How to make sure your school is eSafe?

Thanks to Amanda Jackson, Inspector Standards and Effectiveness – Computing and eSafety at HES for this blog post on eSafety.

Safer Internet Day, On Tuesday 10th February, is a great opportunity to get everyone in school involved with eSafety.  It is not too late if you haven’t got anything planned yet, why not try doing an assembly or have a go at one of the lessons?  Take a look at the Safer Internet Day website for ideas! The resources there are free for you to use so encourage all staff to use them.  If you are unable to get things organised for Tuesday 10th February, why not hold your own Safer Internet Day on a different day, all the resources will still be there for you to use.  As good as it is to get involved with this fabulous day, the key thing with eSafety is to see it as an all year round activity, not a one off event each year.

So what are the key ingredients for a school that wants to be eSafe?

Pupils
Pupils should be getting regular, high quality activities around eSafety issues.  The new curriculum for computing includes eSafety, for example at KS2 it states they should be able to:

  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact


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It is important to state that eSafety should not just be covered within computing, yes it is an obvious place for it, but there are many other times when pupils could discuss eSafety.  Where should you go for resources? Have a look at the matrix grid that looks at the resources that match all the different areas of eSafety.

Why not get pupils involved in keeping each other safe with a scheme like digital leaders (free) or ecadets (paid service)?

Staff
In order for pupils to have high quality activities and discussion regarding eSafety, teachers need to have knowledge and understanding of the topic.  If eSafety is your responsibility, make sure that all staff are aware of the risks and dangers of being online.  Regular briefings with staff are a good way to do this, why not have a go at some of the online games or activities the pupils are using.

Parents
We work hard to keep children and young people safe in school, what can we do to make sure that parents are able to follow the same message?  One of the most difficult things is to get parents to come along to information sessions.  Here are some ideas to get parents involved:

  • Try arranging the session at different times of the day, just after they have dropped off their children, just before they pick up or in the evening.

  • Get children involved in the session, with drama pieces or presentations.

  • Suggest the parents’ association get involved too

  • theme the event to look at aspects of safety such as gaming (including time limits, age restrictions etc), current issues such as Facebook privacy etc


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Policies
There are lots of examples online if you want to review your own or draw one up.  We recommend the London Grid for Learning documents to our schools; they are freely available for all, even those working outside London.  Have a look here – www.esafety.lgfl.net .  One of the key things to remember with your Acceptable Use Policy is that it needs to be signed by ALL staff, not just those who use a computer; it should be anyone who is employed by the school.  They represent the school and any inappropriate use of social media could damage the school reputation.  Have you also thought about how you get people to sign these?  Do you get people to sign the bottom of the sheet and then hand it back?  Who now has the copy of the rules that they are to adhere to?  Try to make sure what they have agreed to, stays with the user with a tear off slip or another sheet of paper.

Useful Links

www.thinkunknow.co.uk   –  Created by CEOP and includes areas for pupils, parents and teachers, including resources you can use in school.

www.internetmatters.org  – Has useful tips for parents about keeping children safe online at home.

www.childnet.com  – Includes useful ideas, for example hot topics for parents.

Switched on Computing provides an eSafety road map to help schools embed eSafety into their teaching. See how Scargill Junior School have been using Switched on Computing:

Competition

To celebrate Safer Internet day we are running a competition with an iPad mini as a prize. We would like to know how your students will help make the internet a better place. Entries can be tweeted on the day with the hashtag #SOCCOMP or can be e mailed to: OliviaTanner@risingstars-uk.com.

Tags

Assessment, Computing and ICT, English and Literacy, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation, Intervention and SEN, Mathematics, Switched on Computing

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