Assessing the Effectiveness of Schools to Safeguard Their Pupil’s Use of Social Media Through an Analysis of School Inspection Reports

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University of Buckingham Press
Ian Coombs


While social media remains a facet of life that many children and young people happily engage in, its use comes with some recognised risks and dangers. Parents can feel ill-equipped to support their children with this and there is consequently a reliance on schools to teach children how to use these platforms appropriately. To evaluate the effectiveness of secondary schools in teaching pupils about social media, this study makes use of evidence from Ofsted school inspection reports. Exploiting techniques developed in computer science, the Ofsted web portal was automatically scraped for reports and the content searched for reference to social media. This identified 317 reports which referred to the platforms. The report’s texts were coded through content analysis and subsequently revealed that over 90% of the references to social media contained in inspection reports were positive in reporting that pupils both understood the risks and knew how to describe how to manage their online activities. The results suggest that schools are effective in addressing these safeguarding issues although pupils are not always putting their knowledge into practise.

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