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Last Updated: 19 January 2023
Last Date Reviewed by Hertfordshire County Council: July 2020  
Date for Review: 1st September 2023

For the safety and security of our pupils, families and staff, the following policy must be adhered to and forms a part of the acceptance of any booking or contract for service as per the HMS lesson terms and conditions, available here.  

This policy establishes the expectations for all HMS online provision and all service users (hereafter referred to as ‘you’ or ‘a responsible adult’) are subject to and agree to be bound by the requirements detailed in this policy. Hertfordshire Music Service (hereafter referred to as HMS) reserves the right to amend this policy at any time outside of the regular review dates, and without notice. Any determination made by the Chief Operating Officer arising from the policy shall be final. 

‘Blended Learning’ refers to the delivery of both online and face to face tuition in any combination that includes online learning. 

This policy relates to any online provision delivered or hosted by Hertfordshire Music Service staff, including but not limited to: 

  • Online instrumental lessons (individual, shared or small group tuition)
  • Online concerts/performances
  • Online ensemble rehearsals, masterclasses and courses
  • Online training sessions
  • Use of music technology programmes with online collaboration facilities
  • Online meetings

Where this policy refers to a ‘responsible adult’, it means a parent/carer, school staff member or education/health professional working with a child in a position of responsibility. Online provision can be delivered in homes, schools or community music centres and as such, the ‘responsible adult’ is the person responsible for the safeguarding of the child involved in the HMS online provision within these various settings. 

This policy ensures that the safeguarding of all staff and pupils taking part in any online HMS provision is managed to the highest standards and that the processes to follow are clear and concise. Safeguarding is our highest priority and HMS takes any concerns raised very seriously. Any reports relating to safeguarding are followed up immediately to ensure a safe and secure environment for learning. 

What is covered in this policy?

This policy is to be fully adhered to by all Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) teachers and staff delivering online provision of any kind. The policy is designed to allow teachers and pupils to connect online in a safe and secure way so that musical progress can be achieved. 

Since all HMS teachers already have an enhanced DBS certificate and operate under the HMS and HCC safeguarding policies and Code of Conduct, this policy is in addition to these policies and sets out expectations specifically for online provision. 

The policy also sets out to support HMS teachers and staff to complete their teaching duties in a well-supported and safe online environment with clear guidance to pupils and responsible adults. 

This policy is not a technical guide for online music tuition delivery however there are tips and advice for ensuring minimum requirements for online tuition are met. 

This policy sets out the information required for responsible adults and school staff to make an informed decision when giving consent for online lessons to take place with an HMS teacher.

Virtual Learning Platform

A virtual learning platform is an online classroom where online learning takes place. The teaching ‘space’ is hosted in a virtual classroom or meeting space that links wherever the teacher and pupil are geographically based. 

This policy sets out the guidelines HMS expects all teachers, pupils and school staff to follow to ensure all lessons maintain the same high quality teaching and safe learning environment that pupils and teachers have expected in face to face lessons. 

For instrumental music lessons in schools, music centres, curriculum lessons, First Access, large group and ensemble sessions, the virtual platform used will be agreed in advance with each school or setting. These include but are not limited to: 

  • SpeedAdmin
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Charanga and the YUMU platform
  • G Suite for Education
  • YouTube Live 

When is online learning to be used?

Online learning should be used when: 

  • Pupils are unable to meet teachers or other students face to face with prior knowledge
  • Where sessions are unable to take place for reasons outside of HMS control and there is sufficient time to schedule an online session (as described in Section 10 of the HMS lesson terms and conditions)
  • Pupils are engaged in meaningful study through structured activities defined by an HMS teacher
  • If there is a face to face option but the preference is for online lessons, the HMS teacher, pupil and the responsible adult have agreed for this learning to take place online.

Data sharing


All enrolment data is held securely by Hertfordshire County Council in line with existing data protection and GDPR policy. 

Small group lessons, Whole Class curriculum, First Access and ensemble sessions

A nominated school staff member, usually the class teacher involved in the session will be required to join a virtual meeting with an HMS teacher in order to access a live, interactive music session online. 

The school staff member should use their work email address for this purpose, and this data will be held securely by Hertfordshire County Council in line with existing data protection and GDPR policy. 

Small group instrumental lessons may take place via MS Teams. The HMS teachers will send a secure Teams meeting link to the student via the parent/carer by email.

Where HMS music centre activities (e.g. ensembles) are held online, these will usually be delivered via MS Teams. Invitations and joining instructions will be shared by the relevant music centre team with parents/carers by email. 

Additional Training Requirements

It is expected that all HMS teachers are up to date with current safeguarding and child protection training and continue to receive regular updates as required in line with HMS and HCC safer recruitment and child protection and safeguarding policies. 

HMS staff will maintain up to date training on all ICT, Data Protection and Cyber Crime modules required and this training will be regularly reviewed, monitored and documented. The administration and people management team will be directly overseen by Ben Stevens, Director of Music, reporting to the Executive Leadership Team at HMS. 

All recruitment, training, supervision and line management policies remain the same as per existing agreements between HCC/HMS and schools or responsible adults. 

All HMS teachers who deliver online instrumental lessons will complete the following iLearn courses as part of an induction process: 

    1. ICT and Information Security
    2. Data Protection
    3. Cyber Crime and Cyber Security 

This training will be monitored, documented and reviewed at regular intervals. Where any individual HMS teacher’s mandatory safeguarding cyclical training lapses for any reason, no teaching will be undertaken until the required training has been completed and confirmed. 

HMS will provide both HMS teachers and responsible adults a user guide to assist with technical set up and how to access the Virtual Learning Platform and how to use the online system effectively, available here

All whole class or large group sessions must be administered by a member of school staff at the school side, and assistance and guidance will be given to ensure the online session is successful. 

Tips and guidance on using MS Teams is available online here. 

Online Lesson Safeguarding and Child Protection – Keeping you safe

These guidelines are designed to ensure that all online lessons are taught and managed in a safe and secure way. If an incident occurs in any online lesson delivered by HMS, these guidelines outline how HMS will identify, intervene and escalate any concerns or complaints. 

  • If you are being threatened or if you think a child is at risk, please contact the police.
  • All HMS teachers and staff will maintain the same duty of care responsibility during delivery of online provision as stated in the existing HMS Safeguarding and Child Protection policies.
  • If any action, behaviour or content of an HMS online lesson causes a safeguarding or child protection concern, you can contact the HMS Designated Safeguarding Team, led by Michael Mabbitt (HR Director) by sending a confidential email to: or alternatively you can contact Childnet for any non-urgent queries here.
  • Should you have any urgent concerns that require immediate reaction / response, the contact details of all members of the HMS Designated Safeguarding Team are attached as an appendix to this document.
  • Any concerns about online abuse or the way someone has been communicating online should be reported to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) as well as HMS.
  • If you discover or are sent harmful content online – anything online which causes a person distress or harm, please consider reporting this to the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Before online provision starts

  • For children aged 12 and under, an adult should be present in the room for the duration of the lesson. For children aged 13-15 an adult should be present for the start and end of the lesson and remain in earshot of the lesson, but not necessarily in the room. For young people aged 16-18, lessons can be unaccompanied.
  • All online lessons must be timetabled on SpeedAdmin.
  • HMS teachers, responsible adults and pupils should take reasonable care to ensure no interruptions occur during the online connection time. This can be achieved by switching the device used to access the online space to ‘Do Not Disturb’ or similar.
  • For all individual, shared and small group lessons, a responsible adult should ensure that pupils are present, on time and can start the lesson successfully. A responsible adult should attend at the end of the lesson to ensure the lesson has successfully ended and, where necessary, to ensure pupils return to class.
  • Responsible adults must ensure pupils have access to all resources to be used for the online lessons in advance. Digital resources can be shared via email or SpeedAdmin.
  • Responsible adults should ensure that a pupil has access to the minimum recommended equipment before starting online lessons, outlined by HMS.
  • The HMS teacher, responsible adult and pupil must ensure no phone call or messaging takes place during an online lesson.
  • All other unrelated browser windows, apps and programmes must be closed on the device used for the online lesson. 

Resource sharing

  • Teachers may need to share teaching resources, sheet music, backing tracks or other teaching materials with responsible adults for the pupils to use during and between online lessons.
  • All HMS teachers must send files and documents using their official HMS email address or via SpeedAdmin.
  • HMS teachers must:
    • Ensure that any resources comply fully with any and all local, national or international laws.
    • Not upload or email resources which infringe, or assists in the infringement of the intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to, copyright, patents, trademarks and database rights) of any other party.
    • Not upload or share resources that knowingly contain any form of virus or other malware, or any other code designed to adversely affect computer hardware, software, or data of any kind.
    • Be wholly responsible for the resources uploaded to the File Library.
  • Pupils and/or Responsible Adults will:
    • View and download the resources uploaded by their teacher for their personal use only.
    • Not reproduce, copy, distribute, sell, rent, sub-licence, store, or in any other manner re-use Content unless given express written permission to do so by their teacher.
    • Be responsible for protecting hardware, software, data and other material from viruses, malware, and other internet security risks.
    • Report to HMS any resources which are a cause for concern and may be interpreted as causing harm to the student. 

Connection or Technical Issues During or Starting an Online Lesson

  • A ‘chat’ function is available within the SpeedAdmin and MS Teams platforms that allows communication between teacher and pupil/responsible adult to fix video/sound connection issues. 
  • If the teacher experiences connection problems or technical difficulties for more than 5 minutes when starting a lesson, the lesson should be aborted, and the lesson will not be charged for. The HMS teacher will contact you to reschedule this lesson at a convenient time. 
  • If the pupil experiences connection problems or technical difficulties for more than 5 minutes when starting a lesson and the lesson does not take place as a result, this lesson will be charged for as a missed lesson and not rescheduled. Please refer to Section 10 of the HMS lesson terms and conditions for more information on missed lessons. 
  • The teacher may call the responsible adult on the emergency contact number registered to HMS whilst technical or connection issues are occurring in order to try and correct the issue. 
  • If connection or technical issues occur with the pupil's device midway through an online lesson for more than 5 minutes, depending on how much of the lesson was successful, the lesson can be either aborted but charged for, or the missed lesson time can be added to another lesson. This decision will be at the discretion of the teacher. 

Conduct during online lessons

  • HMS teachers will ensure the pupil feels comfortable in the online environment at the start of any online provision.
  • If the HMS teacher raises concerns relating to the conduct of a pupil or responsible adult during a lesson and these concerns are not addressed, the teacher has the right to immediately end the online lesson. No refunds will be given for lessons cancelled for this reason.
  • If a pupil is not suitably dressed or if any behaviour is inappropriate, staff will end the online lesson immediately then email parents to inform them of the reason for this.
  • All people in the building at both the teacher and pupil location should take reasonable care not to enter the room/area that the lesson is taking place except for a responsible adult.
  • Teachers should expect the same behaviour standards in an online lesson as a school or music centre based face to face lesson. These behaviour expectations may be outlined at the start of the first online lesson.
  • The HMS teacher will be provided with the contact number of the responsible adult in the unlikely event that the online connection fails. The phone number will only be used in this circumstance. All other communications will be conducted by email.
  • All verbal comments must at all times be appropriate to the formality of your lesson. Teachers and pupils should communicate as is normally appropriate in a lesson at school or music centre.
  • All written comments in the chat function of an online lesson must at all times be appropriate to the formality of your lesson. 
  • Any message sent in the chat that causes the HMS teacher concern, particularly from a safeguarding point of view will result in the lesson being terminated immediately and information and details shared with a member of the HMS safeguarding team. 
  • HMS reserves the right to download and share messages that a teacher highlights as a cause for concern with the HMS safeguarding team where required.
  • Parents/carers and pupils must not video record lessons or take screen shots.
  • Online lessons are not recorded by HMS staff.
  • Online ensemble performances are the only exception and you will be informed of the intention to record any performance, with all relevant permissions sought in advance. 

Lesson location and dress

  • No personal details should be shared in a visual way during online lessons. 
  • The background behind and around the teacher and pupil should not reveal any personal information or inappropriate materials. Best practice is to ensure the area around you, including the walls, are clear and plain.
  • Lessons must be conducted in a ‘living’ area of a home and not be in a bedroom or bathroom.
  • The HMS teacher, responsible adult and pupil should dress professionally and wear clothing that would be acceptable in a work or school environment. 

Quality assurance and data protection

  • All HMS teachers must only communicate with responsible adults via their HMS email address.
  • There is a chat facility in most virtual classrooms.
  • Any chat messages will be kept for 2 years as detailed in the HCC retention schedule, reference number HCC2.14 (page 16).
  • Online lessons are not recorded, and the lessons continue to be provided under existing safeguarding and child protection policy as they would be face to face in schools or music centres.
  • If an HMS teacher leaves the music service, access to deliver HMS online provision will be removed.
  • All personal data is kept in line with HCC GDPR policy. 

Useful links

Tips and Advice for Online Instrumental Music Lessons

  • Please be patient.
  • Please ensure you have made yourself familiar with the online virtual learning platform, how to connect to an online lesson and the digital resources to be used in a lesson.
  • Ideally the device you use should be plugged into a power source during use for online lessons.
  • Please ensure you have all instruments, music, books, a music stand, pencil and any other resources prepared in advance of the online lesson.
  • It is assumed that both HMS teachers and pupils will be using personal devices to access the online virtual learning platform. 
  • The virtual learning platform will require access to the microphone and camera of these devices. This permission should be given in order for the lesson to take place. 
  • Full technical requirements and guidance are available separately to this policy.
  • It is recommended that the internet upload and download speed is 2Mbps for both the teacher and pupil connections. A test can be conducted by visiting
  • It is recommended that all other internet users of the same internet connection cease online activity so the lesson can run successfully.
  • It is recommended that pupils and teachers use the biggest screen possible, preferably a laptop or desktop computer although online provision will be able to take place on most laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones with a broadband connection. 
Online in School or Music Centre Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Version 1.3 
Created by: Ben Stevens – Director of Music