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Head’s Blog 7th February 2020

Tuesday February 11th is Safer Internet Day and international event which aims to ensure that all children spend their time on the internet safely and productively.

As a school, we recognise the importance of technology in the lives of pupils (and indeed staff).  Where many schools seek to completely ban mobile phones, we recognise that is something which is important to pupils and we would prefer to work with them to attempt to teach them how to use them properly.

Sadly, a great deal of our pastoral work results from the improper use of digital technology with examples of this being:

Pupils being rude or disrespectful to each other online

Posts containing images which we feel are not appropriate

Sharing information which is sensitive/confidential  – and so on.

When digital technology is used well, it can make a hugely positive impact on the learning experience and the lives of pupils.  When it is used in a negative way, it can cause a high degree of stress and anxiety.

The theme of Safer internet Day this year is ‘together for a better internet’ where the focus will be on how young people explore and express their ideas online and we will be looking at opportunities to deliver activities in school focussing on this.

Whilst schools have an important role to play in this, there is also work which can be done at home.  Here are some tips from parents and carers provided by the UK Safer Internet Centre:

  1. Free to talk

Talk regularly with your child about how they use technology. Find out how they like to represent and express themselves online, and how being online makes them feel. Listening to your child will give you the best possible idea of how you can support them.

  1. Free to explore differences

The internet is a place where lots of different people can communicate and come together. For some children, the first place they see people who are different to them may be online. For others, the internet may be the one place where they can find people similar to them. Acknowledge the different types of identities your child may see online, and use these to spark discussions around diversity and inclusivity. Talk to your child about being respectful to everyone online, and what to do if they feel their own identity is being targeted. Free to make the internet work for your family. There are lots of tools to help you manage the devices used by your family. For example, knowing how to activate and use parental controls can help protect your child from seeing inappropriate content online.

  1. Free to get involved

As parents and carers, it’s natural to feel worried about the risks posed by your child being online, but for young people the internet offers a wealth of exciting and fun ways to explore and experiment with their identity. This might be through the characters they choose on games, the filters or emojis they use on profile pictures, the content they share, or the sites and services they use. Spend some time with your child looking at, or interacting with, the things they do online. Talk about both the positive and negative aspects of being online, and empower your child with safe choices they can make – instead of overwhelming them with restrictions.

  1. Free to seek help and support

It can sometimes feel like young people are the experts in all things digital but remember – you are the life experts. Find out how to get more support by visiting Childnet’s ‘Need Help?‘ page. You can take steps to support your child online by using features such as privacy settings on social media and understanding how to make a report on a range of apps, games and services.

Just as we tell young people to talk about what they are unsure of, make sure you do too! Chances are that you’ll find other parents or carers who are trying to figure out how to make the internet work for their family! You don’t need to know all the answers straightaway but reassure your child that you can figure it out together. Maybe there isn’t an answer, but what your child is looking for is comfort.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about this, please do not hesitate to contact us at school.

More information can be found by accessing the following link:

https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/safer-internet-day-2020/i-am-parent-or-carer

It has been our Languages, Literacy and Communication Cluster’s Reasearch and Development week where lots of outstanding practice was seen.  Our photos of the week are taken from a year 9 French lesson where pupils were given the opportunity to develop their oracy skills in a highly creative way.

Please remember that school closes for half term on Thursday 13th February to pupils as we have a staff Professional Learning Day on Friday 14th  February.

Best wishes