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Guidance: teaching online safety in school

The Department for Education has published non-statutory guidance supporting schools to teach pupils how to stay safe online when studying new and existing subjects.

The guidance highlights the importance of teaching pupils about the knowledge and behaviours that can help them to navigate the online world safely and confidently regardless of the device, platform or app they are using. 

The document outlines how schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of existing curriculum requirements. It complements existing and forthcoming subjects including relationships education, relationships and sex education, health education, citizenship and computing.

Read the guidance online here.

The guidance also signposts to relevant government guidance and a range of national organisations who can offer support to schools, including:

The Anti-Bullying Alliance - A coalition of organisations and individuals, working together to stop bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn. Their website includes a range of tools and resources to support schools to prevent and tackle cyberbullying.

Childnet - a children's charity and has a wide range of practical resources freely available, covering all online safety issues, and which are available for teachers working with children of all ages, including children with SEN.

Internet Matters – a not-for-profit organisation set up to empower parents and carers to keep children safe in the digital world, they also have a dedicated section of their website for professionals which includes resources to support staff training, whole-school programmes and policies and a parent pack to help schools engage with parents about online safety.

Internet Watch Foundation – an internet hotline for the public and IT professionals to report potentially criminal online content, including child sexual abuse images online.

NSPCC learning – includes a range of safeguarding and child protection teaching resources, advice and training for schools and colleges.

Parent Zone's dedicated school zone - includes a range of resources to support teachers educate their pupils on how to stay safe online, what to do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation and how to build their digital resilience.

PSHE Association - the national body for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. Their programme of study for PSHE education aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, team working and critical thinking. They also have many guides about how to teach specific topics.

SWGfL – a charity dedicated to empowering the safe and secure use of technology. Their website includes a range of free resources for schools covering a range of online safety issues, including digital literacy / critical thinking and consequences of sharing and publishing images.

UK Safer Internet Centre – a partnership between Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people. Their website includes a range of practical resources and support for schools.


First published 15 July 2019

First published 24 October 2019