Anti-Bullying Week 2021 – NEW Posters to help Challenge Peer-on-Peer Abuse

As schools prepare for Anti-Bullying Week, are ALL your staff are confident when it comes to spotting and challenging inappropriate behaviours?

Are they aware of the consequences of:

And what about the wider safeguarding implications?

So to help – we’ve created 2 new posters at to get those important discussions started and create a culture where bullying is unacceptable, because picking up on things which may seem like nothing may stop them escalating into something far more serious:

What next?

  1. Watch our Anti-Bullying Week video for top tips and ideas
  2. Put up the new posters to raise awareness and start those classroom discussions
  3. Ensure students know how to report abuse through the dedicated NSPCC Report Abuse in Education helpline – find this and other reporting channels to report bullying, harmful content, extremism, child criminal and sexual exploitation at
  4. Familiarise yourself with the latest updates on bullying and peer on peer abuse from KCSIE 2021 – see our tracked changes document at
  5. Empower staff by playing the ‘Spotlight on Bullying‘ cpd video at the start of your next staff briefing
  6. Plan an assembly and age appropriate lessons from our selection of resources at – you’ll also find some great parent activities.
  7. Stay up to date with the latest developments and guidance by attending our training at

You can find lots more great ideas and resources in our curriculum blog

Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools – key takeaways and tips to support your whole school approach

(once you’ve read this blog, head to to read more about Ofsted and safeguarding and the new handbook)

This month’s review makes compelling reading, advocating a zero tolerance and whole school approach – but what exactly does good practice look like and how can schools respond?

You can read the full report here but to make it easier, we’ve put together some key findings, practical tips and resources for DSLs, RSHE leads, parents, staff and governors to help safeguard young people from harm – at school, online and beyond:

Background: In April, Ofsted carried out a review of sexual abuse in response to thousands of testimonials on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website from young people describing sexual abuse by peers. As well as exploring the curriculum and victim voice, the review looked at reporting and safeguarding arrangements, bringing to light significant insights and concerns.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Sexual harassment and online abuse are prevalent “For some children, incidents are so commonplace that they see no point in reporting them.” Girls reported that the pressure to send nude pictures (‘nudes’) is far more widespread than adults realise – some students even consider harmful sexual behaviours normal due to their frequency. Nearly 90% of girls, and 50% of boys said being sent explicit pictures or videos happens a lot or sometimes, whilst 92% of girls, and 74% of boys admitted the same sexist name-calling. Reasons given for professionals underestimating the scale and prevalence of online sexual abuse include a lack of awareness or perception that sexual harassment and sexualised language are problematic.
  2. Significant barriers to disclosure – “One governor reported that ‘blokeish banter’ was just part of growing up.” Girls are particularly reluctant to talk about sexual abuse, fearing reputational damage or being branded a ‘snitch’, whilst many students felt embarrassed talking to someone from a different generation about sex. Some felt that teachers were willing to condone sexualised name-calling and harassment, several fearing they would not be believed or be blamed, and that the process would get out of their control.
  3. Language matters: “Current guidance does not clearly reflect the language that children and young people use, particularly for online sexual abuse.” E.g ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ uses the term ‘sexting’ which is outdated as young people refer to it as sending ‘nudes’ Students also revealed that homophobic and sexualised language like ‘slag’ and ‘slut’ were commonplace, but felt staff were often unaware, dismissing it as ‘banter’ and not prepared to challenge it – some children themselves perceived the use of derogatory language as ‘banter’ or ‘just a joke’ and were subsequently wary of challenging their peers.
  4. What about the RSHE/PSHE curriculum? “Children and young people were rarely positive about the RSHE they had received. They felt that it was too little, too late.” Whilst many students felt that the curriculum did not reflect the reality, staff generally lacked confidence to deliver the new curriculum, including the ‘online’ element. Key issues included weak implementation and a lack of subject knowledge on topics like consent, healthy relationships and sharing of sexual images.
  5. Ofsted Recommendations: The review recommends a zero-tolerance culture, whereby schools “act as though sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are happening, even when there are no specific reports, and put in place a whole school approach” through a carefully sequenced RSHE curriculum with time for discussion of topics such as consent and online behaviour, high quality training for teachers delivering RSHE, support for DSLs, awareness training for all staff and relevant governors and multi-agency collaboration

How we can help – tips and resources to support your whole school approach:

  1. For RSHE/PSHE leads:
    • visit for age-appropriate, cross-curricular resources covering healthy relationships, consent and sharing ‘nudes’ –  you can filter by key stage, audience and topic e.g. bullying, pornography, sexting, apps, gaming, body image etc..
    • ask pupils to take the RSHE Online Safety Quiz at
    • for guidance on whole-school delivery and mapping resources to your existing curriculum, sign up for FREE Online Safety Goes Whole School – to RSHE & Beyond training
  2. For DSLs:
    • Reinforce key safeguarding messages at your next staff cpd/briefing with our ready-to use 5-minute spotlight activities on topics from using appropriate language and victim-blaming to online sharing, snitching and overlooking banter at  
    • Visit for resources to support students and parents on child sexual exploitation and online sexual abuse
  3. For Parents – our one-stop ParentSafe website offers parents/carers support and advice including:
    • the new Home Truths video from the Internet Watch Foundation to raise awareness of how 11-13 year old girls are most at risk of being tricked into taking nude images in their own bedrooms, and their TALK campaign for tips on talking to your child
    • Childnet’s I want to tell you video on what children might want to tell you but don’t know how
    • Find these and other tips on topics from bullying and sharing online content to pornography at – and don’t forget to share the link via your parent newsletters, website and communications
  4. Reporting and disclosures:
    • Are you students aware of the new:
    • We’ve also created a pupil audit to encourage pupil disclosures and staff poster to facilitate referrals at
  5. ALL staff and governors:

Hope this has been helpful in shaping your response, building staff confidence and promoting effective practice and procedures across your school community – we’d love to hear your feedback and do let us know if you need anything else!

Your Toolkit for Anti-Bullying Week 2020… and Beyond!

This year’s Anti-Bullying week runs from 16th-20th November. It’s a great opportunity to ensure you have everything in place to address bullying in line with Ofsted and the new RSHE guidance – so follow our 3 simple steps below and you’re ready to go.

STEP 1 – ASSESS YOUR POLICY & PRACTICE: To identify gaps, you will need to know whether pupils feel safe, if there are any barriers to reporting, how effective procedures are and if wider policies are up-to-date and joined up.

Top Tip Start your next staff briefing with our 5 minute cpd Spotlight on Bullying video with stimulus/discussion questions to help:

Bullying – do we take the small things seriously enough?
Picking up on things which ‘might be nothing’, may stop them escalating. What do we teach about online sharing, banter and snitching?

STEP 2 – REVIEW YOUR CURRICULUM: Your policies should be supported by a broad, holistic and progressive curriculum. So we’ve collated age-appropriate resources by us, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and other leading organisations for you to use across subjects, in assemblies and circle time.

Top TipAssess pupil understanding with our RSHE Online Safety Quiz:

Bullying and online safety scenarios plus feedback to promote class discussion

STEP 3 – COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS & CARERS: Do they know what to do if they have a concern? Visit for great ideas to raise awareness around bullying and healthy online relationships.

Top TipWhy not run a parent session and show the new Bedtime Stories Chapter Two videos?

Aimed at protecting children from cyberbullying and harmful online content, these powerful videos alert parents/carers to the types of things they could be experiencing online.

Happy planning – Remember this is NOT just about Anti-Bullying Week

  • The new RSHE curriculum advocates pupils are taught about respectful behaviour, the effects of online actions, and how to respond/seek help
  • Ofsted will evaluate the extent to which “leaders, teachers and learners create an environment where bullying, peer-on-peer abuse or discrimination are not tolerated…  staff deal with issues quickly and effectively.”

If you need further support, LGfL’s DigiSafe team are running online training FREE for all schools:

Each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness. No one deserves to be bullied” – Barack Obama

Online Safety – ready for RSHE?

As schools prepare for statutory RSHE this September, where and how does online safety fit in and what can you do to prepare?

Whilst traditionally a topic reserved for the computing curriculum, it’s worth noting that the new RSHE curriculum guidance has 66 mentions of staying safe online threaded through all the key topics included in this new statutory subject. With young people spending increasing amounts of time online and on devices, particularly during Covid-19, it’s reassuring that this new curriculum advocates a whole school, cross-curricular approach, ensuring pupils are taught consistently and in an age-appropriate way about:

  • what positive, healthy and respectful online relationships look like
  • effects of their online actions
  • how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online
  • how to respond and seek help

What exactly do staff need to know?

As you are aware, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’  has just been updated – paragraph 92 has an addition about keeping children safe online “including when they are online at home”. Much of this is about education and support for parents – see for resources, presentations, letter templates, and how-to-guides. Schools must also keep ALL other staff up to date with developments around safeguarding, including:

  • Teaching online safety in school’ (DfE, June 2019) – guidance to consider what schools already deliver through the curriculum, and building in additional teaching as required by identifying online risks/harms with examples, descriptions and areas in the curriculum where these can be covered
  • Education for a Connected World’ (updated July 2020) – an ideal framework for teachers to address online safety in an age appropriate way, relevant to pupils. Listen to our audio update to find out more about how this ties in with the new RSHE curriculum as well as recent updates including social influencers and deepfakes, the use of banter, digital consent, sexting and more.

Resources and support to help you get started:

  1. Why not use our RSHE online safety quiz to assess pupils and promote helpful class discussions?
  2. Attend our ONLINE training covering the above guidance and legislation, introducing age-appropriate resources with time to map these to your existing curriculum. FREE for LGfL schools, find out more at
  3. Visit for targeted support during Covid for parents, pupils, DSLs and all staff, including guidance and support related to remote learning.

Education for a Connected World – 2020 audio update

Whats new, what’s changed, and how can you use the updated framework to help keep children safe in our ever-changing digital world?

Additions such as voice-activated searching, upskirting, social influencers and deepfakes, plus the use of banter and a more in-depth focus on digital consent, sexting-related technology and protected characteristics make Education for a Connected World – 2020 the ideal framework to use for your online-safety curriculum and whole-school approach.

Rather than write more about it, we met up for a chat with one of the authors to find out what it’s all about, what’s changed in the new edition and how it ties in with the new statutory RSHE curriculum.

So why not have a listen to Mubina in conversation with Penny Patterson from Havering School Improvement Services, sits on the UKCIS (UK Council for Internet Safety) Education Working Group with us. Penny was one of many experts who contributed to both this and the previous versions; she has been a longstanding friend of LGfL (and safeguarding board stalwart).

And then for further support on the same subject:

  • Training (for LGfL schools) to prepare for the online elements of RSHE – we examine all aspects of online safety from the framework and latest guidance, provide an overview of resources, and prepare you to map these to your curriculum:
  • Online resources (for all schools) to support a whole school approach – search by topic, key stage and audience at
  • Policy guidance –

Top Tips and Ideas for Parents to Keep Children Safe Online during Covid School Closures

This blogpost is specially aimed at Parents and Carers to support their children during these challenging times – do please share it with via your social media and communication channels.

Your children are bound to spend lots more time online and on devices at the moment. DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT – lots will be schoolwork or chatting with friends – so to help them stay safe, healthy and happy, we’ve created a parent fridge-friendly A4 poster of top tips for you. Check out the video below to find out more:

What else can I do?

  1. Why not put the poster up on your fridge or notice board?
  2. Download our DigiSafe Daily worksheets (available every day during term time) for simple, child-friendly fun quizzes and a daily top tip to share with them at
  3. Show them our new catchy song to sing along to, with animation, colouring sheets and a poster at
  4. Make story time productive and fun to get those messages across:
  • Online Zoo is great to get young children to think about online risks in a playful, age-appropriate way. Follow Ape Moritz who is addicted to his Smartphone, Panda bear Paul who is being bullied and more
  • #Goldilocks: A fairytale for the digital age is a modern tale by Vodafone to help parents discuss online safety with young children & the consequences of being unkind, getting carried away with selfies, or oversharing images

And remember you don’t need to be an expert. Just keep those coversations going, and if you’re not sure about anything, there is plenty of help online for parents. Follow us @LGfLDigiSafe on Twitter or Facebook where we regularly share updates and resources.

Stay safe and well!

Age-appropriate design code

We are thrilled that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its final Age Appropriate Design Code. What does this mean for you and the safety of children online? This ground-breaking piece of regulation is the result of lengthy consultation between the ICO and key stakeholders including our DigiSafe team at LGfL, and heralds a momentous step towards safeguarding young people’s experience in the digital world.

Aimed at online services that are likely to be accessed by children – e.g. social media platforms, content streaming services, online games, apps, devices, search engines and other websites – it places the responsibility on industry to prevent children’s data being exploited in ways that undermine their safety and wellbeing. The term ‘likely’ in bold above is very significant because this means the code isn’t just aimed at providers which would admit that their services are ‘designed for’ or ‘aimed at’ children, so the scope is much wider!

What does the code say?

The Age Appropriate Design Code outlines a set of 15 robust standards that these online service providers should meet. You can read the standards here, but in summary:

  • the child’s best interests should be of primary consideration when planning or designing online services
  • settings must be “high privacy” by default
  • geolocation settings that allow a child’s location to be shared should be switched off by default
  • ‘nudge’ behaviour encouraging children to reduce or switch off their privacy settings should not be deployed
  • services should provide an obvious sign to the child when they are being monitored by parental controls
  • options which use profiling should be switched ‘off’ by default 
  • personal data collection from children should be kept to a minimum and only where there is a compelling reason
  • there is detailed guidance on the approach to be taken for users of different ages.

Regulation and enforcement:

It is encouraging that the Code defines children as under the age of 18 – this is higher than existing UK data protection law where there is only a 13-year-age limit for children to legally give consent to being tracked online. Additionally, the regulator has powers to take action for any breach of the Code – Baroness Kidron, who introduced the Code into UK legislation said:

“An online service must say what they do, do what they say or be held accountable – in this case they face fines of up to 4 percent of their turnover, which could mean billions for the largest tech companies. If you say you don’t host violent, harmful or suicide promoting material, then you must not, or face enforcement action.”

What next?

Share these developments with your staff and parents, but remind them that whilst the Code provides greater confidence that their children can safely learn, explore and play online, it can never replace parental supervision, communication, education and guidance.

Why not attend our Online Safety Training featuring CEOP ThinkUKnow to promote online safety as part of your whole school approach – free for LGfL schools – and take a look at our age-appropriate resources, suitable for teachers, senior leaders, parents and carers at


Livestreaming – Keeping children Safe – Oct 2019

For many parents and teachers, keeping up with young people’s use of technology and the latest trends often presents a challenge. With the growing popularity of livestreaming, I often get asked by teachers how they can keep children safe. We therefore dedicated last week’s webinar to this topic, and just in case you missed it, you can watch it below and read on for some useful advice:

What exactly is livestreaming?

Not to be confused with video chats such as Skype where you can chat via video to a person, livestreaming enables anyone to broadcast a video in live time to an audience. A key difference is that whilst you can select who you chat with during a video chat, livestreaming doesn’t offer that level of control because you are streaming to a public audience – so it’s literally like going out into the park and standing on a box, where anyone who happens to be out there can watch and interact with you. All that’s required is an internet enabled device such as a mobile phone or tablet, and an app, social media site or website to broadcast it.

Why is it so popular with children?

Livestreaming offers young people a great way to stay connected and be part of their peer group as well as gaining exposure to a wider community, where they can interact with their viewers. Whether it’s to showcase a talent, express their identity or share significant events, they are at that moment the star of their show. As for for the audience, it provides an avenue to follow, participate and keep track of other people’s lives, be it friends, family or celebrities. Whilst several livestreaming apps have specifically been developed, a number of social media apps like Facebook live and Instagram’s live video feature have integrated this feature into their platforms almost as an afterthought.

So what are the risks?

As with any innovation around technology, it is important to be aware of the risks to ensure children can maximise these opportunities in a safe and meaningful way. Our DigiSafe pupil online safety survey last year in which 40,000 pupils took part, provided a worrying insight into young people’s experiences livestreaming, made even more concerning given the increase in the use of these services:

  • Almost a quarter have livestreamed with someone they haven’t met in person
  • More than 1 in 20 pupils had been asked to change or get undressed on screen – a particular concern is that the youngest (7 – 8-year olds) were just as likely to be asked to get undressed as students in the first 4 years of secondary school. Whereas predators may trick older children into undressing online, as opposed to coerce or request, they may also hide behind a challenge for younger children, such as “Let’s see how quickly you can change into your swimming costume.”
  • 1 in 6 said something else had happened that had made them feel uncomfortable – with levels of discomfort much higher for those in primary school

You can read the full report, ‘Hopes and Streams’ at

Since carrying out the survey, research carried out by the Internet Watch Foundation revealed that 98% of publicly available livestreamed child sexual abuse images involved children aged 13 and under, with 28% of them below the age of 10.   As well as inappropriate contact, young people could also be exposed to age inappropriate sexual or violent content, abusive and offensive comments and bullying from their audience. Children may freely give out their social media contact details in order to attract more followers, often broadcasting alone from their bedrooms – this is the equivalent of letting strangers into their home without parents realising. With those vulnerable often seeking validation online, positive comments and compliments could also encourage risky behaviour, and because of the live nature, content cannot be edited or moderated and once streamed, could be recorded and shared. The thrill of being live may also reduce their inhibitions, encouraging them to say or do things they wouldn’t normally do, which in turn could have an impact on their digital footprint, with repercussions for their online reputation in terms of how others may see them in the future – think about university applications and employment opportunities.

How can teachers help?

The curriculum provides several opportunities to share good practice, build resilience and promote critical thinking skills online. Teachers can go to to download classroom resources, posters and our ready to use CPD powerpoint with top tips and activities on livestreaming for staff training and discussion starters:

You may also want to take a look at Thinkuknow’s #LiveSkills, designed to help primary and secondary pupils think critically about who they interact with, and how to respond to pressure and manipulation online, whilst Childnet’s To Stream or not to stream provides fun scenario based activities to support classroom discussion.

What can parents do?

There are several resources available for parents at, providing practical steps and tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience online. As well as disabling location services and enabling privacy settings, so children are only streaming to friends they know, parents could think about being present, especially with younger ones, and consider what the surrounding room or location could give away in terms of personal information.

Discussion and involvement with their online life is key – regular conversations about who their friends are, what apps they enjoy and how they are engaging with them is always useful. Parents can also become moderators to keep things in check and find out more about the apps their children are using from the NSPCC Net Aware site. CEOP have produced a short animation called #WhoIsSam, highlighting the importance of parents and carers talking openly to their children about being safe online, healthy relationships and speaking out if anything happens online that worries them or doesn’t feel right. You can also download factsheets on live streaming for parents/carers and professionals to use alongside the animation.

For primary pupils, a general conversation about staying safe online using NSPCC’s Pants Rule and Pantosaurus video is also useful to help understand what parts of the body should stay private, and that this rule applies online as well. Parents can get further advice about managing livestreaming and reporting concerns in Thinkuknow’s A Short Guide to Livestreaming

Its not all doom and gloom though, so don’t forget to highlight the positives with balanced messages and remind children that if someone asks them to do something online, they can always say no, end the stream, and talk to a trusted adult.

And remember to sign up for our future webinars at :

• Cyberbullying: a whole school approach – 13th November 2019
⁣ • Serious Youth Violence – 4th December 2019
⁣ • Fake News – 15th January 2020
⁣ • Engaging Parents with Online Safety – 12th February 2020
⁣ • A Guide for Governors – 11th March 2020 Sign up here and ask your questions in advance.

New Face-to-Face Safeguarding Training for LGfL Schools – Sept 2019

Welcome back to the new academic year! We’ve been busy all summer developing a new training programme to help you keep up with all the new legislation, ensure compliance and and implement effective practice around safeguarding.

As you are aware, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’  has just been updated (September 2019) – so we have commissioned brand new translations of KCSIE Part 1, to reflect the latest changes and updates, to be available mid-September in 11 key community languages. You can download the current versions now at:

As well as providing expert training for safeguarding leads, schools must also ensure they keep ALL other staff up to date with developments – this includes the new guidance document Teaching online safety in school’ (DfE, June 2019), and the new curriculum guidance for Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education,mandatory from September 2020. Did you know that the new RSHE (RSE/PSHE) curriculum has 66 mentions of staying safe online?

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To help you prepare, sign yourself or a relevant staff member up to our new courses – all at no cost, and delivered by some of the country’s leading experts:

  • Official DSL training – full day course offered by experienced local authority trainer with many years’ experience
  • County Lines / Child Criminal Exploitation – delivered by a former Met Police Trident expert on gangs and knife crime
  • PSHE (RSE / RSHE) training on online safety – includes curriculum mapping time; ideal for multiple colleagues to attend as you prepare for the new subject
  • Online Safety Training Featuring CEOP Thinkuknow – ideal for all staff with insights from LGfL and the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command
  • Prevent Duty for School Safeguarding – our new Prevent expert will help senior leaders and governors ensure your school is compliant with the Prevent duty
  • Digital Citizenship Training – Common Sense Media are developing their resources for the UK and will train you on how to use them
  • SafeConf – major annual safeguarding conference attracting 400+ DSLs each year – book now for March 2020

You can find out more and book for all our training now at

And remember, if it’s hard to get out of school you can always join our 4pm TWILIGHT webinars – designed to cover new DfE guidance, livestreaming, bullying, youth violence, fake news, and engaging parents / governors with online safety. Sign up for our webinars now at

The Prevent duty – top tips and resources to support your whole school approach

We were delighted to be joined by a DfE Prevent lead last week for our very first ever LGfL DigiSafe webinar. You can now listen to the full audio here if you missed out on the day. As promised, I’ve provided a summary below, along with top tips, strategies and the latest resources to support you and your school.

Do bear in mind that with Ofsted focusing on equalities, safeguarding and the curriculum, this requires a holistic approach and is relevant to the whole school community – hence my summary may appear extensive, so do feel free to pick out whichever section is relevant to your role from the list below:

  1. Expectations for schools
  2. British Values – the golden thread in the curriculum:
  3. Teaching Primary pupils about extremism and preparing for transition
  4. Raising awareness through assemblies
  5. Equipping staff to deal with challenging questions or controversial issues
  6. Engaging parents                                        

  1. Expectations for Schools:

As you know, schools have a legal responsibility to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. What’s important to stress is that this is ultimately about safeguarding – protecting a young person from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm, such as gangs and child sexual exploitation. And from a safeguarding perspective, we know already that the dynamics and mechanisms around grooming are very similar, as are the vulnerabilities. With that in mind, it is essential to understand the threat to young people, so you can put the necessary preventative measures in place and engage effectively with parents, pupils & staff to ensure transparency and consistency.

2. Fundamental British Values – the Golden Thread in the Curriculum:

Whether we refer to Fundamental British Values or shared values, ultimately, what really matters is the values themselves and how they are embedded in school’s ethos and practices. Rather than teaching this explicitly, these values need to be promoted across the entire curriculum – a golden thread which permeates all aspects of school life. The curriculum provides many creative opportunities for promoting British values, with many schools already demonstrating good practice through subjects such as PSHE, RE, English, and Geography to introduce the concepts of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance. Beyond the curriculum, a holistic approach can develop a strong school ethos to further foster these values – examples of effective practice include having:

  • Student councils to promote pupil participation in a democratic way
  • Circle time to promote critical thinking and opportunities to discuss current affairs
  • International days/visits to places of worship to celebrate cultural awareness
  • Fundraising initiatives to raise awareness and support for global humanitarian issues, e.g. the plight of refugees
  • Peer-mentoring programmes to build resilience, promote respect, social activism and support
  • Debating clubs to discuss local, national and global issues
  • Visits from authorities such as the police and youth justice organisations to reinforce the importance of the rule of law

3. Teaching Primary pupils about extremism and preparing for transition:

Fostering positive values such as tolerance and respect for others will help build resilience to extremist narratives and develop a moral compass – many primary schools will already be doing this. For ideas and examples of effective practice, visit the blog by Twinkl  published in collaboration with Educate against Hate. Several primary schools have incorporated additional strategies or programmes to complement their values centred approach to learning. These include adopting:

I’d like to stress that building resilience to extremist narratives doesn’t have to involve talking about terrorist attacks directly, and it’s important that teachers make a judgement about what is appropriate for their pupils. Many primary school children will however be aware of prominent news events including terrorist attacks, either through social media or their friends and families – so addressing these topics head on can be helpful to provide reassurance and put fears at rest. This could take the form of a circle time activity where pupils are encouraged to talk about their feelings and emotions. To support primary teachers, guidance is available at:

4. Raising Awareness through Assemblies:

Assemblies and collective worship sessions provide ideal opportunities to show how British values are relevant to all your pupils. These can include a series of themes around the building blocks of extremism, e.g. power, fairness, celebrating difference, respect, faith, tolerance and other issues contained within the values concept. There are several key dates that you can plan your assemblies around the school calendar, including:

  • Safer Internet Day – February
  • World Social Media Day – June
  • World Refugee Day – June
  • Anti-bullying Week – November

5. Equipping staff to deal with challenging questions or controversial issues around Prevent:

Independent research from Coventry University has highlighted confidence in having difficult conversations as a key concern for teachers. There are lots of examples of good practice happening in schools, and a key focus for the Department is ensuring that good practice is shared and accessible in order to build teachers’ confidence to having potentially challenging or sensitive discussions – I’d like to point out that you don’t need to be an expert in this area – it’s about being there to listen, providing reassurance to your pupils and knowing who you can signpost to if you don’t have an answer. Your History, RE, Politics and PSHE staff will be able to offer valuable insights and knowledge, along with staff who have experiences or backgrounds from various cultures and interests.

And here are some excellent resources to support you along the way:

6. Promoting critical thinking and building resilience to online radicalisation:

In terms of how the risk manifests itself today, an obvious area of vulnerability is online, with extremists making extensive use of online platforms to incite hate, shape opinion and spread their ideologies. We must therefore assume that anyone could at some point be vulnerable online in the absence of protective factors. Unrestricted access to inaccurate content, misinformation and propaganda, together with the unregulated nature of the internet bring new risks, further exacerbated by the volume of online content available.

Points to consider

  • Research from Ofcom’s findings suggests more young people today prefer watching content on YouTube to TV.
  • Although schools will be providing appropriate monitoring & filtering in line with KCSIE’s statutory guidance, this doesn’t necessarily mean that young people won’t see age inappropriate content through their friends’ devices, Bluetooth or other avenues.

The good news is that as school staff, you are in a unique position to empower all children, across all key stages, to be critical thinkers, both off & online. Circle time, form time discussions and opportunities for debate provide valuable openings to help build resilience through the development of knowledge and support pupils to think critically and independently. Useful resources to build into your assembly and form time include:

  • Trust Me – lesson plans, presentations and guidance from LGfL and Childnet for primary and secondary teachers to start discussions around critical thinking, with a focus on content, contact, and propaganda material
  • – cross-curricular activities, lesson plans, quizzes and videos to distinguish between fake and real news
  • IPrevent – guidance, interactive quizzes and case studies to support teachers, pupils and parents around extremism, grooming and cyberbullying
  • Tower Hamlets Prevent resources – lesson plans and activities for to support tutor discussion, assemblies and classroom discussion

7. Engaging parents:

Not all adults share the same use of social media as their children – so we also need to consider how to educate and empower parents and carers. Many schools have found it useful to invite parents to a school safeguarding session, which provides an opportunity to have a stall where you can raise awareness of Prevent as part of the wider safeguarding issues including online safety, FGM and CSE. Coffee mornings and parent evenings are also great opportunities to ask you pupils to present an online safety update, and carry out parent surveys. Remember to update your website with a link to Educate Against Hate which has an excellent section for parents, and you will also find some fantastic resources to signpost parents to at , including how to discuss a terrorist attack with your child.

A reminder that if teachers have a concern, they should follow their normal safeguarding procedures. This will usually involve speaking with their schools’ designated safeguarding lead who may suggest further discussion with the student or their parents. The Department for Education has established a counter-extremism helpline to avoid a situation where teachers feel there is no one willing to act on their concerns. Details are available on the Department for Education’s GOV.UK homepage and on There is also advice on this site about possible signs of radicalisation.

Do feel free to contact us or post a comment if you have any further questions, or would like further information on this topic. Email or follow us @LGfLDigiSafe

Everyone is talking about the Age Appropriate Design Code – so how will this upcoming legislation protect our children online?

Last month, after lenthy campaigning, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released their much anticipated Age Appropriate Design Code. You may have heard about this groundbreaking initiative, currently under consultation until 31st May 2019. But what exactly is it and why does it affect you?

Aimed at providers of social media platforms, content streaming services, online games, apps, devices, search engines and other websites, it outlines a code of practice for online services ‘likely to be accessed by children in the UK’. Through a set of 16 robust standards it ensures that the best interests of the child are the primary condition during the design and development phase. In doing so, it paves the way for parents and children to make informed choices and exercise control. This is vital, since many online services frequented by children were initially designed with adults in mind, well before the advent of new technologies when significant legislation around data protection and consumer rights enabled these services to bypass basic online safeguarding principles. It is worth noting also that the code is not restricted to services specifically directed at children, but are nonetheless likely to be used by under-18s, so even if the service claims to target adults, documented evidence is required to demonstrate that children are not likely to access the service in practice.

Why am I so excited?

As educators we have come a long way in raising awareness of risk and empowering pupils, parents and carers with strategies to stay safe online as part of our duty of care. Yet we all know that children are only as safe as the environment they occupy – their online world is a little like William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, the only difference being that here they inhabit a virtual island, unregulated and lacking in adult supervision, where they are unwittingly manipulated into forfeiting their personal information by entities masked behind the anonymity of their screens. A recent report by the Norwegian Consumer Council, Deceived by Design, warns that many big tech companies currently employ psychologists to design ‘sticky’ environments that nudge children to spend more time online and thereby generate greater profits. Tactics often used include the use of ‘dark’ patterns, or tricks incorporated in web and app design to encourage them to make choices they may not have intended to, like buying or signing up for something.

So last year when a group of pupil cybermentors at Greenford High School were invited to partake in a focus group by Revealing Reality, commissioned by the ICO to inform the Code’s development, I was thrilled. Their concerns were evident from the start, ranging from a lack of clarity around default privacy settings on social media, and the adult terminology used in terms and conditions notices, to confusion about how their data was being used and indirect ways their location and personal information could be tracked. Many also pointed out the varied strategies employed to extend their time online, such as positive feedback loops, reward cycles and forfeiting points if they paused in the middle of a game. Some pupils also admitted compromising these concerns, believing they had to agree to certain terms at the cost of missing out on these services altogether, in order to socialise and benefit from the apps their peers used. Seeing that their voices along with several others nationally have not only been heard but taken on board in shaping this vital piece of legislation is therefore great news.

A summary of the 16 standards from the code

So what does the Code mean?

You can access the entire document here – but I’ve taken the liberty of summarising key recommendations and significant nuggets that you will find useful for your discussions with pupils and parents below. These include, but are not limited to ensuring providers take responsibility for:

  • Establishing a high privacy default setting on all sites
  • Introducing robust age verification checks on platforms or treating all users as children
  • Limiting how children’s personal data is collected, used and shared
  • Disabling geolocation tools by default and providing an obvious sign for children when tracking is active, which must default back to off when each  session is over
  • Removing targeted advertising as standard, unless there is a compelling reason not to
  • Discouraging ‘nudge’ techniques from inciting children to engage in a certain way and keep them online for longer. Examples include Snapchat ‘streaks’ or Facebook ‘likes’, luring them to click on preferred options through use of more prominent buttons, colours or fonts, or making it ‘difficult’ to manage their choices. Instead of driving users to share personal data, guidelines require providers to ‘nudge’ children towards healthy behaviours such as taking screen breaks
  • Ensuring privacy information, terms and condition are concise, transparent and in age-appropriate language, with bite-sized explanations about how data is used at the point of access
  • Requiring companies to show that all staff involved in the design and development of services likely to be used by children comply with the code of practice.

And that’s not all – it will be statutory, with companies facing legal action for failing to comply, and fines of up to £18 million or 45% of annual turnover for serious breaches of data protection in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It’s worth noting that critics have pointed out that in treating everyone like children, the code invariably undermines user privacy by requiring the collection of credit card details or passports for every user, and is an attack on the business model of online news and many other free services, making it difficult to target advertising to viewer interests.

And whilst there are areas for clarification, I remain optimistic, and hope this has inspired you to discuss this ground-breaking code with your pupils – after all it will affect them and their insights are critical – so please collate their views, and respond to the consultation here. The safeguarding of our children online can only be effectively addressed through collective social mediation and critical thinking, focusing on the impact of online behaviour and environments. This requires a commitment by industry to take responsibility for safer online environments through improved design and monitoring, together with an inclusive and collaborative approach to education, with the child’s best interest at the heart of this. Furthermore, as technology rapidly evolves, it is vital for policy makers to keep abreast of these developments. Only then can we take an informed and consistent approach in addressing online risk, enabling young people to safely maximise the wealth of opportunities afforded by technology.