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Safer Online Learning


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Supporting the International School community… ICPA is here to help.

Dear Colleagues

During online learning with your students we understand that Safeguarding your community at this time can be a challenge . Please note this is a guidance document only, some of which you may find useful.

Make sure that your guidance to safe online learning ensures the highest possible standard of the personal safety and wellbeing of both Students and Teachers. Students may be increasing their screen time usage during an enforced school closure or period of self-isolation, so safer internet guidance for families is essential.

The guidance should be used in accordance with your School:

Safeguarding/CP policy

Digital Policy

Any Responsible User Agreement

Code of Conduct

Managing Allegations against an Adult

Consider the following 10 key questions when setting up any online learning:

1. Is the Online Learning site for both Students and Teachers approved by the School?

2. Have you made it clear that all social media addresses, emails or phone numbers of all Students and Teachers are confidential and must not be shared with either party?


3. Does a member of the school leadership team have open access to the online lesson session?


4. If for any reason online learning sessions need to be video recorded with consent, can you ensure they are stored on the school’s platform?

5. Do you have a recording system for all staff to log one to one and group online learning/support? Can this be backed up with timestamp evidence?

6. Do Parents of Elementary Students have open access to any Online Learning?

7. Is the online learning environment safe for both Students and Teachers? Are all passwords protected?

8. Do all resources or marketing materials relating to Online Learning avoid identification of any Student by name or their location?

9. Have all participants been reminded of your reporting procedures and have the relevant contact details?

10. Do you have a ‘watch list’ of any students who you feel are at more risk due to a prolonged stay at home? These may be students you often receive referrals about just before holidays. Do they have a safety plan agreed with your counsellors?


1. All lines of reporting must follow your School guidance. Are there confidential online options for this procedure available?

2. Your procedures should aim to ensure a fast response to any incident and to minimise any risk or harm to a Student or other person.

3. Procedures should relate to:

Inappropriate language

Inappropriate behaviour

Inappropriate or abusive images

Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a Student

Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information

This is not an exhaustive list.

4. Local and National Laws should be considered.

5. In your guidelines consider how you will guide Students, Parents and Teachers in any initial reaction to inappropriate behaviour, such as asking an adult/parent to refrain from inappropriate language.

6. Explain what to do if the behaviour does not stop and under what circumstances the session should be terminated.

7. How to cope with a disclosure or sharing of sensitive information about a Student.

8. What will happen to any recordings needed for investigation according to local law?

9. Expectations of future contact between the Teacher and Student.

10. Reporting of any unsolicited contact from any Student or other persons following the termination of an online learning session.

11. How your School will support younger Students to report?


1. Any guidance should be the responsibility of the School Leadership/Board and carefully monitored.

2. Risk assess the use of online learning, including the use of webcams and the suitability of the software being used.

3. Any report of a contravention of guidance in accordance with your school policy should be reviewed by the School Leadership team/Board, who may refer to independent Safeguarding/Child Protection professionals to ensure that an appropriate course of action is taken.

4. Prioritise any incident reported to SG/CP Lead.

5. Consider how your leadership team will respond if a concern is raised about the immediate safety of a Student. Could this activity be illegal in your context?

6. It is the responsibility of the Leadership Team/Board to be aware of any relative national or local laws.

7. Is there appropriate guidance for Teachers, Students and Parents?

8. How will any student, teacher or parent be supported during an online incident at this time?

9. For some families, the coronavirus may affect employment, therefore School Leaders should be aware of any emotional or possible financial impact on families. If at all possible, you should be able to guide them to any organisations that may be able to support them.


Counselling online can present some unique challenges such as confidentiality. When offering this as a school consider the guidance questions;

1. Does the counselling need to happen? Can it be postponed?

2. Can the counselling be outsourced to a professional online service? If so, how do you check the safety of this online service?

3. Do the Parents know you are offering this counselling?

4. Do parents know of any risks posed to their children?

5. If a child is in crisis what other, more accessible support networks can you build for them?

6. When you provide counselling how can you ensure the child’s confidentiality - can they be overheard in the next room for example? Consider a confidentiality contract for all parties to sign.

7. Do you have a recording system to log all counselling sessions? Can this be backed up with timestamp evidence?

8. Can you put safety plans in place for all student at risk of significant and immediate harm? If possible, do this before you need to enact online protocols, if not, utilise online documents for the student to communicate with you on this.

You may find the site from the Independent Schools Digital Strategy Group useful. It contains exemplar documentation from other schools about supporting continues online learning through the Covid19 outbreak.

If you require any further support during this period please contact us at:

Please note: The information contained in this guidance is for general information purposes only.  ICPA make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or suitability with respect to the information contained within the document. Any reliance placed on such information is therefore strictly at the organisation’s own discretion.

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International Child Protection Advisors