E-safety is a developing and significant issue in education at this time. Combined with the developing use of internet-based technology in school, the increased use of social networking by pupils out of school and the apparent increase in welfare related incidents such as bullying and grooming, it is important that all trainees are aware of the issues.
The most significant recent publication is Safer Children in a Digital World: the report of the Byron Review. The Byron Review (under the Chairmanship of Dr. Tanya Byron) is an independent review informs children, adults and policy makers how the internet and video games might affect young people. An extremely useful summary of the Byron review has been made by John Pearson on the TTRB website.
The Byron Report makes direct reference to the TDA's responsibility to make materials available for ITE tutors and mentors and specifically stating the need to assess trainees' e-safety skills against the Professional Standards.
The response of the TDA has been to promote a number of resources: TDA e-safety
The most significant resource for guiding the introduction of e-safety to trainee teachers is Know IT All for trainee teachers The pack contains: an introductory presentation; a copy of the Jenny's Story DVD; a range of resources and references to support in-school activity and written assignments. The package was distributed to all HEIs by the TDA in 2008.
What is Cyberbullying?
Let's Fight It Together
"There is a concern that e-safety activities and guidance always seem to focus on raising awareness of the potential harm to young people that can arise through the internet and strategies for dealing with it, but gives little attention to the harm that users - children and adults, can do to themselves or others through irresponsible use of technology.
"It seems to me that tutors perhaps also have a role in reminding trainees of their need to be responsible users. What seems great fun when out with friends might not look so good to pupils and their parents or prospective or current employers when it is on YouTube for all to see!" Margaret Danby, project manager, ICT Subject Resource Network.
Tutors should also be aware that trainees should be advised not to reproduce images of their pupils and pupils' work that might identify the pupils or make the pupils more vulnerable to bullying.
With many routes to QTS having associated Masters level (NQF level 5) accreditation associated with them, it is important that trainees have guidance in obtaining references. It is also important they can cite and then reference those resources, authoritative documents, reports of research and academic work in an appropriate and consistent format. These documents represent the current thinking in the area of e-safety.
Safeguarding children in a digital world. This excellent publication provides an overview of e-safety issues and is a good starting point to look at the research evidence and links to government policy including Every Child Matters. It also makes useful suggestions for policy and practice, as does the publication E-safety, revised, (DTI, 2005) UK Children Go Online. This report covers the key findings of 9 -19 year olds use of the internet and whilst some of the findings concern the digital divide, many are pertinent to the safety of young people. It contains some worrying statistics on pornography and inappropriate communication (ESRC, 2005). For further details on how the internet is being used see E-safety: the experience in English educational establishments, a report by Charlotte Barrow and Gary Heywood-Everett on an audit of e-safety practices (Becta, 2005).
Signposts to safety (Becta, 2004), makes some very practical suggestions and links to the National Curriculum not only for teaching within discrete ICT lessons but also PSHCE. In addition, Becta offer a number of helpful guides such as Safeguarding children online. To keep abreast of these helpful guides visit the e-safety area of the Becta website.
Available from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is a useful guide Your safety net: exploring the issues of safe learning on the Internet which strikes a balance in its advice between e-safety issues and allowing children to be confident users (ATL, 2002). The guide is free to members and membership is free to trainee teachers.
- ATL (2002) Your Safety Net London, UK: Association of Teachers and Lecturers
- Becta (2004) Signposts to safety Coventry, UK: British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
- Becta (2005) E-safety: the experience in English educational establishments Coventry, UK:
- Becta (2006) E-Safety; Developing Whole-School Policies to Support Effective Practice Coventry, UK: British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
- DfES (2004b) Every Child Matters: Change for Children London, UK: Department for Education and Skills
- DTI (2005) Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy London, UK: Department of Trade and Industry
- ESRC (2005) UK Children Go Online London, UK: Economic and Social Research Council
- Wishart J, Andrews J and Yee WC (2005) Evaluation of the ‘Getting to Know IT All’ London, UK: Childnet International
author: John Woollard
download pdf document: "Esafety.pdf" (87K)