By Suzanne Marshall, Curriculum and Teaching Lead at CDN 

As online learning and communicating via the digital space have become commonplace, how are we responding to the need to continue to safeguard students whilst empowering them to become effective digital citizens?

The following resources have been compiled to give you some advice and guidance. Thanks to Jess McBeath from SWGfL Scotland for her invaluable help.


Jess McBeath from SWGfL Scotland delivers a webinar on embracing blended learning and how to make sure our students and staff are safe and empowered online. CDN and Jisc Virtual Bridge Sessions: Responding to the Digital Student


There are a number of online safety podcasts by SWGfL covering such areas as: Bring your own device (BYOD); Sexting; Online Reputation; What is Persuasive Design?; Young people speak about their online rights; Remote learning and safeguarding considerations; Online scams; Professional Online Safety Helpline; What is information? and Online Radicalisation.


This is a Google doc of lots of resources created by Third Sector Lab and SCVO Digital. It has a section on ‘safeguarding policies’ and on ‘Remote learning and working’, but also cases studies and examples in relation to using technology to support people struggling with mental health, gender-based violence, disability, homelessness and equalities.

Google Doc – COVID-19: Digital Service Delivery for Charities Link.

Welfare Advice Packs for Students

These advice packs cover a range of topics and aim to promote online welfare, encourage students to create a positive online presence and find support if things go wrong. Topics covered include: Not yours to share; Reputation matters; Sextortion; Lets talk stalking.

Advice for Teaching Staff

A Guide to the Facebook Family of Apps for Schools: A Guide to Facebook’s Family of Apps for Schools link

Although this guide is written for schools, it covers information which could just as easily relate to colleges on the use of Facebook Pages; Facebook Groups; Facebook Live; Messenger and WhatsApp for online learning and engagement.

Practitioner Support for Online Remote Learning

Education Scotland has published a resource for supporting practitioners in developing online opportunities for blended learning.

Advice on Safe Remote Learning Amidst Coronavirus

SWGfL has listed a set of safeguarding checks to inform education professionals on individual technologies: SWGFL – Advice on Safe Remote Learning amidst Coronavirus link

Education Professionals Guide to Remote Working

SWGfL has put together resource that outlines key points to remember for remote working: SWGFL – Education Professionals Guide to Remote Working link

Policy and Risk Assessment for Online Service Delivery:

AACOSS – Online safety information for other organizations link
• Online safety self-evaluation: Online Compass link
• Draft model protocol for online 1:1 meetings: AOC – Draft model protocol for online 1:1 meetings link
• Headstart Online Resilience Tool: Headstart Online Resilience Tool link

Issues that tend to be overlooked include checking the terms and conditions, updating your policies to reflect that services are now delivered online, ensuring a young person and/or their parent gives informed consent to the use of a certain platform, considering how to provide the service if consent is not given, and addressing accessibility (e.g. cost of data on a mobile device).

Regarding Choice of Video Conference Platforms – Things to Consider Include:

• Terms and conditions (minimum age and personal vs business use)
• Privacy (screen/video recording, data collection and harvesting of your contacts)
• Security (strangers joining a call, screensharing, password security, content moderation)
• Support (how to report an issue and what support is available)
• Summary guides on major platforms: Video Conferencing for Kids: Safeguarding and Privacy Overview link

This New Zealand guide is to help evaluate a platform: Netsafe – Digital Safety Management Plan link


CDN’s programme Safeguarding Learners in College can provide you with a better understanding of the legislative and policy background to safeguarding; how to take a person-centred approach to safeguarding and how to identify and respond to any issues and concerns that arise in the college environment. As such it is about safeguarding learners in the broadest sense, not just about protecting and detecting abuse and neglect. There is a resources section which deals with staying safe online.

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