Bridgewater High School is a vibrant school with a real commitment to developing students beyond the classroom.
With over 1,500 pupils on roll, the school, which is located in Appleton, Warrington, has a duty to protect and inform, when it comes to the latest online safety trends.
Arming students with online safety tools
Covid-19 brought with it a ‘Catch-22’ situation, as technology kept young people connected, but also led to an increase in potential safeguarding incidents.
Having National Online Safety was a huge positive, says Assistant Headteacher Tim Eden, who drew attention to the comprehensive nature of our programme.
He said: “The increase in the use of social media is an issue we have all been aware of in recent years but when the lockdown due to COVID meant that this was the main way in which pupils could still remain in contact with one another, its use has been heightened. It is vital that pupils not only feel safe in the online world but also know how to use it as a positive force for good.
Intervention through informative resources
Speaking in more specific terms, Mr Eden alluded to how information and image sharing had been an issue but, through National Online Safety’s age-specific lesson plans, they’ve been able to tackle this head on.
“Quite often this has been problems created by the sharing of information/images that a pupil would not want sharing. Often pupils have not understood where what they perceive as “banter” can become hurtful for others,” he explained.
“Lesson plans have helped shape our delivery to ensure pupils are using online media in a positive way. Weekly pdf guides for parents/carers have helped to reinforce our messages. These were particularly helpful in devising materials to engage a whole year group during Safer Internet Day.”
Having input and contributions from parents is also crucial to Bridgewater, with their subsequent high uptake proving how these views are mirrored across the board.
Mr Eden stated: “Parents feel that they are very well-informed with regard to online safety. In a very recent whole school parent/carer survey, 96% of parents/carers agreed or strongly agreed that they are informed with issues with regard to online safety.
“For the second whole school survey running, covering a wide variety of aspects of school life, this was the most positive result on the survey overall.”
A desire for growth
It’s clear to see that now they’ve laid down strong online safety foundations, the next step for Bridgewater is to further grow their provision, with the support of our intuitive platform.
“I feel keen that our online safety provision grows and grows. We want even more parents involved and are about to set up a new student leader group briefed with raising the profile of online safety even higher with parents/carers and pupils alike. These leaders are also going to investigate the role of online safety in the local community, e.g. with local businesses. Regular video reports will help parents/carers and other pupil keep abreast of the latest issues,” he declared.
“We are seeking to increase the CPD time staff spend on online safety. Our new students leaders will have a fundamental role moving forwards in education other pupils and parents/carers, and also in liaising with our existing Online Safety Team (staff and one governor).”