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Since September 2016, it has been a mandatory requirement for all schools to have an online monitoring system in place.
Although, filtering systems, which block or limit access to unsuitable websites, are a common tool in many education establishments, they come with several limitations. Unlike filter systems, active monitoring is a key strengthening tool in safeguarding strategies, revealing information about where online and real-world dangers are in schools.
What is active monitoring?
Active monitoring is a proactive method of safeguarding that works by capturing potentially harmful or dangerous content, behaviour or activity. This allows schools to assess potential risk and lessen the chances of those risks being missed both online and offline.
Schools or education establishments who are considering active monitoring, must follow a best practice approach including a full deployment process, which ensures the systems effectivity. Impero Software share their top tips for a successful deployment…
1) Set up a working group
The working group should consist of the technical teams, behaviour teams and safeguarding teams to ensure that the system is set up and tailored to their needs. Schools and colleges should discuss the differences between a behaviour issue and a safeguarding issue and try and define what the thresholds are, in sync with the current guidance and school policy.
2) Pilot your system
The system should be piloted and different approaches to managing the captures should be adopted to see what works. This should be part of an ongoing review process to ensure it ‘fits’ with the existing structures.
3) Link to existing policies
It should be linked with the existing policies in school around safeguarding, child protection and behaviour.
4) Communicate to staff
The whole school/college should be aware that the new system is in place and understand their role within the roll out. Generic awareness training for all staff should be developed, followed by specific training for different groups of staff.
5) Offer training
Staff training should be developed for specific members who have a role in managing the implementation and the roll out, for example: those members of staff involved in viewing captures may need a training session on escalations and thresholds.
6) Stick to a Launch Deadline
Launch the programme with a clear deadline and highlight this to all staff. Even if your deadline changes, it’s important to keep all your staff or key stakeholders in the loop to ensure a smooth deployment.
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