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Responding to online safety incidents in school

Last updated on 04 October 2023

To support schools with online safety incidents please see the suggestions and contact details below.

All online safety incidents should be recorded. The HFL model Online Model Safety Policy has exemplar incident logging and reporting forms.

  • Online safety incident reporting form
  • Online safety incident record for staff completion
  • Online safety incident log

If you have any concerns about the HFL Broadband filtered service or wish to have a website blocked please contact:

HfL Broadband Service Desk
Tel: 01438 544466

If the incident involves an illegal activity such as:

  • downloading or viewing child pornography
  • passing onto others images or videos containing child pornography
  • inciting racial or religious hatred
  • promoting illegal acts
  • unauthorised access to computer material (e.g. using another person’s user name and password without permission).
  • impair the operation of a computer or other digital technology
  • making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in a Computer Misuse Act 1990 offence

Where possible, confiscate any laptop or mobile device and if related to the school network disable the account.

Inform the police and follow advice given.

HFL Wellbeing advisers are also available to offer advice and in school support - contact 01438 844819.

If the incident involves a non-illegal activity where pupils are involved such as:

  • using another person’s user name and password (with permission from the account owner)
  • accessing a website which is against school policy
  • using mobile phones in non-designated areas
  • using technology to upset or bully (in some cases this can be illegal)

Review the incident and identify pupils involved.

  • follow the school disciplinary procedure
  • inform parents/carers as appropriate
  • review school policies / procedure to develop best practice
  • put in place in- school support for pupils from e.g. class teacher, online safety co ordinator, Senior Leader, DSP, school PCSO
  • seek support of HfL Wellbeing advisers if appropriate contact 01438 844819.

If the alleged perpetrator is an adult working with children, the LADO threshold guidance should be consulted and consideration given to a referral to the LADO.

Consider a child protection referral to children’s services, if the child is not at immediate risk the school can seek advice from the Consultation Hub by ringing 01438 737511.


Cybercrime is committed using computers, networks, internet-enabled devices or other digital technology.

For more information, please visit:

Online safety: cybercrime

The Cyber Choices programme was created to help people make informed choices and to use their cyber skills in a legal way.

This is a national programme co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency and delivered by Cyber Choices teams within Regional Organised Crime Units and Local Police Force Cyber Teams.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • explaining the difference between legal and illegal cyber activity
  • encouraging individuals to make informed choices in their use of technology
  • increasing awareness of the Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • promoting positive, legal cyber opportunities

For more information on Cyber Choices and when and how to refer a student to the scheme:

National Crime Agency: Cyber Choices: Helping you choose the right and legal path

For more information about the Computer Misuse Act, please visit:

National Crime Agency: The Computer Misuse Act 1990

If your school staff would like a free training session on how to protect yourself against Cybercrime, and the Cyber Choices programme can benefit your institution, please contact: 


Useful references relating to sexting concerns:

Gov.UK: Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people 

NSPCC: Sexting guidance for professionals


Last updated on 04 October 2023