Tips on safeguarding when teaching remotely

The world of FE and Training is continuing to adapt to remote and blended learning, but it is not always easy to navigate safeguarding policies. Whether you are new to the teaching world, or looking to refresh your knowledge, here are some general tips and guidelines on safeguarding procedures to follow when teaching during the coronavirus pandemic.
Safeguarding and professionalism

1. Avoid using your own online account, personal email address or social media accounts to communicate or carry out online learning.

2. Set up clear rules with your learners on what they can discuss in live message chats (or ‘Stream’ in Google Classroom). You can also disable the chat function or mute someone if there are any posts which are deemed inappropriate. In Microsoft Teams you can create a ‘messaging policy’ which you assign to your learners.

3. Set your camera up in such a way that there is nothing in the background which could compromise you as a teaching professional – for example, a neutral background is often best, rather than a bedroom.

Things to avoid showing include:

  • Book titles or covers which might be deemed inappropriate.
  • Materials expressing overt political affiliations.
  • Photos featuring inappropriate material, or even photos with gestures.
  • Photos of family or friends.

4. When uploading a video to YouTube, you can set it to ‘unlisted’ so that only people who have the link will be able to see the video.

5. If you are sharing your screen, be careful to close any windows or tabs which are not suitable, or that you would just rather your learners do not see. This is particularly important when it comes to emails which may contain sensitive and confidential information.

6. If you are using an ‘open’ Google Drive (which means it can be accessed by anyone with the link) to upload resources, make sure there is nothing that can identify your learners, such as their names or comments addressed specifically to them. This won’t be an issue if you are using a Google Drive as part of G Suite for Education, which has additional security in place to ensure that the drive is only visible to learners in your organisation.

7. Ensure you dress appropriately for timetable sessions as per any guidance provided by the college/training provider – no pyjamas or gym wear!

8. Follow your organisation’s policy regarding absenteeism and ensure you are aware of the protocol within your department for getting work to anyone who misses online learning time and needs to catch up.

9. Ensure you engage with those responsible for the wellbeing of your learners to provide updates around learning, as well as to discuss any concerns that arise. Staff responsible could include:

  • Head of subject.
  • Head of year.
  • Head of SEND (if the student has an identified learning need).
  • Attendance and Welfare officer (if persistent absenteeism is a concern).

10. If you need support, don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues or your mentor. You can also access advice and information in the following places:

  • FE Advice: If there is anything you do not understand and want some more information and advice you can contact 0300 303 1877 or email feadviceline@etfoundation.co.uk.
  • New FE Teacher Supportline: Teachers and trainers new to the FE sector can call the New FE Teacher Supportline on 0333 103 8401 or email newfeteacher@etfoundation.co.uk (open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday).
  • Law Express: Free and confidential legal advice through Law Express as part of your SET membership

Further information

 

Many thanks to Engage Education which contributed to some of the ideas in this article with blogs on Ideas for stress-free remote learning and Support for teachers new to remote teaching.

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