As a school that values technology as a tool for teaching and learning, we also recognise the importance of raising awareness and deepening understanding of staying safe online. We need to help children to become responsible digital citizens and to do this, we must work together with our parents and our community.
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Fundamental to our approach is the recognition that online safety is not an ICT issue - it is a safeguarding one.
Our children use iPads everyday and are encouraged to complete independent research using Safari, communicate via Google Classroom or 'Airdrop' materials immediately to each other.
Online safety is essential and we discuss various aspects of this from an early age, using materials from CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection): https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/ and Safer Internet Day: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2017
Our Digital Leaders have completed work on how we can share key messages with our children and have produced posters and short movies, like these:
We now have a new school mascot that we hope will help to share these messages. PING the Penguin was created by Tegan Atkinson in a Y5 competition. He teaches our children to 'stay COOL' on the internet and we hope to develop his role further across our year groups. Watch this space!
Y5 have also worked hard on a 'Stay safe online' movie!
Whilst we value the transformational qualities of technology on teaching and learning and cherish the connections we have made using social media, we do not promote the independent use of Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to our children until they reach the recommended minimum age of 13.
However, we also understand the pressures placed on parents to allow use of these sites and therefore aim to offer as much support as possible to raise awareness of the dangers of the virtual world and how to keep their children safe.
In addition to the online safety topics we teach across the school, in KS2 we put extra emphasis on staying safe online during the PSHE conferences. These conferences are held throughout the year and explore issues from secure passwords, digital footprints, what to share online and being kind. Digital literacy plays a significant role in our curriculum.
We take a rigorous, hoilisic approach to esafety but also recognise that our children may make mistakes and we need to be there to help them to learn from their mistakes.
'Kids don't need protection they need guidance. If you protect us, you make us weaker. Don't fight our battles for us - give us assistance when we need it.'
Ref: Byron Review 'Safer children in a digital world', 2008.