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ICT and internet acceptable use policies
Make sure your staff and pupils understand how to use your ICT systems and the internet appropriately with a policy. Read over what to include in such a policy, and see examples of these policies for staff members and pupils.
- What to include
- Examples: for school staff
- Examples: for pupils
What to include
An acceptable use policy for staff may include rules about keeping electronic copies of personal data safe.
Read more about good practice in these areas in these articles:
See our model data protection policy for more detailed guidelines on handling personal data.
Your policy should reflect your specific setting, but there are core approaches which all schools are likely to want to adopt and adapt as appropriate. These include:
- No communications device, whether school provided or personally owned, may be used for bullying or harassment of others in any form
- No applications or services accessed by users may be used to bring the school, or its members, into disrepute
- All users have a duty to respect the technical safeguards which are in place. Any attempt to breach technical safeguards, conceal network identities, or gain unauthorised access to systems and services, is unacceptable
- All users have a duty to protect their passwords and personal network logins, and should log off the network when leaving workstations unattended
- All users should understand that network activity and online communications are monitored, including any personal and private communications made via the school network
- All users must take responsibility for reading and upholding the standards laid out in the policy
Find more examples of these core approaches in guidance from the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta).
Becta has now been closed but some of its materials are now available via the National Archives. Its guidance should still be useful.
According to this guidance, your policy should also provide information on:
- Where users can access material, advice and guidance related to e-safety issues
- What sanctions may be taken if the policy is not followed
Depending on your school, you might also want to include information on topics such as:
- Using personal devices on both your premises and network (e.g. you might allow certain year groups to take in mobile phones, but prevent them for using them during the school day)
- Data protection and professional conduct, if the policy is aimed at staff
Examples: for school staff
Kings Worthy Primary School in Hampshire has a policy that covers topics such as:
- Access to resources
- Communication with parents, pupils and governors
- Social media
- Unacceptable use
- Personal and private use
- Whistleblowing and cyberbullying
- Remote access
It also includes an appendix of dos and don'ts for various ICT resources, and a code of conduct for ICT that staff are expected to sign.
Download the ICT acceptable use policy for adults from this page:
The Langley Academy in Slough has a policy that covers the acceptable use of ICT equipment and the use of phones, email and the internet by staff.
The policy covers:
- Password security
- Data protection
- Anti-virus and firewall security
- Safe use of equipment
- Remote access
- Monitoring and logging of internet use
- Action to be taken upon breach of the policy
Staff are asked to sign to show they have read the policy and understood its terms and conditions.
Download the information systems policy from here:
An acceptable use policy for staff from Springwell School in Hartlepool covers subjects such as:
- Software and downloads
- Personal use of school computers
- Internet usage
- Use of social networking sites and online forums
- Supervision of pupil use
Staff are encouraged to sign the policy to confirm they have read it, understood it and agreed to comply with it.
Download the acceptable use policy for adults here:
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You may also be interested in policies on:
Examples: for pupils
Kings Worthy Primary School in Hampshire has a policy that covers:
- Internet access in school
- Using the internet to enhance learning
- Using email
- Ensuring internet access is appropriate and safe
Pupils and one of their parents are then asked to sign a copy of the rules for responsible internet use.
Download the ICT acceptable use policy for pupils here:
The ICT acceptable use policy from Carre's Grammar School in Lincolnshire looks at:
- Network etiquette and privacy
- Online ordering systems
- Internet search engines
- Executable (.exe), music and video files
- Use of personal devices
- Saving work
Springwell School in Hartlepool has a policy that lists the rules for pupils, covering topics such as:
- Logging in and out of computers
- Taking photographs and videos with devices
- Sending emails
- Communicating online
- Bringing personal devices into school
It also includes a short section with rules for parents and carers. Both the pupil and their parent or carer are then asked to sign the policy.
Download the acceptable use policy for pupils here:
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