1. Accreditation
  2. Online Safety Mark

About the Online Safety Mark

Online Safety MarkSchools/academies 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/academy has reached at least the benchmark level in all aspects (shown on the online tool). The school/academy must also provide a full commentary, in the tool, for each aspect which fully describes their their provision for that aspect and how it meets the required benchmark level. School/academies should note that many initial applications are rejected because the school/academy has not provided sufficient detail to show how they have reached the required benchmark level in each aspect. In contrast, it is very rare for a school/academy to not be awarded the Online Safety Mark at the Assessor visit and this is due to the initial sifting/quality assurance that takes place.

If there are good reasons why a school/academy 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/academy 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/academy appears (in its responses) 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 school's/academy's paper/online evidence (policies, minutes, audit logs etc). At the end of the visit the school/academy 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/academy's online safety provision. There is a charge for the assessment.

Draft schedule for an Online Safety Mark Assessor Visit

Additional Guidance for Applicants

Feedback from Online Safety Mark schools/academies has been very positive. You can see a map of successful Online Safety Mark schools/academies and see the feedback from these schools/academies.

Assessment Charges

  • Maintained schools/academies with less than 500 pupils / students £850
  • Maintained schools/academies with 500 or more pupils / students £1,000
  • All Independent Schools £1,000

The Online Safety Mark is active for three years, at which time the school/academy will need to be re-assessed if it wishes to maintain the award. Charges will again apply (at the levels current at that time). For their first re-assessment schools/academies may opt for a desktop assessment, rather than a full assessed visit.

Successful schools/academies 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/academy 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/academy will need to go through the full process again, as though it were a first assessment.

If there are minor gaps, the school/academy 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.

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Online Safety Mark Re-assessment Details

The Online Safety Mark is current for three years. At the end of the three years schools/academies can apply for re-assessment - either by a full assessed visit or a desktop assessment. Schools may only apply for a desktop assessment once in between full assessed visits. Further details are available here:

Details of Re-assessment Arrangements and Application Forms