How to review your ICT and internet acceptable use policy

Find out what questions you can ask when reviewing your school's/trust's ICT and internet acceptable use policy. Read our model policy to see what good looks like, and see examples from other schools and trusts.

Last reviewed on 31 January 2024See updates
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  1. Key facts
  2. Key points to look out for
  3. 4 questions to challenge the policy
  4. Take a look at a model policy
  5. See examples from schools/trusts

Key facts

  • This policy is non-statutory
  • You can delegate the approval of this policy to an individual or committee
  • The board determines the review cycle
  • The headteacher, senior leadership team or central trust team will write and be responsible for the implementation of this policy

Key points to look out for

When you're reading your school's/trust's ICT and internet acceptable use policy, look out for:

  • Clear expectations on how everyone in your community, including parents and carers, should communicate online
  • A list of what constitutes unacceptable use and how users will be sanctioned for it
  • Rules on using personal devices for both pupils and staff, and guidelines for staff social media use
  • The arrangements and rules around remote access, if your school/trust offers this
  • An explanation of how the network and ICT facilities will be monitored and filtered
  • A clear process for when and how pupils' devices may be searched. This includes who's authorised to carry out searches and what will happen if they find inappropriate material

4 questions to challenge the policy

Does the policy reflect any particular challenges our school/trust has been experiencing with regard to ICT use?

You'd expect an answer to explain how the policy has been adapted to cover any specific problems your school/trust has been having, such as aggressive emails from parents or carers.

How do you know if the policy is working as intended?

A good answer here would refer to evidence, such as a reduction in the number of ICT-related behaviour incidents, or staff reporting that they feel more confident in using social media safely. 

How are we making sure that everyone in our community is aware of this policy and following it?

You'll want to hear about how your school/trust communicates this policy to parents, carers and visitors, including an explanation of any rules they're asked to agree to. This could include a letter home and/or a form for parents and carers to sign.

For trust-wide policies: what steps have been taken to make sure that the policy is relevant to all schools in the trust?

Leaders should be able to explain how different schools can use the policy, and whether schools are using the trust policy as it is, or adapting it for their school. The policy should take into account different demographics, age ranges and problems within the schools to make sure it's suitable for all. 

Take a look at a model policy

This model policy, from our sister service The Key Leaders, isn't meant as a guide for writing it – that's your senior leadership team's job. It's here to give you a sense of what a good policy looks like.

It's been approved by Forbes Solicitors and is designed for your senior leaders to adapt to suit your context.

It covers staff, governors, pupils, parents and carers. It also includes:

  • Guidelines for staff on using Facebook 
  • A parent and carer agreement on communicating with the school that covers the use of private email, chat or social media groups
  • Acceptable use agreements for staff, younger pupils and older pupils
  • Advice on how to protect your school/trust from cyber attacks, including a cyber security glossary

Model policy: ICT and internet acceptable use

See examples from schools/trusts



  • Caldew School, a secondary academy in Cumberland (scroll down to 'ICT acceptable use policy)
  • Colne Park High School, a secondary academy in Lancashire (scroll down to 'staff ICT and internet acceptable use policy' and 'student ICT policy')

Special school

Trust-wide policies