The 360 degree safe Self Review Tool, created by the South West Grid for Learning Trust, is a free online tool which assesses the quality of each school’s e-safety provision.
Following the official launch at the E-Safety Live Conference in late November, the online tool has been used by over 200 establishments, while 86 of those establishments have completed the tool, assessing all of the aspects provided.
The value of the online tool has now been enhanced through its official endorsement by the University of Plymouth, one of the partner members of the SWGfL E-Safety Group which was responsible for the production of the tool and a wide range of other resources for schools and associated organisations.
Independent evaluation of the tool was carried out by members of CSCAN, who are recognized experts in the Internet Security and Online Safety fields. This evaluation involved feedback on the content and structure of the assessment method, alongside practical trialling of the self review tool (conducted independently of persons involved in the original design and implementation of the software).
Through this evaluation CSCAN were able to confirm that the 360 degree safe Self Review Tool offers best practice in the field of Online Safety for schools to review, challenge and improve their e-safety provision.
Professor Steve Furnell, Research Director, CSCAN, University of Plymouth provided his support for the tool by stating that: "The University of Plymouth values its partnership with SWGfL and is delighted to support and endorse the new e safety self review tool; 360 degree safe. The tool is innovative and will have a significant impact in assessing and improving e safety provision is schools not only across the South West but also beyond".
Feedback from schools using the tool has been excellent. Julie Bowden, E-Safety Coordinator at St Marks School, Weston super Mare reported that .. “The 360 degree safe online tool was easy to login to and use. ... The tool generates very comprehensive reports which were useful to identify our areas of strong performance and where we had areas of e-safety still to improve on, giving practical suggestions for action.”
As schools progress in their use of the tool they can achieve Certificates of Commitment and Progression. If they can show good practice and have reached the required benchmark levels they can apply for the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark. The E-Safety Mark allows for schools to visibly demonstrate to their various communities that their e-safety provision has received external scrutiny and is recognised as best practice. Six schools (list below) have now been successful in the E-Safety Mark applications, following a visit from the Assessors.
At one of those successful schools, Saltash.net School in Cornwall, the Deputy Head, Dave Garland confirmed the value of the online tool and the E-Safety Mark process: “I now think that it is not just enough to have an e-safety policy and hope for the best. As soon as schools feel that they have good systems and procedures in place they SHOULD test them against the online e-safety tool to see whether they are robust enough. I am also grateful that at least one important part of the whole OFSTED safeguarding agenda is now secure (although of course improvements were suggested by the assessing team and we will address these). We felt so pleased to have been awarded the e-safety mark at the end of the day. It was a lot of hard work but it has made our school and our students more secure. It has sharpened up our practice and has informed our way forward in this vitally important area.”
Schools can register for free use of the 360 degree safe Self Review Tool by visiting: www.360safe.org.uk.
Within the tool they are asked to select their responses on a five level scale and at each level they are provided with action points that would take them to the next level. There are also links to relevant documents and suggestions of where they might find evidence. Free text sections allow them to make their own comments, action statements and lists of evidence sources. The inter-active tool is a valuable resource for schools who want to improve their online safety and safeguard their pupils, students and staff.
February 7th, 2010
The six successful schools that have been awarded the E-Safety Mark are:
• Bradon Forest, Wiltshire
• St Marks VA Ecumenical C of E/Methodist Primary School, North Somerset
• Heles School, Plymouth
• Saltash.net School, Cornwall
• St Josephs Catholic Primary School, North Somerset
• Gateacre Community Comprehensive School, Liverpool