident log (either recording online safety separately or within safeguarding or existing records) which captures this information as well as any action taken by the provider.

Part 2. The evaluation schedule: how further education and skills providers will be judged

Overall effectiveness: the quality of further education and skills provision

Grade descriptors for overall effectiveness  where online safety can be demonstrated and highlighted are as follows:

  • Outstanding/Good/Requires improvement:
    • Safeguarding is effective.
  • Inadequate:
    • The judgement on the overall effectiveness is likely to be inadequate where any one of the key judgements is inadequate and/or safeguarding is ineffective.

Effectiveness of leadership and management

  • 162. In making this judgement, inspectors will consider:
    • the extent to which leaders promote all forms of equality and foster greater understanding of and respect for people of all faiths (or those of no faith), races, genders, ages, disability and sexual orientations (and other groups with protected characteristics), and how well learners and staff are protected from harassment, bullying and discrimination, including those based with employers and at other sites external to the provider. This will include online bullying and harassment. Online Safety should be identified within existing policies e.g. anti-bullying.  Providers should ensure leaders have undertaken appropriate safeguarding training which should cover online safety. 
    • how well the provider prepares learners for successful life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. This will include online safety as part of preparation for life in modern Britain. Providers will need to consider how this is addressed with both learners and staff with regards to online.
    • the effectiveness of safeguarding practice, including the prevention of radicalisation of learners and compliance with the Prevent duty. This includes radicalisation online. Providers will need to consider how internet use is filtered and monitored on site. This may include learners and staff who use their own devices as well as those who use the providers WiFi (if available) and provider owned device/equipment. Providers should implement appropriate Acceptable Use Policies for learners and staff to ensure all members of the community are aware of safe and responsible online behaviour and know how to report and respond to online safety concerns. Ideally this should be in line with any existing safeguarding procedures e.g. speaking to the provider’s designated safeguarding lead etc. 

When judging the effectiveness of leadership and management, inspectors must also judge whether the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils are effective. There is detailed guidance on evaluating safeguarding arrangements in ‘Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education, skills settings from September 2015’ and the online safety elements are highlighted here

Grade descriptors for the effectiveness of leadership and management where online safety can be demonstrated and highlighted are as follows:

  • Outstanding:
    • Leaders promote equality of opportunity and diversity exceptionally well so that the ethos and culture of the provider counters any form of direct or indirect discriminatory behaviour. Leaders, staff and learners do not tolerate prejudiced behaviour. The promotion of fundamental British values is at the heart of the provider’s work.
    • Learners feel safe and know how to raise concerns. The provider is proactive in assessing safeguarding risks and taking action to prevent them. This will include online safety.  The provider has a strong track record of raising awareness among staff and learners of safeguarding issues, listening to learners’ concerns and acting on them.This will include online safety training for staff.
    • Leaders’ work to protect learners from radicalisation and extremism is exemplary. Leaders respond swiftly where learners are vulnerable to these issues. High quality training develops staff’s vigilance, confidence and competency to challenge learners’ views and encourage debate.
  • Good:
    • Leaders promote equality of opportunity and diversity, resulting in a positive learning environment. Staff and learners work together to prevent any form of direct or indirect discriminatory behaviour. Leaders, staff and learners do not tolerate prejudiced behaviour and fundamental British values are promoted actively.
    • Leaders protect learners from radicalisation and extremism. Staff are trained and increasingly vigilant, confident and competent to encourage open discussion with learners. This will include online safety training for staff.
    • Safeguarding is effective.  This will include online safety. The provider assesses risk appropriately, taking action to prevent harm and reporting safeguarding concerns. The provider raises awareness of safeguarding issues among staff and learners. The provider listens to and acts on learners’ concerns.
  • Inadequate:
    • Leaders are not taking effective steps to secure positive destinations for learners and are not preparing them for life in modern Britain.
    • Leaders, managers and governors are not protecting learners from radicalisation and extremist views when learners are vulnerable to these. Policy and practice are poor, which means learners are at risk. This may inlcude a lack of appropriate filtering and monitoring. 
    • Leaders, managers and governors, through their words, actions or influence, directly and/or indirectly, undermine or fail to promote equality of opportunity. They do not prevent discriminatory behaviour or prejudiced actions and views.
    • Safeguarding is ineffective. The provider’s arrangements for safeguarding learners do not meet statutory requirements or they give serious cause for concern; insufficient action is taken to remedy weaknesses following a serious incident.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

  • 168. In making this judgement, inspectors will consider the extent to which: 
    • teaching, learning and assessment promote equality, raise awareness of diversity and tackle discrimination, victimisation, harassment, stereotyping, radicalisation and bullying. This will include bullying and harassment online. Providers should ensure their policies and procedures reflect this.
    • teaching promotes learners’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Grade descriptors for the effectiveness of quality of teaching, learning and assessment where online safety can be demonstrated and highlighted are as follows.

  • Outstanding:
    • Staff are quick to challenge stereotypes and the use of derogatory language, including at work. Resources and teaching strategies reflect and value the diversity of learners’ experiences and provide learners with a comprehensive understanding of people and communities beyond their immediate experience.
  • Good:
    • Staff promote equality of opportunity and diversity in teaching and learning.
  • Inadequate:
    • Staff do not promote equality of opportunity or understanding of diversity effectively and this disadvantages individuals or groups of learners.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare

  • 172. In making this judgement inspectors will consider, where relevant and appropriate:
    • how well learners know how to protect themselves from the risks associated with radicalisation, extremism, forms of abuse, grooming and bullying, including through the use of the internet, and how well they understand the risks posed by adults or young people who use the internet to bully, groom or abuse other people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults. This explicitly highlights the need for providers to ensure that learners are educated about online safety. This may form part of regular programmes of work, highlighting online safety within induction, providing learners with signposted support which is relevant for learners e.g. links to services like get safe online,  action fraud, East Midlands e-Safety Project (Learners with additional needs) etc. Providers may wish to display online safety information for learners in a variety of formats such as having posters and information visible in settings (e.g. entrance/waiting rooms, near ICT equipment) as well as making content available online (e.g. on websites, links in welcome packs etc).
    • the extent to which learners feel and are safe and have a good understanding of how they can raise concerns if they do not feel safe; the confidence that any concerns they may have are taken seriously and followed through appropriately. This will include online safety. Providers should ensure that learners are aware that online safety is a safeguarding issues and as such any existing procedures would be used. 

Grade descriptors for the effectiveness of for personal development, behaviour and welfare where online safety can be demonstrated and highlighted are as follows:

  • Outstanding:
    • The personal and social development of learners equips them to be thoughtful, caring and active citizens.
    • Staff and learners deal effectively with the very rare instances of bullying behaviour and/or use of derogatory or aggressive language. They work well with the provider to prevent all forms of bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying.
    • The provider’s open culture actively promotes all aspects of learners’ welfare. Learners are safe and feel safe at all times. They understand how to keep themselves and others safe in different situations and settings. They trust leaders to take rapid and appropriate action to resolve any concerns they have.
    • Learners, where appropriate, can explain accurately and confidently how to keep themselves healthy. They make informed choices about healthy eating, fitness and their emotional and mental well-being. They have an appropriate understanding of healthy relationships and are confident in staying safe from abuse and sexual exploitation.
    • Learners have an excellent understanding of how to stay safe online and of the dangers of inappropriate use of mobile technology and social networking sites.
  • Good:
    • Staff are quick to tackle the rare use of derogatory or aggressive language, at the provider or in the workplace, and always challenge stereotyping.
    • Staff promote clear messages about the impact of bullying and prejudiced behaviour on learners’ well-being. Learners work well with the provider to tackle and prevent the rare occurrences of bullying.
    • The provider’s open culture promotes all aspects of learners’ welfare. They are safe and feel safe. Learners have the knowledge and understanding, where appropriate, to stay healthy, form positive relationships and to prevent the misuse of technology.
  • Requires Improvement:
    • Learners are safe and feel safe at the provider and, where relevant, in the workplace.
  • Inadequate:
    • A significant minority of learners do not understand how and why to live healthy, positive lives both physically and emotionally.
    • Incidents of bullying, prejudiced and discriminatory behaviour, both direct and indirect, are frequent. Learners have little confidence in the provider’s ability to tackle bullying successfully.

The guidance also highlights expectations regarding 16-19 study programmes, adult learning, apprenticeships, traineeships, provision for high needs learners and full-time provision for 14- to 16-year-olds.

This highlights the need for providers to ensure that all learners  within these provisions are safe and feel safe both on and offline. Inspectors will look for evidence that learners are thoughtful, caring and respectful citizens and where appropriate, take responsibility for keeping themselves safe and healthy and contribute to wider society and life in Britain and this is likely to inlcude the online environment. 

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