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Children: Internet

Question for Department for Education

UIN 10106, tabled on 12 September 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of teaching in secondary schools on how to stay safe online.

Answered on

9 October 2017

‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE) is the statutory guidance which schools and colleges must have regard to, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. KCSIE sets out that governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including staying safe online, through appropriate teaching. This may include covering relevant issues through Personal, Social, Health and Economic education and through Sex and Relationship education.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to make Relationships Education at primary and Relationship and Sex Education at secondary mandatory through regulations. We expect the teaching of safe online relationships to be part of this. To get this right, the Department will be engaging with schools, teachers; parents and pupils; experts in safeguarding and child wellbeing; subject experts; faith groups; voluntary organisations and other interested parties; and other Government Departments and public sector bodies.

The new computing curriculum (ages 5-16) was introduced in September 2014 to replace the ICT curriculum, which was widely regarded by industry and academics as outdated. The development of the content was largely led by sector representatives and includes topics on digital literacy and using communications technology responsibly.

The Department funds the Network of Excellence programme which provides high quality teacher continuous professional development to support the new computing curriculum and reformed computer science GCSE, provided by a team of around 400 ‘Master Teachers’ and coordinated by ten university based regional centres.

Ofsted takes into account pupils’ understanding of how to stay safe online and the dangers of inappropriate use of mobile technology and social networking sites as part of their inspection process.

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