In July 2010, all Kent Schools and education settings received copies of the recently updated Kent e-Safety Sample Policy and guidance to enable them to consider recent advances in technology and ensure that their school practise is up-to-date. Included with these documents was a short check list which we requested schools to complete and return to the e-Safety Officer. This checklist was essential in ensuring that Kent County Council understand better the issues that schools, settings, children and young people have with e-Safety and also to plan the e-Safety Officer’s input and focus for the next academic year and help schools and settings work towards a common goal of an e-Safety aware Kent.
To date, over 160 schools and settings have completed and returned the forms.
The key issues identified from the results received so far are with staff training (especially for non-teaching staff and governors), staff confidence in teaching e-Safety (especially at Key Stage 1 and 2 and in special schools) and working with parents/carers. As a result of this we are pleased to announce that the e-Safety Officer is delivering a selection of training which will be suitable for school staff from a variety of settings to attend.
Multi-Agency training for all professionals can be accessed via the Kent Safeguarding Children Board. This training is delivered across different course – a half day which focuses on e-Safety awareness raising for professionals, a half day which enables staff to become an accredited Think U Know trainer and a whole day which focuses on Child Protection Concerns and looks at some of the key online risks in more detail. The KSCB training can be booked here
Additionally, School staff can access e-Safety training via EIS which is a series of Â½ sessions focused on delivering an e-Safety curriculum and working with parents. These sessions are split into Primary and Special and Secondary and Special and are targeted at the designated e-Safety leads. This training will provide staff with a variety of resources to use with pupils as well as staff and parents/carers in order to raise the profile of e-Safety within their own setting. The courses will also look at professional behaviour online as a number of schools raised concerns about protecting staff especially the use of social networking sites. The EIS training can be booked here
District training sessions for groups of schools which will look at staff CPD, Pupil training and sessions for parents/carers in local areas and bespoke training sessions for schools will also be offered by the Kent CPD Online portal which can be accessed here
We have also been able to identify specific gaps in the resources Kent County Council offers and are now working on updating these to reflect recent changes. We have identified that some schools and settings do not ensure that all staff sign a Code of Conduct or Acceptable Use Policy and are therefore are updating the current Kent template. This will also emphasise the fact that staff should be using school provided email address etc for professional purposes as this could potentially leave staff vulnerable.
If you are a Kent School or educational setting and have not yet completed and returned the e-Safety checklist please complete the document and return either via post, fax or email to the e-Safety Officer as soon as possible.
The responses recieved so far echo a recent study undertaken by University of Plymouth and South West Grid for Learning of the 547 education establishments in England and Wales using the 360 Degree Safe e-Safety tool. The 360 Degree Safe tool enables schools to assess their own provision against 28 separate aspects and offers improvement advice and is free to use.
The report revealed that the filtering out of unwanted and harmful websites and the adoption of e-Safety policy by schools is generally strong, but that staff training is one of the weakest areas. The report also reveals that primary schools generally rated themselves lower compared to their secondary counterparts and suggests that there are fewer opportunities for e safety advice to children in rural and semi-rural schools compared to urban areas. Mobile phones and hand held devices are also identified as being a challenge for both primary and secondary schools.
You can read the full report here
For any other e-Safety queries or concerns, please contact the e-Safety Officer.