Feedback from Assessors

In their feedback to E-Safety Mark schools, the Assessors have been pleased to report on some excellent practice. These are some of the (many) comments made by Assessors in their feedback:

E-Safety is truly embedded and is at the heart of everything the school does regarding the use of technology. There is whole school ownership of the policy and clear understanding of roles of responsibility and lines of reporting. Students are aware of sanctions if the policy is not adhered to, although as the students have the option of being able to use mobile phones and other devices in the classroom to support teaching and learning, there is very little abuse, as they do not want to lose those privileges.

The website includes information about e-safety for parents and students, and there is an area for parents to send messages relating to e-safety on the site. The school also makes good use of the ‘ning’ social networking site as a teaching tool. There is a ‘ning’ site which is specifically for parents / carers to post issues regarding e-safety and to encourage dialogue and discussion.

Contributions from the students into the e-safety curriculum are very strong and they have been known to question the way in which teachers use technology!

The Focus Group is a strong feature of the school and their enthusiasm and motivation could be ‘exploited’ by encouraging their use as ambassadors in local primary schools and in the community. They could also be given the opportunity to become researchers into issues surrounding e-safety and report back to inform policy.

The password security policy is understood by staff and pupils. Password changes are forced every 90 days in line with government recommendation for all users and there are appropriate support mechanisms in place for this. There is a clear approach to data security within the school; staff laptops have encrypted volumes for sensitive data; all staff have access to SIMS Terminal Server for MIS data and encrypted USB sticks are used.

In its work with the local University, the school has created a team of Year 10 students who adopt the role of e-safety ambassadors. These students have a mentoring role as well as producing resources such as anti-bullying videos, podcasts and newsletters.

The whole school ethos around safeguarding and making the school “a safe place to be” is very apparent and is clearly understood by the whole school population. Reporting routines for e-safety are integrated into the school’s Anti Bullying Committee structure allowing it to be embedded and linked to other areas of safeguarding. Staff are confident that they can rely on students to report incidents both formally and informally which emphasises the degree of trust that exists in that relationship. The e-safety agenda is championed by the Headteacher and driven by a number of key staff who maintain its high profile.

The development of practical e-safety policies ensures that the whole school has ownership of e-safety, and age-related Acceptable Use Policies reflect a real understanding of the e-safety needs of different user groups in the school.

The children themselves have a very clear idea of the uses of ICT within the classroom and have a clear understanding of e-safety. They know the rewards and sanctions applied for good use and inappropriate use of computers and are keen to share their home experiences of computer use. This demonstrates a real drive in the school to partner computer use with personal safety.

There are clear indications of excellent teamwork and of a caring ethos around safeguarding children. The key staff are keen to support parents and children if inappropriate activities, eg. Cyberbullying, happen outside of school, and involve parents when appropriate. E-safety is clearly embedded in all areas of the school community

It was a privilege to join the school for the morning and to experience the commitment and enthusiasm of children, parents, teaching and non-teaching staff, and governors to e-safety. The hard work and dedication of the senior leadership team have fostered a team approach and ensured a high quality ICT experience for the children and ensured that the safety and the children in their care is a top priority.

The school has created an ‘e team’ comprised of students from year 7 to year 9 who provide training and support within school and to a local primary school on e-safety. They have presented to regional audiences and LSCB groups. Their role as ambassadors for e-safety has helped staff and pupils to discuss and learn about e-safety issues. Their video is available to parents with links to relevant sites in the school VLE public area. Their confidence and sociable manner shine through and allow peers and younger students to engage, relating to them easily. The role of the student ‘e team’ could be developed to encompass older students and extend support for feeder schools.

Ron Richards
Lead Assessor
360 degree safe E-Safety Mark