As we enter our second national lockdown, the spotlight on remote education once again becomes brighter. It’s important that schools have the necessary contingency plans in place to deliver an effective remote education provision and that senior leaders and teachers are confident that they have the necessary safeguarding measures in place when delivering lessons online.
What are schools' duties?
The Coronavirus Act 2020 Provision of Remote Education (England) Temporary Continuity Direction makes it a legal requirement provide remote learning to students of legal school age who cannot attend school due to the pandemic.
It says: “The intention of this Direction is to provide legal certainty for all involved in the education sector, including parents, teachers, and schools themselves. It makes clear that schools have a legal duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children unable to attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Whether these digital lessons are delivered live or in a pre-recorded capacity, it is expected that pupils receive the same learning and clear instructions as if they were still in the classroom.
What measures should schools have in place?
Senior leaders, DSLs and teachers have a lot to consider when planning an effective delivery of remote learning. Some key safeguarding measures should include:
- Familiarising themselves with the relevant policies and procedures regarding safeguarding, data protection, and online conduct. This includes disseminating the appropriate guidance to parents and students, so they know what to expect.
- Consideration of surroundings when using live streaming or online video. Bedrooms should be avoided and it’s important to ensure there is no visible personal information in the background.
- Only use school-approved modes of communication, such as official school email accounts.
- Use appropriate and secure platforms and software to protect personal data. Additionally, distribute a list of safe apps and software to your students to mitigate safeguarding issues.
- Engage students and parents in a two-way channel of communication to encourage transparency and confidence in the digital classroom.
- Remember SEND pupils are more vulnerable to online risks. They must also adapt remote learning to accommodate different learning levels.
How can National Online Safety help you?
Our Remote Education: How to Deliver Safe Online Lessons webinar is designed to provide schools with top-of-the-line training to give them the confidence in teaching safely online.
Designed in line with statutory guidance from the DfE, this essential CPD training is delivered by international safeguarding expert, Robin Watts. In it, he explains what schools’ responsibilities are in delivering safe online learning as well as exploring how to deliver online lessons tailored to different sizes and age groups.
Additionally, our Certificate in Delivering Effective and Blended Remote Education is an essential CPD course in delivering a structured programme for online learning that aligns with key policy requirements. It provides key knowledge in effectively implementing a structured remote education programme that supports in-school provision and the curriculum.
At National Online Safety, we’ve supported thousands of schools with providing safe and effective remote learning provision. Become a member today and unlock education, training and updates which can help your school keep children safe online.
Posted by Molly Hookings