With EHCP pupils from Early Years to Year 6, Tiverton School prides itself on providing a secure, stimulating and safe environment for all its children.
Everything at the Coventry-based school centres around ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow and develop, which is very much the case when it comes to teaching them to be alert to online dangers.
Through National Online Safety’s comprehensive Certified School Programme, Tiverton has been able to embed age-appropriate training across its wide pool of pupils and – thanks to significant contributions from staff and parents – they received accreditation earlier this year.
An ethos of kindness, safety and happiness
To gain a further insight into exactly how the staff at Tiverton approach each day, we spoke to teacher and ICT Lead Marisa Piedade, who has been instrumental in the implementation of our online safety training.
She said: “At Tiverton Special School, we provide a curriculum that is aspirational, relevant and engaging. We want everyone here to learn, enjoy and achieve. We want everyone to do their best and get the most out of their time here. We want to develop the skills of our pupils, so that they are prepared for life beyond Tiverton.
“We help our pupils to be sensitive to the needs of others, to develop a sense of worth and self-esteem. Our ‘be kind, be safe, be happy’ ethos is to encourage our pupils to take an active part in the life of the school and to become independent, caring young people capable of contributing to society in a positive way.
“It’s really important to every member of Tiverton School that we make a difference to the lives of our children, now and as they move on into secondary provision and adulthood.”
“An effective approach to online safety”
Crucial in their decision to bring National Online Safety onboard was the breadth of resources available on our learning hub, and the ease with which these could be rolled out to staff, parents, carers and pupils.
“We have purchased a Certified School Package with National Online Safety to implement an effective approach to online safety,” Marisa revealed.
“Due to safety protocols, we are not able to do our usual coffee morning, training for parents, etc. This way, with the NOS School Certified Package, we are able to offer our parents free access to a very useful platform where they can encounter a variety of useful online safety information, such as training, webinars and guides.”
Resources to combat online dangers
Speaking in specific terms, Marisa revealed that gaming age ratings have been something of challenge to monitor.
However, through an amalgamation of our lesson plans and #WakeUpWednesday guides, the school has been able to strike a balance of being informative, without ‘policing’ the issue.
She explained: “One of the biggest problems in relation to online safety for students in our school community has been access to games or videos that are not age appropriate – and a lack of information regarding parental controls and guided access.
“We have approached these incidents in two ways:
“Informing parents – sharing weekly information from National Online Safety on our Class Dojo and school website, and having updated info on our school website regarding online safety and supporting parents (individual cases) as needed.
“Teaching pupils – through our computing (online safety) and PSHE (online safety) lessons.
“National Online Safety lesson plans are very useful, and easy to use and adapt the resources to our pupils’ individual needs. Guides for parents are very useful and we love to share your #WakeUpWednesday information.”
Whole-school engagement and accreditation
It’s been a real whole-school effort when it comes to online safety and Marisa could not disguise her pride when talking about the award for Tiverton’s collective approach.
“We have created some challenges and competitions alongside sharing info from National Online Safety. We have created our own online safety mascot (‘Toot’) and classes have created online safety posters to be displayed in school. All challenges were accessed by pupils in school and by pupils accessing remote learning. This practical approach has aided our pupils’ understanding and increased parental engagement,” she declared.
“We are immensely proud of our pupils and all our school community for their engagement in online safety.
“Let’s be safe online in a fun and engaging way, celebrate our amazing work and be proud of all our pupils’ achievements!”
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