This is not about home education but I wanted to blog it to keep my thoughts straight, as there have been so many announcements and rumours over the holiday period related to extremism and radicalisation.
Today the Government has launched a consultation asking for comments on proposed changes to the document “Keeping Children Safe in Education” which would take effect from September 2016.
As explained by the Department for Education, Keeping children safe in education is statutory guidance that all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Media reports look set to focus on requirements to filter and monitor internet access in schools “so that no child can access harmful content via the school’s IT systems and concerns can be spotted quickly”. The Department for Education says “some school children who travelled or attempted to travel to Syria were able to access material about Daesh and foreign fighters via school computers.”
The Government is also proposing that schools have a specific duty to teach pupils about online risks.
I have had a look at the consultation page and it seems that the proposed changes are primarily a way of systematising, updating and consolidating various segments of advice and guidance (except for changing “should consider” to “should ensure” for schools and colleges teaching safeguarding as mentioned in the paragraph above) There is a table of changes at Annex F here
In addition to the changes proposed for schools, the Government has announced a package of training materials related to online safety, some directed at professionals working with children “to equip them with the tools they need to handle online risks and support young people in today’s digital world” and others designed for families such as the UK’s Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCISS) and the Thinkuknow website
It is NOT being proposed that school pupils should have internet access monitored or filtered on their own personal devices; the reference to the “measures” for the home in the headline below refers to the expanded online safety guides to help parents understand the risks.
New measures to keep children safe online at school and at home
As far as home educators are concerned, it is conceivable – at a stretch – that someone might ask whether home educating parents are being notified about – or offered – online safety training.