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Schools: Internet

Volume 480: debated on Friday 17 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what percentage of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools use accredited filtering services on internet software; (227190)

(2) what percentage of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have acceptable use policies for ICT; and how often schools are advised by his Department to review these guidelines;

(3) what (a) training and (b) information on e-safety is provided to new teachers.

Schools have devolved responsibility and funding in this area supported by guidance from the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta). Schools recognise the importance of providing an accredited service and are well aware of their duty of care to both their staff and pupils.

Most schools choose to have their connectivity provided through either their local authority or a Regional Broadband Consortia (RBC). 56 per cent. of local authorities have access to an accredited service provider and 50 per cent. of RBCs are accredited through Becta's accreditation scheme.

The Government, through Becta, encourage all schools should use an accredited service or software product to ensure the safety of children online.

80 per cent. of primary schools and 90 per cent. of secondary schools have an acceptable use policy (AUP) for pupils that provide guidelines on how to use ICT equipment and the internet. Schools are encouraged to have written ICT strategies and review these on an annual basis.

Updated guidance to support schools in this area is published regularly by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta).

New teachers entering the profession have to pass the ICT skills test and meet the professional standards for new teachers. One of the key standards in this area is that teachers must

“be aware of the current legal requirements, national policies and guidance on the safeguarding and promotion of the well-being of children and young people”.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) supports the teacher training organisations with advice and guidance on this standard which makes specific reference to the Byron review.

In addition to their published guidance TDA has, in partnership with Becta and Microsoft, funded the production of resources for KS3 on e-safety for schools. The materials were originally targeted at new teachers—they have been sent to every teacher training organisation—but have since been adapted for use by any adult working with children in schools. Similar resources for KS2 are being developed.

These resources are in addition to materials already produced by Childnet, Becta, CEOP and other agencies.

Following the recommendation in the Byron review, consideration is also being given to including e-safety questions within the ICT skills test. The current format of the test is not an ideal vehicle for testing an understanding of e-safety issues so adaptations will have to be made and tested.