Skip to main content

Internet: Safety

Question for Department for Education

UIN 64890, tabled on 25 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the availability of effective teaching materials to support the guidance entitled, Teaching online safety in school guidance – supporting schools to teach their pupils how to stay safe online, within new and existing school subjects.

Answered on

3 July 2020

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer my right hon. Friend, the Member for East Hampshire to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department has worked extensively with schools, teachers and experts throughout the development of these subjects. This has included over 150 interviews and multiple surveys which informed our support programme to help all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice in these subjects.

The support programme will include online training modules to enable subject leads to train non-specialist teachers in their schools, an implementation guide, and case studies from early adopter schools. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive to all pupils. The first training module for teachers, covering mental wellbeing, is now available on GOV.UK, and additional content, including teacher training modules covering online safety, internet harms and media literacy will be added in the coming months.

Regarding the review of the teaching online safety in school guidance, the guidance is framed around current curriculum requirements in a number of subjects, and we have no plans to update it before September 2020. We will keep the guidance under review to make sure it remains relevant to curriculum requirements.