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No policy on cyberbullling or Internet at Primary School

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by franceslaing, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Hello there,
    I'm a trained teacher in Adult Education and work a great deal with the Internet in my job.
    My daughter is due to start school this September. I've become concerned that the school has no policy on safe Internet use, no guidelines for parents, and no anti-bullying or anti cyberbullying strategies either. I feel that the points I've raised i.e that they develop a policy have met with a dismissive response so far. I've written to Ofsted and the Child Exploitation and On-line protection centre asking them to intervene and develop a policy with the school. I'm not really sure whether they can actually do anything though, if the school won't.
    There are also concerns about school photographs. It is true that school and nursery photographs are a really nice tradition - but parents have not been provided with guidelines or guidance about what is acceptable on the Internet, and awareness at the school is low. I feel, especially given what has happened recently - some sort of national policy needs to be in place - and more guidance and support given to teachers and parents on these issues.
    What do other schools do on this one? Is there a standard policy somewhere that can be adapted? I feel other schools may be further along in thinking this one through...
    Regards
    Frances Laing
     
  2. Hello Frances,
    it's very important that schools adopt policies to tackle cyberbullying, either as a new policy or by adapting bullying policies.
    There are several resources on teacher.net that can be used by schools to help define their cyberbullying policies:
    http://tiny.cc/FidM6
    http://tiny.cc/FqDEg
    http://tiny.cc/khVMC
    If your not having much joy convincing your school of the need for policies, we'd recommend talking to your governing body. This may be easiest by contacting the parent governors.
    Robert.
     
  3. All schools have an obligation to have an internet safety policy (which may be part of their ICT policy) and to include cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Becta (schools.becta.org.uk) have some very useful advice. Your Local Authority has the role of supporting schools in this. It might well be worth you suggesting the school contact them for advice, or if they're really not interested and not just unsure of how to do it, you could contact them yourself or with the governors.
     
  4. In response to the photo's, I have always signed a form for my son that agrees to any photos being taken, photo's being used for display purposes and printed in newspapers (without their name underneath) and any use of videography. If you don't agree they can't take any photos or film your child. The school should also send home a form to be signed by parent about safe internet use and your agreement to your child uding it. I teach in primary and my son has attended two primary schools and all have been the same with the photo policy. They all have anti-bullying policies too.
     
  5. I also think you'll find that as part of the new ofsted framework all schools should have an anti-bullying policy as part of their safeguarding children under every child matters.
     
  6. Frances, I feel that the actions you have described taking do seem to be a bit over the top - I'm not sure that either OFSTED or CEOP will get involved in the matter. The school must have an anti-bullying policy in place, and may well have their internet provided by a RBC who is responsible for the safety of the school's braodband connection.
    Perhaps rather that taking what could be viewed as a heavy-handed approach, you would be better offering your advice and support to the school in developing such policies once your daughter has started at the school? Maybe find out if there are any parent governor vacancies coming up to volunteer for once your little girl is a pupil? Does the school offer any information sessions for new parents - maybe you could ask about photographs at that?
     
  7. NX5

    NX5

    Guidelines for parents for what?
     
  8. I would suggest to OP that they try and become a parent governor to really try and drive much needed change at a school which seems to be dawdling a bit; an Acceptable Internet Use policy and Anti Bullying policy should have been in place for years, there has been a fair amount of time for schools to develop complementary e-safety policies.
     
  9. Schools need to take the issue of bullying seriously.
    Stop thinking of it as simply meeting a criteria or another legislative
    overreaching demand. Creating an atmosphere of safety and zero
    tolerance, where bullying is simply understood as unacceptable, is
    critical to the long lasting change and ensuring youth security and well
    being. Assemblies with staff will not accomplish this. It’s about
    culture change.
    Let’s work together to keep children and adolescents safe this school year!

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr>
    <td style="height:15pt;width:74pt;">Frank
    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr>
    <td class="xl65" style="height:15pt;width:155pt;">http://www.turnthepagellc.com/</td>
    </tr></table>
    </td></tr></table>
     
  10. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Very solid advice, above. Every school should have a policy in place- and more importantly that policy needs to be meaningfully communicated to staff and students...and parents.
    It is frightening how quickly children have colonised cyberspace to pursue behaviours that are as old as conkers, like bullying and victimisation. It's even more frightening the immediacy of contact that children now have with a world full of fair folk and foul. Children should be taught as young as possible how to be cyber-safe, and net-aware. The problem is that many adults are either unskilled in the net, or uncertain as to what the dangers are. This is one of the times when adults need to educate themselves. I wouldn't dream of letting a child own a smart phone, with the unprotected, unmoderated access it gives them to strangers, **** and violence. Schools have an enormous part to play in this.
    I agree that a gentle, firm stance would work well here (doesn't it almost always?) Ofsted have no power just to jump in because there's a compliance issue. Contact the board of governors, and offer to make a presentation for them. I will be very surprised if they don't admit that something must be done with that approach.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom on his blog, or on his Twitter here.
     

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