A specialist education centre with a focus on both the individual and academic needs of its students, The GFC School have taken significant steps to protect their pupils in the online world.
Initially, through becoming Certified School members and then subsequently being rewarded with accreditation, GFC have not only garnered a wealth of online safety knowledge, but showcased this too.
This is what we’ll be paying attention to in this week’s case study, as we delve into just exactly how The GFC School has empowered their whole school community.
“A safe, stimulating, and challenging learning environment”
It was quickly apparent that National Online Safety and The GFC School were very much aligned in their ambitions for young people, in giving them a safe environment, but one which stimulates them too.
Lisa Darran, Head of Centre and Lead DSL at The GFC School said: “Our school is a specialist educational centre for students aged between 11 to 16 years who have or are experiencing significant barriers to learning.
“Based within MEMS Priestfield Stadium, the location of our school is of paramount importance to the learning needs of our students. As a small school we pride ourselves on getting to know the students and catering for their individual needs both academically and personally.
“All students who attend our school are provided with a safe, stimulating, and challenging learning environment, and are valued as individuals within a structured and supportive environment for students who find education and social situations a challenge.”
Appreciating current online risks
It’s all about education and the rewards which that brings with it – least of all when it comes to the subject of online safety.
“Online safety is very important in society as is in the need to educate both staff and students about online dangers,” she explained.
“We believe educating our students about issues such as cyberbullying, identity theft and grooming will help them become more responsible online and understand how to avoid potential dangers.”
Upskilling staff, parents and students
That message of online safeguarding has to be one that’s present continuously, which is why not only educators, but parents and carers alike have to be equipped in the same vein.
Mrs Darran declared: “We wanted to ensure that our staff and parents/carers are aware of online harms and risks so we can help make the lives of our students safer and more enjoyable.
“We want to speak to our students honestly and openly and also be better equipped to answer any questions they may ask.
“Being National Online Safety members allows us to keep knowledge up to date, while knowing we have the staff to tackle any situation which may arise.”
Using accreditation as a foundation
Lisa was keen to stress that, while being evidently proud of their achievements, this is only the beginning.
Her and the rest of the staff want to use our accreditation as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, and really continue with that online safety enhancement.
“We are proud of the staff, parents and carers who have joined together to achieve this award,” she stated.
“We aim to keep talking to students about their Internet use, teach them about online dangers, and keep our knowledge up-to-date, so we can make informed decisions.”