An Assessor from the South West Grid for Learning visited Bournville School recently to review the school’s e-safety provision. The Assessor met school staff, and children and was pleased to find that the school provides a high level of protection for users of the new technologies.
Ron Richards, Lead Assessor for the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark congratulated the school on its success and commented that it was re-assuring to know that the school had put a lot of thought and effort into improving the on-line safety of the staff and young people, by addressing these important safeguarding issues.
He said: “Talking to the school council was a delight, there were very attentive and polite and commented knowledgably when questioned. I was particularly impressed with the depth of thinking of one particular student who was able to set out an out of school scenario in response to whether she felt safe. Children knew what to do if they wanted to report and incident and knew how to take a screen shot of any incidents by using the dolphin on the screen of the school system and to report it to a trusted adult. They knew about the polices on mobile phones.”
The senior leadership team have made online safety a focus since 2014 when the first audit was carried out and have enabled and supported change within the school delegating the lead for this to the online safety lead Nicki Cherry.
Nicki recognised the need to set up a diverse online safety group consisting of representatives from within and without the school community. This group has has become a key driver in moving the school forward as she has delegated responsibility and draws upon their differing perspectives, support, knowledge and wisdom.
This has resulted in the school making impressive progress over the past two years and shows the school communities consistent effort and desire to create a safer environment for pupils, staff and a desire to influence the wider community.
The South West Grid for Learning Trust provides the internet connection and a range of other services to schools across the SW region and is in the forefront of national developments in e-safety. To enhance these services, they have developed a tool to help schools address e-safety issues, not least the changes to Ofsted inspections, which include a stronger focus on safeguarding. The online tool allows schools to evaluate their e-safety policy and practice and then suggests how the school might do more to protect young people and staff.
To apply for the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark, schools have to reach a series of benchmark levels when they complete the online self-review. The evidence is then verified by a visit from experienced Assessors.
The prime benefit of using the review and applying for the E-Safety Mark is that it does not focus on the individual aspects of e-safety such as technological solutions, but instead it integrates e-safety into school policy and the curriculum, challenging teachers and managers in the school to think about their provision and its continual evolution.
Schools are expected to show that they have provided a high standard of e-safety education and awareness for all staff, children and also for parents and carers, to ensure that these users of the new technologies can be safe online – whether they are in school, in their homes or out and about using mobile phones or other handheld devices.