Online safety roundup February 2021 – useful resources, events coming up and conference report!

Successes during this period of remote and blended learning

On 2 February we were delighted to host our annual Online Safety conference, this year virtually, of course. It was interesting to think back to last year when Sarah’s keynote at our centre was on the theme of being fearless with digital learning. How schools and teachers and families have taken up that call during the demands of the current period! 

What came out of a calm moment of reflection at the start of this year’s conference – accompanied by relaxing music, with annotations over Zoom shared slides – was multi-faceted:

“Virtual parents evenings have been a great success; increased engagement of parents with phonics teaching; getting to know parents better; younger children’s mouse skills improving; digital literacy of pupils and staff improving – and becoming a self-appointed “Loom master” (a great way to maintain teacher presence virtually)!

How do we know what and who to trust?

Picking up this month’s Safer Internet Day theme (more on that below) of exploring reliability in the online world, our first speaker Josie gave an illuminating tour of initiatives and programming from the BBC to combat the spread of disinformation. Josie Verghese is an active partner in, and contributor to the News Literacy Network that we’ve mentioned elsewhere. As assistant editor for BBC News and head of BBC Young Reporter, she was well placed to speak about raising the news awareness and skills of children and young people (such as understanding trusted sources and spotting misleading or dishonest information – directly relevant to schools and the curriculum). She also spoke in terms of adult news literacy, perceptions and understanding. This is of great relevance to all of us, particularly at a time of pandemic when we need accurate and reliable information and to be aware of such influencing factors as confirmation bias and the impact of social media.

Among the useful sites she highlighted were:

BBC Young Reporter

BBC iReporter

BBC Bitesize Fact or Fake

BBC Beyond Fake News

BBC Reality Check

The BBC Trusted News Initiative

BBC Ideas: Truth, trust and ‘fake news’ playlist

She also reminded us of the value of Ofcom’s Making Sense of the Media portal for research and data about the habits and critical understanding of users of digital media – adult and child. If that’s something you’re interested in (it could even inform discussions with your own class about what children and young people nationally are doing), you might like to dip into Ofcom’s interactive dashboard, which is a convenient way to access its current regular pandemic related research.

Children’s, families’ and our own sense of wellbeing and mental health

Our second speaker, Lucy Hynard from Parent Zone, picked up the closely related theme of children’s and young people’s mental health, and knowing who to turn to (important for all aspects of online safety). Lucy is responsible for the development of the Ollee app, which receives funding through Children in Need. Although we mentioned Ollee when the app and support hub site were launched back in the autumn, this was the first chance for delegates to really get to grips with the full range of what Ollee has to offer and to hear about its impact so far and plans for further development over the coming two years. 

Here’s a quick round up of some of the statistics Lucy was able to share with us around impact:

In answer to the question ‘has being in contact with Ollee changed how you feel or think about things’, the top five responses were:

  • I know where to go for help with my problems 39%
  • I am in a better mood 36%
  • I feel more calm 32%
  • I am happier about things 31%
  • I try to work out my problems by talking about them 31%


  • Ollee has had more than 6,000 users since it launched in October
  • Ollee has been customised 17,602 times (and rising)
  • Most popular emotions chosen by users of Ollee – equal top: Sad 19% Happy 19% followed by Worried 17%, Stressed 13%, Confused 12%, Angry 12%, Frustrated 8%

It was great to see that at the end of the conference many attendees noted that following up on Ollee with colleagues was an action they were planning.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Parent Zone have recently published this article on how Ollee has been used to date.

We plan to feature work with Josie and Lucy on our BlendEd blended learning resource platform soon, picking up the key points around digital critical awareness, wellbeing and mental health when so much of life for many families is being lived online.

Incidentally, Children’s Mental Health week runs 1 to 7 February and includes a virtual assembly with BAFTA and Oak National Academy. On the website there are free resources that can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning, with nothing to stop schools scheduling activity and focus over a longer period of time than this current week.

Useful external resources and context

The conference ‘read, reflect and discuss’ workshop highlighted very briefly some important recent reports, blogs and useful resources, as well as mentioning our updated online safeguarding overview, which is available on our BlendEd website. All are worth a quick glance if you have time and show how vast this whole area is becoming and some of the nuances. These ranged from the latest information about the proposed Online Harms legislation from the government, to resources for teaching about understanding and minimising the risks of, as well as making the most of the benefits of live streaming, and some advice for parents.

Useful links:

Regulating Online Harms:

House of Commons briefing and overview page

Government Fact sheet

CEOP resources

CEOP Thinkuknow live streaming guide

#WhoIsSAM Online contact and reporting to CEOP animation for adults

#LiveSkills: resources (CEOP) for 8-18year olds

LSE blogs: (all short reads)

Cliff Manning – digital resilience framework

Dongmiao Zhang and Sonia Livingstone – accounting for parental support for children’s learning online

Gianfranco Polizzi – Children flourishing in the digital age: redesigning and regulating the online environment

BBC News article 27 January Social media damages teenagers mental health

Internet Matter Inclusive Digital Safety Hub

LGfL July 2020 edit of Safeblog post: reminder to think twice before passing on ‘scare alerts’ to parents

Opportunity now and next week – and beyond

After that we delved a little deeper into what’s on offer from the UK Safer Internet Centre for this year’s Safer Internet Day, considering the remote context, and how teachers might want to adapt or select from the available resources (our SLA partner schools: please get in touch if you wish to know about our bespoke resources available to you). 

In addition to what we covered in the session, here’s a Safer Internet Day 

rundown courtesy of the UK Safer Internet Centre Safer Internet Day newsletter:

Don’t forget there’s still a chance to register your school or organisation as a supporter of Safer Internet Day at

On 9 February you can watch live events, listed at

These include: 

1:30pm     Safer Internet Day with Liverpool FC with a talk for young people around the theme of reliability online

4:00pm     Safer Internet Day Live Q & A with UKSIC Helpline (an event aimed at teachers and other professionals)

In advance of the date, or whenever it suits you and your school or organisation, you can:

  • Take the Safer Internet Day Quiz – great for adults to check their knowledge too!
  • Download and distribute to colleagues the remote learning education packs and watch the Safer Internet Day Films here.
  • Get involved with promoting messages to the community and your families using the ready-made assets in the Stakeholder social media pack 
  • Consider and highlight the top tips for 3-7s , 7-11s, 11-18s, and parents and carers here
  • Use the hashtags #SaferInternetDay and #AnInternetWeTrust on social media

Find out more about the Guinness World Record attempt at ‘Most online pledges received for an internet safety campaign in 24 hours’. To find out more register your interest on the supporters registration form

The final session of the conference allowed delegates to plan actions for now and the future, which included:

  • “Share Ollee details will parents and all teachers throughout the school”
  • “Discuss with headteacher how to engage parents remotely with safer internet resources”
  • “Implement a plan for pupils and parents around online safety”
  • “Ensure a wide range of SID activities this term”
  • “Virtual assemblies from teachers or SLT”

We hope you’ll make great use of the resources linked here and, if we’ve whetted your appetite for a CLC online safety conference, don’t miss the next one! We hold them twice a year, with the next one planned for the autumn.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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