At Bredon Hancock's Endowed CE First School, we know that online safety is more important now than ever before and it is essential that our children need relevant up-to-date knowledge of how to stay safe online. Research shows that 53% of 3-4’s are now online, as are 79% of 5-7’s and 94% of 8-11’s (Ofcom). We recognise the limitless advantages that digital devices have for children, provided they are safe and know how to tackle problems, should they arise. We are therefore committed to ensuring that online safety is a whole school approach spanning beyond specific online safety lessons but embedded throughout our whole curriculum, ethos, culture and furthered with strong partnerships with our families and community.
Our online safety curriculum, which is progressive from Early Years to the end of Year 6, is taken from the Education for a Connected World document. Each month has a whole school focus and during their time at Bredon Hancock's, children will become more digitally aware enabling them to be safe, healthy and thriving online.
The 8 strands outlined in the document are below:
Online safety is taught both discretely and specifically throughout our whole school curriculum with key principles being reinforced in multiple lessons. Throughout children’s time at school, they have access to various different devices such as iPads, laptops and tablets which are monitored securely by our firewall, which is monitored by Chestnut Infrastructure. This ensures any inappropriate sites are blocked and should a child attempt to type or search something inappropriate, this is reported immediately to school and dealt with and addressed specifically with the focused child and also through online safety lessons. Staff at Bredon Hancock's encourage and promote the key online safety principles consistently, reiterating the importance of our acceptable use policy and the prominence of staying safe when using the internet.
Each month, we will focus on a different aspect of the Education for a Connected World document through lessons, which clearly address each strand/focus. These lessons provide children with various scenarios and encourage open ended discussions about various risks and what to do in that situation. We complete this through Project Evolve as it provides the right opportunity for discussion; prompted by appropriate questions accompanied by honest and useful information to shape thinking and challenge misconceptions.
As well as this, online safety is also covered in our computing curriculum (following the NCCE computing scheme of work). We ensure that children are aware of what they should do if they need help both in school and at home. To fully embed the online safety coverage, our KS1 classes focus on some online safety stories, which discuss recurring ‘online’ themes throughout the key stage. In KS2 classes, in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6, we also utilise the Google Internet Legends platform to embed skills/coverage which may not be explicitly covered through our computing/ PSHE scheme.
Throughout the delivery of any online safety lessons, our staff are aware of vulnerable children and can tailor their lessons to meet individual needs. Issues such as online bullying which may cause some distress for children can also be tackled in a sensitive manner through the use of peer-to-peer conversations and discussions.
Furthermore, we also see the education of our families and community as of high importance considering children have more opportunities to access devices for longer periods – sometimes unsupervised – when at home. We therefore have created a comprehensive online safety policy to share with parents, along with a comprehensive list of websites, which parents can access support their children with the use of platforms/ devices and provides up-to-date information about evolving online safety issues as they emerge.
The DSL and Online Safety team monitor the effectiveness of Online Safety and ensure any necessary changes are made where necessary with planning, implementation and assessment of online safety within school. We ensure leadership, school staff and our community are kept up to date with new and coming apps/programmes or safeguarding issues through regular training, reading and research which ensures a consistent approach for all children, including those most at risk.
It is our aim to create confident digital citizens, therefore Online Safety is an integral part of our teaching.