The development and expansion of the use of the internet has transformed learning in schools in recent years. Children and young people will need to develop high level computing skills, not only to maximise their potential use as a learning tool, but also to prepare themselves as lifelong learners and for future employment. There is a large body of evidence that recognises the benefits that computing can bring to teaching and learning. St. Andrew’s has made a significant investment both financially and physically to ensure many of these technologies are available to all our pupils. We perceive the benefits to outweigh the risks. However, we must, through our e-safety policy, ensure that we meet the statutory obligations to ensure that children and young people are as safe as possible and are protected from potential harm, both within and outside school. St. Andrew’s uses ‘RM Safety Net’ to filter out potentially harmful online content.
The requirement to ensure that children and young people are able to use the internet and related communications technologies appropriately and safely is addressed as part of the wider duty of care to which all who work in schools are bound. Our school e-safety policy helps to ensure safe and appropriate use.
The use of these new technologies can put young children at risk. Some of the dangers they may face include:
- Access to illegal, harmful or inappropriate images or other content
- Unauthorised access to / loss of / sharing of personal information
- The risk of being subject to grooming by those with whom they make contact on the internet
- The sharing / distribution of personal images without an individual’s consent or knowledge
- Inappropriate communication / contact with others, including strangers
- Access to unsuitable video / internet games
- An inability to evaluate the quality, accuracy and relevance of information on the internet
- Plagiarism and copyright infringement
- Illegal downloading of music or video files
- The potential for excessive use which may impact on the social and emotional development and learning of the young person.
As with all other risks, it is impossible to eliminate them completely. It is therefore essential, through good educational provision to build pupils’ resilience to the risks to which they may be exposed, so that they have the confidence and skills to face and deal with these risks. At St. Andrew’s e safety is a part of the curriculum. Aspects of e safety are progressively taught in each year group. Each year group will be taught about e-safety at least 3 times per academic year. This is in addition to whole school assemblies focused on e-safety, such as Safer Internet Day.