All North Yorkshire schools have access to the internet via their broadband link for curriculum purposes and recently for administrative purposes. Despite the educational and social benefits of internet access there are risks attached, particularly for young people, of exposure to inappropriate material that is sexual, hateful or violent in nature, or encourages dangerous or illegal activities.
On-line bullying is an emerging problem for schools. In providing Internet access, senior managers and teaching staff in schools must accept that safety considerations are of paramount importance as there is a legal and moral obligation to protect pupils in their care.
We at Carleton attempt to minimise the risk by:
- Only using a North Yorkshire service which ensures central as well as a school filtering solution
- Working with and informing parents and children of the issues around internet access
- Implementing a tri-partite agreement between Informing pupils, parents and school
- A code of conduct, or acceptable use policy (AUP) for internet and e-mail use
These policies and practices are supplemented by care with supervision, strategic placing of PCs so that screens can be observed, and warning pupils of the dangers associated with internet use.
These activities have ensured that we have minimal problems within schools.
Internet filtering systems are designed to block access to those web sites that the system recognises as inappropriate. Since the arrival of broadband internet is filtered regionally and locally within the school using.
In spite of these safety measures, it is prudent to establish procedures for dealing with pupils who abuse access to the Internet. Sanctions should be built into the school policies and penalties for misuse outlined.
Pupils may have internet access at home that is not filtered. At Carleton, we can offer advice for parents/carers and we send out the very latest advice from the LA and Government.
What to do if problems arise:
Write down as much detail as possible regarding the problem, for instance date and time of the incident, the name of the internet site and its address (URL), how it was accessed (directly or from another site), and the offensive nature of the incident. E-mail this to the ICT Team at County Hall / Schools ICT.
- Increase vigilance when pupils are using the internet.
- Inform line manager and/or Head.
There are a number of issues for consideration when using email in the school such as the management implications acceptable use of email by pupils. At our school we use Scalix e mail with our pupils.
Pupils should be taught the correct procedures and protocols for using e-mail and should be encouraged to report anything which they feel uncomfortable about.
Some schools favour individual e-mail accounts, while others prefer group accounts. There are also different levels of access that can be granted to pupils. For instance, a school's e mail system might only allow communication between pupils and staff internally and any outside traffic would have to go through the teacher. Alternatively, some pupils could be allowed to send e-mails externally, but only to a previously approved list of addresses.
This policy will be reviewed autumn 2012 or earlier if necessary.