Leeds Primary School pupils welcome FBI Special Agent Miguel Clarke for talk on online safety.

It’s not every day that you receive a visit from an FBI Special Agent, but pupils at Cottingley Primary Academy, Leeds, have welcomed Miguel Clarke, a former FBI Special Agent for a session about online safety.

The visit was organised by Andrew Firth, MD of Leeds-based digital marketing agency Ascensor. He explains: “Miguel is visiting the UK to address businesses on cyber crime, and we are supporting this by holding business briefings and webinars. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to enlist his expertise by visiting one of our local primary schools.”

During his visit Miguel met 32 Year Six pupils with a programme of activities looking at online safety, including discussions, informative videos, questions and answers, and rules to help stay safe online. 

Commenting on Miguel’s visit, Cottingley Primary Principal, Kelly Bentley, says “We were thrilled to welcome Miguel to chat with our pupils. Online safety is an important element of our children’s education and his visit provided an exciting and engaging session.”

Kelly adds: “One of our values at Cottingley Primary Academy is ‘Be Unusually Brave.’ We encourage our pupils not to be afraid of challenging wrongs, of making the right call, even when it’s both unusual and difficult to do so. Miguel emphasised the importance of bravery and speaking out to their teachers and parents about online dangers they may encounter. Our pupils were very excited by his visit and I’m sure his session will prove memorable to them.”

Miguel says : “Online safety is a key topic for children, and I was very happy to be invited to Cottingley Primary Academy. The pupils were engaged and intrigued about my FBI cyber security background, and I hope that my visit has been helpful in the stressing the importance of online safety for our children.”

Andrew Firth adds: “We’re delighted that Miguel found time in a packed schedule to visit Cottingley Primary. He is in the UK with Armor, a cyber security advisory firm, in partnership with Digital Craftsmen, as an evangelist for cyber security, and has also delivered business cyber security briefings, webinars and conference speeches during his whirlwind visit.”


As our lives become increasingly digital, educating young people about internet safety is vital


Young people are growing up with a wealth of technology and information at their fingertips. This information would have been unthinkable 20, or even 10, years ago. These advancements have provided many benefits, and today’s younger generation can access all the educational content, e-books, and access to video calls that they could ever desire, in a matter of seconds. However, this accessibility comes with a significant threat. Young people are exposed to the darker side of the internet, including disinformation, explicit content, and the ever-present threat of cyberbullying.

Over half of 12-15-year-olds have had a negative online experience[1], and on average, children and young people now spend more time on the internet each week than they do in school, spending around 35 hours online[2] – almost mirroring the length of hours required in a full-time job. The time children and young people have been spending online has been increasing over the last decade, and it is likely it will keep rising. Therefore, it is more important than ever that they are armed with knowledge about how to stay safe online.

EVERFI from Blackbaud, a digital education innovator, is on a mission to help teachers tackle these complex issues with Ignition, a completely free and interactive course for secondary school students. Ignition is mapped to the national curriculum and teaches students how to navigate the digital world safely and confidently, as well as how to evaluate the accuracy and perspectives of online content.

Despite the wealth of information now available on the internet, not everything online is reliable. Ofcom found that three in 10 8-15-year-olds think that if a website is listed by a search engine, it can be trusted, and only 11 per cent of young people could identify a genuine social media post. Statistics like this are worrying and demonstrate why courses like Ignition are so important. It is not enough to just warn children and young people about the unsuitable content they might find online.

Ignition is aimed at 11-14-year-olds, which is an ideal time to ensure young people form healthy and safe online habits. The detrimental effects of high levels of social media use are especially pronounced at ages 14-15 for boys, and 11-13 for girls[3]. 11-14 is also the age at which cyberbullying peaks and, regrettably, England has the highest level of cyberbullying in secondary schools compared to other countries[4].

Matt Evans, a teacher from Shaftesbury High School, said: “I was looking for a resource that tackled the topic of digital well-being and online safety and came across Ignition. It’s ideal. It’s structured with lesson plans and explanations that are teacher-friendly and easy to use. Teaching our students about online safety is absolutely critical, as many of them are vulnerable.”

David Wright, UK Safer Internet Centre director and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) CEO, said: “The online world has changed immensely over the last decade, and we must make sure to protect children online and create a better internet together. This year’s Safer Internet Day was all about listening to what young people want from a safer internet. This global celebration brought together thousands of organisations and schools to work towards making better online experiences for everyone.

 “Supporting digital development and online safety in young people has rapidly become one of the most valuable forms of education in recent years. Research from ProjectEVOLVE has shown that there is a need to connect online safety issues to broader topics that young people can relate to within their own lives.”

 The UK Safer Internet Centre is a leading global partnership of three charities (Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL), that aim to make the internet a great and safe place for everyone.

As time progresses, the use of technology will continue to play a large and increasing role in our lives – especially the way young people learn. And with mental health issues amongst children and young people at a record high, and the clear links between mental health, social media usage and cyberbullying, ensuring young people understand how to use the internet safely has never been so important. EVERFI’s Ignition course helps teachers tackle this challenging topic in a way which will keep their class engaged, while arming them with the knowledge they need to navigate the digital world and utilise its wide-ranging benefits safely. It is not only completely free to use, but also a time-saver for teachers; doing all the hard work for you with built-in assessments and comprehensive impact reports that show how much pupils have learnt and understood.

We shouldn’t expect the progress of technology to slow down. We should, however, be trying to keep up and educate young people of the importance of internet safety.

If you’d like to learn more about how EVERFI’s free Ignition course can help your students, visit, where you can also find a range of other amazing and completely free courses to upskill your class.






Cyber Security Schools Audit reveals urgent issues facing schools nationwide


  • 78% of schools fell victim to at least one type of cyber incident in 2022 – with 7% experiencing significant disruption as a result
  • 21% suffered a malware and/or ransomware attack and 18% faced periods with no access to important information
  • 26% had not implemented multifactor authentication to safeguard important accounts
  • 25% continued to allow limited staff access to USBs that can compromise systems through infections from computer viruses, malware and spyware
  • 4% had no back up facilities
  • 6 schools reported a parent losing money due to a cyber incident.

Top three attack vectors used by criminals:

  1. Phishing – fraudulent emails from attackers used to deceive staff into revealing sensitive information
  2. Spoofing – where attackers impersonate someone else to gain a victim’s confidence, access to a system, steal data, or spread malware
  3. Malicious software including:
  • Malware – used to disrupt or gain access to systems
  • Viruses – programs that when executed replicate themselves by modifying other computer programs and inserting their own code
  • Ransomware – designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Schools continue to remain at particular risk from cyber criminals and must demonstrate vigilance, says the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of GCHQ) and edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning (LGfL), which today published their Cyber Security Schools Audit 2022 of UK schools nationwide.  The report can be downloaded here

Given the global shortage of skilled, experienced cybersecurity professionals, even large corporations struggle to recruit qualified staff. According to Mark Bentley, Cybersecurity Lead at LGfL, “For cash-strapped schools – rightly focussed on teaching and learning and keeping children safe – recruiting qualified staff is both a significant challenge and an additional expense – this is why LGfL and partners, which include some of the world’s largest security providers, have published an additional report that includes further analysis and important next steps for schools, also available at”


However, the audit did reveal that schools are wising up to the cyber threats they face:


  • 53% of the schools reported they felt prepared for a cyber-attack (compared to 49% in 2019)
  • Awareness of phishing in schools has increased from 69% in 2019 to 73% in 2022
  • 55% (compared to 35% in 2019) implemented staff training for non-IT staff
  • 49% (compared to 41% in 2019) have included their core IT services in a risk register or business continuity plan
  • 90% (compared to 33% in 2019) have at least one of the following – a cybersecurity register, risk register, or business continuity plan.


Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society said, “Our schools rely so much on the myriad of data required to run efficiently – including sensitive data on students, parents, governors and staff – therefore more work must be done to support the cyber security around these essential services. That’s why the National Cyber Security Centre has been working with schools and the education sector to provide free tools and guidance to help schools manage their cyber risks effectively and supporting them to keep this valuable information safe.”


Concluding, Mark Bentley, said, “Cybersecurity can sometimes feel like a Rubik’s cube that changes its colours just as you are on the verge of solving it. Every week seems to bring new threats and make the list of ‘vital steps to stay protected’ grow even longer! But as with any complex issue, you can do a lot to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risks and this report is helping us to shape the support needed so that schools can do just that.”



A male teacher sits supervising a group of children who are working on whiteboards and digital tablets. ; Shutterstock ID 298463792; Team: Marketing; Product: DoodleLearning; Project: DoodleLearning Press Release; other: Michelle Burleigh

Digital resources promote safe use of technology and help schools observe global event


Discovery Education — the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place — is proud to support Safer Internet Day – 7th February 2023 – by providing UK primary schools with dynamic digital resources to help students stay safe online and develop digital citizenship.


Available via the award-winning digital learning service Discovery Education Espresso, the resources were  created by the UK Safer Internet Centre to help schools mark this year’s event and support pupils to navigate the online world safely. 


Helping pupils to develop digital literacy skills and understand who and what to trust online, the resources include videos, activities, assemblies, and lesson plans. Child-led films explore issues such as fake news and disinformation while fun activities promote digital citizenship and teach children to question the motives behind what they see and read on the internet.


Highlighting how young people can influence and support a safer internet and build positive digital citizenship skills, the resources also provide tips for safer online behaviour, particularly when gaming or interacting with friends on social media. Designed for pupils from Foundation to Year 6 and suitable for remote or in-class teaching, the comprehensive resources will inspire the safe and positive use of technology and empower children to take control of their digital lives. 


Howard Lewis, Discovery Education’s UK and International Managing Director said:


“Safer Internet Day is an ideal opportunity for schools to shine a light on the issue of internet safety and to have important conversations with their students. We’re proud to back Safer Internet Day by providing teachers with engaging resources to support students on their digital journey, helping to make the internet a safe, positive and enjoyable place for everyone.”


Now in its 20th year, Safer Internet Day is a nationwide celebration, organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre. In 2022, the event was celebrated in more than 180 countries and territories worldwide. With a theme of ‘Together for a Better Internet’, this year’s event will see schools and organisations unite to inspire positive changes online, raise awareness of safety issues and participate in events and activities across the UK and around the world.


The Safer Internet Day resources are available to Discovery Education subscriber schools via Discovery Education Espresso, the curriculum-centred daily learning platform for primary schools.


Explore Discovery Education’s award-winning digital learning services at


Find out more about Safer Internet Day at  


Free cybersecurity toolkit for schools launched

LGfL’s Elevate Cybersecurity Toolkit for schools. 


Hacking, phishing, malicious software and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks are on the increase according to the National Crime Agency. With more and more schools falling victim to cybercrime and pressure mounting on governors and school leaders to implement appropriate controls, edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning  has launched a new, free resource called the Elevate Cybersecurity Toolkit for Schools to help steer them in the right direction.


The new toolkit comprises a collection of key documents that schools can use to improve their cybersecurity and also use as a foundation for attaining Cyber Essentials Certification – a foundation level certification designed to provide a statement of the basic controls they should have in place to mitigate the risk from common cyber threats.


The following key documents can be downloaded for free:


A CyberSecurity Policy Template  – designed to complement the schools existing social media and acceptable use policies – which outlines the school’s guidelines and security provisions that are there to protect its systems, services, and data in the event of a cyberattack.


An Incident Response Plan which can be used as a starting point for planning recovery from a ransomware attack, or any other kind of unforeseen outage.


An Example Risk Register that can be used to assess, evaluate, prioritise and manage cybersecurity risks. This can also be used by the school’s senior leadership team to report to governors on how they are proactively managing risks and improving cybersecurity.


An Example Asset Register that can be used as a starting point to inventory the equipment used in the school. It sounds obvious, but it’s impossible to be secure if you don’t know what you have.


An Example Software Register used to record which software/systems schools have and whether they hold confidential information. This can be used to complement the Incident Response Plan for prioritising the recovery of services.


Commenting on the new resource, Dinesh Seegobin, Head of ICT at STEP Academy Trust, said, “We all know that being aware of cybersecurity is critical but how many of us can claim to be experts? In addition, there is so much information out there to digest, where do you begin? This is where, yet again, LGfL has come to our rescue. The Elevate Cybersecurity Toolkit is an absolute game changer. A one-stop shop to help get you on track backed up with all the weight of industry experts.”


To download your free copy please visit

Back-to-school internet safety advice as children return to the classroom

  • New research from connectivity provider TalkTalk reveals that 99% of children aged 7 to 13 will have access to internet enabled tech when they go back to school*
  • Half of parents are concerned about the content their child could access when using internet-enabled technology for school related tasks at home*
  • TalkTalk and Internet Matters share advice on how parents can keep children safe online

6th September, 2022: As we start the new school year, TalkTalk and Internet Matters have issued safety advice to parents whose children may be having access to internet enabled devices for the first time.


Research from TalkTalk reveals that almost every (99%)* child heading back to school this week will have access to internet enabled tech either at home or in school. Parents overwhelmingly see the internet as a force for good, and the advice is aimed to help those who may be unsure how to approach the topic with their young children.


8 in 10 parents say their child has developed new skills as a result of spending time online**. Parents cited the ability to access educational websites i.e. BBC Bitesize (65%) as a key benefit, as well as conducting research (52%) and playing online games that help to develop creative skills (51%)**. Despite this, a third do admit that they have no idea what their children get up to online **.


Over half (54%)* of 7 to 13-year-olds are now spending up to two hours of their after-school time online, with the top three most common school tasks being online homework (79%), reading (40%) and talking to classmates (29%)*.


However, this access to new tech has led to concern among parents about other content their child could access while using internet enabled technology for their schoolwork (50%)*. Network data from TalkTalk shows that the use of smart plugs, typically used to connect voice assistants to a power source, has increased by 47% over the past year***. Suggesting that the range of internet enabled technology available to young people at home is growing.


Earlier this year, TalkTalk’s research around the Online Safety Bill found that 65% of parents see unregulated online spaces such as chatrooms and the metaverse as a huge risk to their children***. Other concerns include talking to other online users (68%), social media (63%) and online gaming (45%)***.


In fact, 74% of parents say they use internet safety tools, such as blocking certain websites or filtering tools to limit their child’s access to certain content and 64% of parents say they are trying to reduce the amount of time their child spends online***.


Matthew, parent of two (aged 7 and 9) said, “From an early age my children have used mobile devices, tablets, and computers as part of their learning, at home and school. As they grow older, and begin to use internet enabled tech more, I have concerns around online safety on open platforms (i.e. social media) or socially interactive games. Both of my kids play with their friends on Minecraft for example, but they’ve been instructed not to talk to or “friend” strangers, and we monitor this on an ad hoc basis.”


“Having access to the right information when it comes to online safety – whether that’s tangible resources like home security tech or expert tips – is invaluable while navigating the transitional period as children begin to spend more time online.”


TalkTalk has partnered with Internet Matters, an organisation set up to help parents keep their children safe online. Internet Matters’ website holds an abundance of practical information about how to talk to children about their online presence, including a back to school online safety guide that parents may benefit from this week.


They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety: They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety:


  1. Practise open and honest conversations with your child, as it will mean they are more likely to approach you if they feel unsafe online.
  2. Ensure you are aware of the school’s online learning policy. Schools have now developed these for children’s safety, and you should be able to find it on your child’s school website.


  1. Set boundaries around when and for how long your child is allowed to use tech, which apps and websites they can access, who they can contact and how they should behave online. Agree this together so they feel part of the decision-making process.


  1. Make sure that they know what to do if they come across unpleasant content – depending on their age it may be more appropriate for them to tell you rather than try and deal with it themselves.


  1. Consider adding a web filter, such as TalkTalk’s HomeSafe feature, to your home Wi-Fi to block inappropriate content and set time limits for gaming and social media websites. You should also ensure that your security features are up to scratch.


TalkTalk’s Head of Customer Security, Mark Johnson, says: “As a parent I know how worrying it could be not knowing what your child is getting up to online. Online security is key to us at TalkTalk, which is why we work with Internet Matters to offer advice for parents who may not know how to approach the topic of online safety with their children or where to find resources and tools to help keep their children safe.”


Schools to benefit from bolstered cybersecurity resilience package launched in response to National Cyber Security Centre alert

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning is set to bolster online defences for schools in response to the National Cyber Security Centre’s alert to act now following Russia’s attack on the Ukraine,” says John Jackson, CEO, whose organisation has stepped up its cybersecurity resilience package to include monitoring, identification, sandboxing1 and the eradication of ever-evolving threats from phishing attempts, malware, hacks, viruses and ransomware. LGfL has provided services to the public sector over many years and is approved by the governing bodies for the Public Service Network (PSN) and Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) to provide secure access to systems across the public sector, including central government systems.

Newly appointed as the only UK Platinum Partner for Malwarebytes, LGfL is using its significant group buying power to supply schools with cybersecurity solutions at significantly discounted prices,  to help  safeguard their ever tightening budgets and their mass procured devices purchased for remote learning during lockdown.

In addition to the existing Incident Response (threat remediation), LGfL is now able to offer:

  • Endpoint Protection (threat prevention)
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (threat prevention, monitoring, sandboxing, isolation and rollback)
  • Endpoint Protection for Servers (threat prevention for servers)
  • Endpoint Detection and Response for Servers (threat prevention, monitoring, sandboxing, isolation and rollback for servers).

Using its Malwarebytes OneView console, LGfL will also be able to give third party support organisations (PSOs) greater visibility and control over what is happening across multiple sites. It will also be able to provide full information on licences issued/used through its OneView Portal and recover and redistribute any unused licences, helping schools to save money.  Existing licences will be transferred on to the console.  

Through its full CyberCloud solution, LGfL is now also able to offer 12 layers of protection to schools using its Let’s Get Digital Broadband Service, including:

  1. JANET:IP transit and DDoS (Denial of Service) protection – cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the normal traffic of a target’s servers, services, or networks by overwhelming the infrastructure, at or around the target, with a large amount of Internet traffic
  2. Core firewalls to protect the network – a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules
  3. Security Operations Centre – alerting and monitoring to protect the network
  4. Local school firewalls
  5. Sophos antivirus for workstations, servers and home use – software that detects and cleans up viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware and other malicious applications
  6. Intercept X managed threat response for workstations and servers – anti-ransomware technology that detects malicious encryption processes and shuts them down before they can spread across a network. Intercept X prevents both file-based and master boot record ransomware
  7. Meraki Mobile Device Management – that allows users to manage mobile devices from the cloud in a secure environment
  8. Malwarebytes incident response and automated remediation – that detects and removes malware from computers
  9. Email protection including MailProtect filtering (Cloudmark) – a cloud-hosted, email filtering system that harnesses the combined strength of multiple market-leading technologies to offer protection against email-borne viruses, malware, fraud and phishing, as well as filtering unwanted bulk mail.  And Egress encryption which encrypts the message so that it is secure in transit and when it reaches the recipient.
  10. Web filtering – provided by Webscreen a highly flexible web filtering system designed to allow establishments and groups, such as MATs, to have access to local filtering settings and Netsweeper which enables organizations to protect internet users from harmful online content and provides web filtering, digital monitoring, and online activity reporting solutions to ensure digital safety on-premises and in remote environments
  11. End user training including Sophos Phish Threat which educates and tests end users through automated attack simulations, quality security awareness training, and actionable reporting metrics
  12. Research and awareness – National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Security Audit and Newsletters etc.


For further information on LGfL’s cybersecurity resilience packages please contact: Gareth Jelley, LGfL’s Cyber Security Centre of Excellence 0208 2555 555 (Option 3)


  1. Sandboxing  keeps potentially malicious programs or unsafe code isolated from the rest of the organization’s environment. This way, it can be analysed safely, without compromising the operating system or host devices. If a threat is detected, it can be removed proactively.


Teachers are being invited to take part in free online workshops to help them keep pupils safe online being held by award-winning youth engagement agency Beatfreeks.

The ‘Train the Trainer’ webinars, which which will to equip teachers with the skills to support young people aged between 11 and 16 to stay safe online, will begin this week as part of the UK wide Be Internet Citizens campaign – delivered by Birmingham based youth engagement agency Beatfreeks, supported by and Youtube. 

According to research by The Institute of Strategic Dialogue, an estimated 1 in 3 British children aged 12-15 have encountered sexist, racist or discriminatory content online while 38% of young people say that social media has a negative impact on how they feel about themselves.

With education professionals spending a large proportion of the working week with their students, they are often the first port of call for young people making it increasingly important that they are aware of potential issues that their students may be facing as well as having the skills to address them. 

From Thursday 11th February, teachers, safeguarding leads, deputy and head teachers are invited to take part in the free 2 hour and 30 minute sessions, which will tackle issues including fake news and misinformation, unconscious bias, discrimination and the difference between free speech and hate speech. 

The interactive sessions aim to deconstruct misconceptions around the ever changing digital world while building teacher’s confidence in teaching these complex subjects in a way that is both structured and engaging for young people. Accredited by the PHSE Association, the training feeds into key areas of the national curriculum including RSHE, Prevent and SMSC.

As well as receiving training from a team of expert facilitators, which qualifies as a Continuing Professional Development activity,  attendees will also be provided with a suite of resources to help them deliver lessons to their students, including session plans, supporting handouts and reflective journal templates. 

Founded in 2013 by social entrepreneur Anisa Morridadi, Beatfreeks was established to address the growing divide between young people and the institutions that were meant to support them. The initiative began as an experiment – a Poetry Jam held in Anisa’s home city of Birmingham which offered young people the opportunity to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings, allowing for genuine insight into grass roots youth culture. 

Beatfreeks now works with companies across the UK to offer insight and youth engagement, connecting them with a community of young creatives and offering the opportunity to consult on existing ideas, collaborate on new ones and shape a culture that stays ahead of the curve. 

Founder and CEO Anisa Morridadi said: “Digital consumption has accelerated over the last 18 months with our research showing an estimated 99% of young people actively using social media platforms. Social media is an incredible resource but it’s crucial that young people have the awareness and the skills to stay safe in a digital world and that educators have the right resources to support them to do that.

“With a digital world that is ever changing, it can be tough for teachers to keep up with new developments. These free sessions are a fantastic way for teachers to not only become confident in speaking about current trends but we hope that they will empower them to address what can be difficult subjects, like online harassment, stereotyping and hate speech head on.”

For those unable to attend the session later this month, further sessions will be held on Thursday 10th March, Tuesday 29th March and Thursday 26th May. For more information or to secure your place, visit: