To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157108, on Remote Education: Computer Software, what assessment he has made of potential implications of the (a) access to data and (b) dependence on other services costs associated with free to use platforms.
12 March 2021
The Department supports schools in meeting their safeguarding and data protection obligations in a number of ways.
The Get Help with Remote Education webpage allows teachers to access guidance, resources and support on educating pupils during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes information on issues such as safeguarding, statutory duties and expectations. Of particular use will be the following guidance which provides information on how to follow safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
The following lines on virtual lessons and live streaming are included within the guidance.
- Should schools choose to provide remote education using live streaming or pre-recorded videos, guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre on video conferencing services could help schools to set up video conferencing safely: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/video-conferencing-services-security-guidance-organisations and https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/video-conferencing-services-using-them-securely.
- In addition, guidance from the UK Safer Internet Centre on safe remote education includes detailed advice on live, online teaching, and the safeguarding guidance from London Grid for Learning includes platform-specific advice: https://swgfl.org.uk/resources/safe-remote-learning/ and https://coronavirus.lgfl.net/safeguarding.
The Department will continue to support schools in these matters. Where an individual has concerns about the processing of their or their child’s personal data, they should in the first instance raise this matter with school as the data controller. Further guidance on data protection is also provided by the UK Information Commissioner: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2020/12/ico-publishes-new-data-sharing-code-of-practice/.
Schools can apply for government funding to establish access to, and training on, a free digital education platform. Once schools have access to a platform, the school’s pupils can use it for free. Free training and support to set up and use technology effectively is available through the EdTech Demonstrator Programme: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/EdTech-demonstrator-programme.