About the Online Safety Mark

Schools that are able to show good practice in their online safety policy and procedures can apply for the Online Safety Mark. The first step towards gaining the mark involves an online application to South West Grid for Learning and submission of a completed 360 degree safe self review in which the school has reached at least the benchmark level in all aspects (shown on the online tool). There will also have to be a full commentary for each aspect, which describes the provision for that aspect and how it meets the benchmark level. 

If there are good reasons why a school cannot reach the benchmark level in any aspect (possibly because of the size or governance of the school), this must be explained clearly in the commentary for that aspect for the assessor to judge whether or not the school is still likely to qualify for the Online Safety Mark.

Following the application, the Assessor will check the completed 360 degree safe self review tool to ensure that the school appears (in its commentary) to have met the benchmark levels and be ready for an assessor visit.

The school is then visited by one or two assessors for a half day visit. Assessors will agree an agenda for the visit with the school based on an exemplar agenda. The assessor will meet with a range of staff, students / pupils, parents / carers and governors and will also carry out a brief review of some of the schools paper / online evidence (policies, minutes, audit logs etc). At the end of the visit the school will be informed by the assessor whether or not their application has been successful. The assessor will also suggest areas of strength and weakness in the school’s online safety provision. There is a charge for the assessment.

Click here to see the draft schedule for an Online Safety Mark Assessor Visit and here for additional guidance for applicants. Feedback from Online Safety Mark schools has been very positive. Click here to see a list of successful Online Safety Mark schools and here to see the feedback from these schools.

Assessment Charges:

There are three levels of charges for schools:

  • Maintained schools / colleges with less than 500 pupils / students £800 (+VAT)

  • Maintained schools / colleges with 500 or more pupils / students £1,000 (+VAT)

  • All Independent Schools £1,000 (+VAT)

The Online Safety Mark is active for three years, at which time the school / college will need to be re-assessed if it wishes to maintain the award. Charges will again apply (at the levels current at that time).

Successful schools receive an individually printed Online Safety Mark wall plaque, an Online Safety Mark Certificate and the right to use the Online Safety Mark logo on their web site and headed paper etc. They will also have the opportunity to purchase Online Safety Mark lapel badges for their staff.

If the school is unsuccessful, the Assessor will inform them as to whether there are minor or significant gaps in their provision (which will influence the length and cost of the subsequent re-assessment). If there are significant gaps the school will need to go through the full process again, as though it were a first assessment.

If there are minor gaps, the school can apply for a second (shorter) assessment visit at half the above cost when the assessor will check only on those areas deemed to be inadequate at the first Assessor visit.

Apply online now  or Download a printable version