Online safety policy: model and examples

Download and adapt our model online safety policy, which includes acceptable use agreements for pupils, parents/carers and staff. See examples of policies from primary, secondary and special schools.

Last reviewed on 10 January 2024See updates
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Contents
  1. Download our model policy
  2. How to make sure your own policy is up to date 
  3. Primary school examples
  4. Secondary school examples
  5. Special school examples
  6. Further reading

Download our model policy

Our model is:

  • Designed for you to adapt to suit your school's context
  • In line with relevant requirements and good practice
  • Approved by Forbes Solicitors

It also contains:

  • Separate acceptable use agreements for you to use with: 
    • The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage (KS) 1 pupils and parents/carers
    • KS2, KS3 and KS4 pupils and parents/carers
    • Staff, governors, volunteers and visitors 
  • A self-audit for staff on their online safety training needs 
  • An online safety incident report log for your designated safeguarding lead (DSL) to use 

Model policy: online safety

How to make sure your own policy is up to date 

10 January 2024 – we've updated the artificial intelligence (AI) section of our model policy (6.4) to include a reference to deepfake pornography. While it hasn't come into force yet, creating or sharing deepfake pornography of someone without their permission is a new criminal offence under the Online Safety Act 2023. Find out what the act means for your school, as well as a list of the new and revised offences. 

29 August 2023 – we've updated the cyber-bullying section of our model policy to include section 6.4 about artificial intelligence, which includes a clause related to the potential misuse of generative AI, such as ChatGPT and Google Bard in relation to 'deepfakes'.

27 June 2023 – we've updated sections 3.1 and 3.3 of our model policy to reflect changes in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2023:

  • In section 3.1: emphasised the role and responsibilities of the governing board in relation to online safety, particularly around maintaining filtering and monitoring systems, and staff training
  • In section 3.3: added the responsibility that the DSL holds for the school filtering and monitoring systems

28 September 2022  we've updated section 6.3 of our model policy to:

  • More strongly emphasise that staff who are authorised to search pupils must first be satisfied that they have reasonable grounds for suspecting a pupil is in possession of a device that poses a risk, before taking steps to carry out a search 
  • Explain that if a search is not urgent, the authorised member of staff will seek advice from the headteacher or another senior staff member on what to do next 

31 August 2022  we've updated section 6.3 in line with updated guidance from the DfE on searching, screening and confiscation to:

  • Explain that only the headteacher and authorised members of staff can search for and confiscate electronic devices (to see our reasoning for this, read the section 'Who can carry out a search and when' in our article on searching pupils and confiscation)
  • Explain what staff members are expected to do before carrying out a search
  • Clarify that staff will first consider an appropriate safeguarding response if they find material that might put a person at risk
  • Clarify the procedure for deciding when there is a 'good reason' for staff to examine and delete material from an electronic device 
  • Remove a reference to legislation to avoid repetition

8 June 2022 – we've added the following to reflect Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022:

  • In section 3.1: a bullet point stating that governors should make sure that online safety is a running and interrelated theme while devising and implementing their whole-school or college approach to safeguarding and related policies and/or procedures
  • In section 5: bullet points to explain that:
    • The school will let parents/carers know what systems the school uses to filter and monitor online use
    • The school will tell parents/carers what their children are being asked to do online (e.g. sites they need to visit or who they'll be interacting with online) 

10 May 2022 – we've added an asterisk in section 6.3 Examining electronic devices to clarify that if a staff member believes a device may contain a nude or semi-nude image, or an image that it’s a criminal offence to possess, they will not view the image but will report this to the DSL (or equivalent). The DSL will then decide what to do next, in line with the relevant guidance. Read more about how to respond to child-on-child sexual abuse.

9 December 2021 – the acceptable use agreement for Key Stage (KS) 2, KS3 and KS4 pupils and parents/carers in the appendix now includes a statement that says 'I will not... Create, link to or post any material that is pornographic, offensive, obscene or otherwise inappropriate'. This is to bolster the agreement in light of staff being bullied on social media sites, such as TikTok. 

Primary school examples

Secondary school examples

Special school examples

Further reading

If you're a Whole School member, or have Leaders+ membership with access to The Key Leaders and The Key Safeguarding, you can use our go-to hub of online safety resources, which includes assemblies, posters, lesson plan packs, staff training and factsheets to share with parents/carers. Download everything you need to help keep your school community safe online.

Find out how to review your approach to pupil online safety.

Understand what arrangements you should have in place to keep pupils safe online and take a look at further resources to help you manage online safety in your school.

Download and use our child safety factsheets for parents/carers on The Key Safeguarding – you'll need to have membership to access these. Factsheet topics include Snapchat, Fortnite and TikTok. 

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