In Brief

New plans for schools to monitor pupils internet usage


Government consultation proposes better protection for pupils from exploitation and radicalisation

Schools will be forced to monitor students' internet usage and filter what they have access to online in new government plans aimed to protect children from radicalisation.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan unveiled the proposals, which have been published for consultation, and said that they were part of wider plans to increase the protection of children online.

"As a parent, I've seen just what an important role the internet can play in children's education," she said. "But it can also bring risks, which is why we must do everything we can to help children stay safe online – at school and at home."

The proposed measures include showing young people how to use the internet responsibly, and making sure parents and teachers are able to keep youngsters safe from exploitation and radicalisation, Morgan added.

The consultation published by the Education Department outlines a range of possible measures ministers could take to improve online safety for youngsters. It will run until 16 February.

Currently, the department's statutory guidance says that schools in England only need to "consider" teaching pupils about safeguarding online. Ministers want to change this so the teaching is "required".

"The new drive comes amid fears that there are gaps in schools' current approach to protecting children from threats online," reports the Daily Telegraph.

"In particular," the paper adds, "there are concerns children are increasingly being targeted by Islamist extremists who use the internet to brainwash teenagers into radicalisation."

The move was backed by Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. He told The Guardian:

"The internet is a powerful tool but also poses obvious risks for children and young people. We think schools would welcome greater clarity on how to deploy appropriate filters and monitoring systems and that they will readily fulfil their safeguarding duties in this domain."

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