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Supporting student online safety in Scotland

‘Safeguarding is a golden thread that runs through the curriculum.’

This phrase from Education Scotland’s 2020 Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy sums up perfectly the importance of safeguarding in schools.
Safeguarding young people is a vast area with multiple aspects to consider – and many require a specialist response from education or health professionals. However, one area where NetSupport has significant experience in is developing technology for online safety.
We all know the risks of going online (even as adults), so we collaborate directly with educators to create tools that provide a protected online environment where students can learn about the virtual world in safety.

Introducing classroom.cloud

NetSupport’s cloud-based solution for classroom management and instruction, classroom.cloud, has a comprehensive online safety toolkit incorporating NetSupport’s own contextual intelligence-based technology, so staff can see the context of any safeguarding alerts triggered by the students.
It offers schools a range of tools to monitor concerning online activity, identify students at risk, be alerted to online safety trends, boost digital citizenship skills and wellbeing – all in line with the guidance and resources Scottish schools are already using.


National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People

The National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People 2017 is the most up-to-date Action Plan from the Scottish Government on child internet safety and responsible use.

Excerpt from documentHow classroom.cloud can help support this

“We must all see the protection of children as our collective responsibility and we must all work together to ensure children and young people are protected online.”

Ministerial foreword by Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, MSP.

classroom.cloud has a full online safety toolkit. It helps to keep your online environment safe, by monitoring concerning activity, identifying students at risk, and spotting online safety trends.

What we will do (p. 16)
“The Scottish Government will work to ensure children and young people are supported to build their own resilience online.”

With classroom.cloud’s controls for allowed/restricted lists for websites and applications, students can learn to navigate the online world with the controls in place to keep them safe.

Enhancing Learning And Teaching Through The Use Of Digital Technology – A Digital Learning And Teaching Strategy For Scotland

The Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of digital technology strategy outlines the Scottish Government’s vision for improving education in Scotland and delivering the best possible life chances for children and young people.

Excerpt from documentHow classroom.cloud can help support this
The Importance of Cyber Resilience
We want to ensure that all of our learners are not restricted in accessing appropriate online content that can support and enrich their education. However, we also want our learners to be able to remain safe online. To achieve this goal, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland will work with education establishments and local authorities to ensure that learners and educators are fully aware of the importance of being digitally resilient. This means not only having the technical measures in place for online security, but also teaching learners and educators to be prepared for online threats and ensuring that they can respond and recover if they are encountered.
Simply blocking unsuitable content does not help students to learn. Instead, classroom.cloud encourages a culture of good digital citizenship, with its keyword monitoring tool providing teachers with real-time insights into any trending issues, as well as identifying individual students who are engaged in concerning activity.
To do this, it checks terms against its inbuilt database of more than 14,000 safeguarding terms, covering issues from self-harm, gambling and bullying to racism and radicalisation. It alerts the teacher when phrases are matched, displaying them in an informative word cloud (with explanations of terms supplied).
Some schools have even told us that these tools have allowed them to intervene at just the right time for students who were experiencing serious difficulties.
The Role of Local Authorities – Improve access (p. 6)
“Actively participate in Education Scotland’s ‘Digital Leaders Group’ and look to share knowledge across local authority boundaries.”
Schools can add their own safeguarding keywords to their database (these could be new or unique to your local area) and also share them with other schools nearby.
If they choose, they can also share them with us at NetSupport, so we can continue to build the database for the benefit of all our schools.
The Role of our Education Establishments – Empower leaders (p. 7)
“Ensure that cyber resilience and internet safety is central to all digital technology use in the establishment.”
classroom.cloud’s online safety toolkit provides an essential function in the school’s technology ecosystem. Triggered events can link through to schools’ MyConcern or CPOMS accounts (when integrated) to ensure concerns are tracked/viewable across all platforms.

Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

The 2023 Child protection and safeguarding policy from Education Scotland outlines its corporate responsibility to safeguard and protect children and young people in Scotland.

Excerpt from documentHow classroom.cloud can help support this

Safeguarding policy (p. 3)
“1. Differing legal definitions of the age of a ‘child’ can be confusing. The priority is to ensure that a vulnerable young person who is or may be at risk of harm is offered support and protection…”

In classroom.cloud, staff can mark any vulnerable students of any age on the system and group them together for monitoring in a single view.

What do we mean by Child Protection and Safeguarding? (p. 3)
“Child protection involves: immediate action, if necessary, to prevent significant harm to a child”

classroom.cloud’s contextual intelligence-based Risk Index helps your school determine the severity of triggered events and ensures you can quickly and easily identify and support vulnerable students.
It works like this: The Risk Index assesses the context and history of a student’s current activities (the device used, time of day, websites visited and applications used) and considers them alongside any previous alerts they may have triggered. From this information, it creates a risk index number that is applied to the event. So, if a student has repeatedly researched an online safety topic (e.g. suicide) out of hours, in an unmonitored setting such as the library, a high risk index could result. A lower index rating could come from a student searching a lower risk keyword in a local application during school hours that may have been used for curriculum topics.

What do we mean by Child Protection and Safeguarding? (p. 3)
Safeguarding: This is a much wider concept than child protection and refers to promoting the welfare of children, young people and protected adults. It encompasses protecting from maltreatment, preventing impairment of their health or development, ensuring that they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and taking action to enable all children, young people and protected adults to have the best outcomes. Child protection is part of this definition and refers to activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

classroom.cloud’s word cloud of trending safeguarding topics provides a real-time overview, allowing staff to take timely action where needed.
Additionally, this overview offers staff timely ‘teachable moments’ (e.g., for year groups or whole-school assemblies) before potential problems escalate.

This policy aims to ensure that (p. 5)
“Education Scotland staff are equipped with the information, knowledge, support and guidance to keep children, young people and adults at risk, safe and protected;”

classroom.cloud’s language packs extend online safeguarding to a wider group of students.
It also stores records of triggered keywords or concerns reported by students that can form an important part of any evidence trail.

Policy and legislative context (p. 8)
Education Scotland has a support and monitoring duty within the context of safeguarding in relation to Prevent, Section 26 of the Counter-terrorism and Security Act, 2015, which places a duty on central bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism’

Safeguarding terms around radicalisation are included in the classroom.cloud database and therefore teachers will be alerted if any students type, copy or search for matching terms.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

The Getting it right for every child policy sets out the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide children, young people and families with the right support at the right time.

Excerpt from documentHow classroom.cloud can help support this
“GIRFEC is about enhancing the wellbeing of all children and young people as well as building a flexible scaffold of support: where it is needed, for as long as it is needed.”

Although GIRFEC is a framework for all-round safeguarding, classroom.cloud supports this general principle online by:

  • providing a ‘Report a concern’ feature for students to reach out to trusted members of staff
  • offering a directory of self-service helplines and resources if they prefer to access external help
  • providing the opportunity, through its trending terms, for teachers to talk to students about issues, in the moment.

Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

The 2023 Child protection and safeguarding policy from Education Scotland outlines its corporate responsibility to safeguard and protect children and young people in Scotland.

Excerpt from documentHow classroom.cloud can help support this
Cyber resilience and internet safety
“Cyber resilience and internet safety is everyone’s responsibility. What can we do as practitioners to ensure children are safe online?”

classroom.cloud’s online safety tools act as extra eyes and ears for staff. It: 

  • monitors concerning activity
  • identifies students at risk
  • spots online safety trends
  • boosts digital citizenship skills
  • offers students a way to reach out for help – and more.

See what others say about classroom.cloud

Discover classroom.cloud’s impact in schools worldwide from our case studies and testimonials.

In addition, find out how it can help you with classroom management and instruction by reading this independent evaluation of classroom.cloud’s pedagogical approach.

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