“The biggest advantage for us is that it's a one-stop shop for online safety provision,” decides Adam Stainsbury, Headteacher at Westerings Primary Academy.
With technology continually evolving, Adam recognised that the Academy needed a proactive approach to keeping their pupils safe online – and ultimately opted for a Certified School Membership with National Online Safety.
He is delighted with quality of the training and resources that the Academy has since been able to access, highlighting that the whole school community has come together to achieve Certified School accreditation.
Keeping children safe in the online world
Summarising the school’s culture, Adam said: "Westerings Primary Academy is very much a school that knows each child is a unique individual."
"We know that the experiences, knowledge and skills that children learn here will shape them in their futures." he continued.
It can be difficult to keep abreast of the latest changes in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Westerings Primary Academy appreciates the importance of a strong online safety education.
Adam explained: "Technology plays a huge part. It's central to what the children’s future holds, whether it be work, home or in society."
He added: "In the past 24 months, we've more than doubled our ICT provision at Westerings."
"We now have over a hundred iPads, more than 200 Chromebooks and access to a range of high-quality online learning applications."
Training for the whole school community
That emphasis on a whole-school approach to safeguarding has been clear from the outset, and National Online Safety’s package fully aligned with the school’s values and ambitions.
"You need to have a clear foundation and the necessary resources to support the staff in delivering the curriculum and creating a positive culture around online safety," Adam stated.
"It was really important that we had that support from day one. It places high-quality resources and training in the hands of teachers."
"It's just so relevant: more than ever before. Parents across the country feel underequipped to navigate their children through the online world safely. It's a real worry for them."
"The pace at which new technologies, apps and social media trends come around is too fast to keep up with."
When choosing a digital safeguarding partner, Adam was impressed with the breadth of resources and training accessible on National Online Safety’s platform.
"The training covers all bases,” he nodded. “Everything from bespoke training for DSLs, all the way down to support staff and our parent community. Everyone has been able to access really good, high-quality resources that enable them to support the children."
Engaging parents and carers
Parents and carers can play a huge role in preventing their child being exposed to harmful online content and behaviours, so Westerings Primary Academy have focused on increasing that parental engagement.
"The beauty of the National Online Safety platform is that parents can access it any time, anywhere," Adam explained.
“We've had far more parents take part in the training because of that flexibility."
"I know parents want to have all the information and skills that they can utilise to keep their children safe online – and I feel that is the biggest advantage of using National Online Safety."
Accreditation and plans for the future
On achieving Certified School status, the Academy’s staff felt that their commitment had paid off following a real team effort from the school’s community.
Adam explained: "The award validates the hard work that all the staff have done to ensure our pupils have the skills, knowledge and understanding to live safely and responsibly in the online world."
"It shows that we're committed to keeping our children safe, and we’re inspiring them to make safe choices when using the internet," he stated.
"Our plans now are to continue work on our curriculum: making sure that our children leave Westerings Primary Academy knowing that they are going to be responsible and safe in the online world."
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