Forming part of the Blackpool Multi Academy Trust, Park Community Academy wanted an all-encompassing online safety package to roll out across the whole school community.
PCA is a Special Academy that provides education for children who have a wide range of learning needs in a vibrant, thriving, happy and successful environment.
They were recently rewarded for their online safety achievements through achieving their certified status. We spoke with Computing Lead, Caroline Johnson to gain an insight into the successes they’ve had with National Online Safety.
Why did you choose National Online Safety?
It was the staff training and wider community training aspect that really caught my eye. Our school is an all-age special school that goes right the way through from 2-year-olds to 19-year-olds, and as Computing Lead I wanted a training package that would cater for everybody.
What package/resources did you purchase and how did you find these?
We purchased the Certified School package.
There are some areas that I can help staff with their subject development, but online safety is just too big a thing, and we needed a specialist input there.
I liked all of the training elements of it and, particularly, there was the SENDCo training course – so it just seemed a bit of a no brainer really. Not only was it training for all of the staff, but it was specifically for special educational needs.
How much of a benefit has National Online Safety’s resources been to your school?
The Keeping Children Safe in Education documents talk a lot about the school community, and Ofsted look for how we support the school community with online safety.
This allows us to target the governors, the DSLs and all levels of staff. Then of course there’s the parental side of it too, with the training that’s available there.
It’s going to become embedded, and staff will know what to expect now. We can keep directing staff to it, and it’ll also become part of our induction process for new staff as well.
We have an induction package when pupils begin school and, one of the things which we’ve put on our whole school agreement, is how parents can register for National Online Safety.
What is your feedback on our weekly #WakeUpWednesday guides? How would you say they’ve added to your e-safety approach?
When a parent says to me or any of our staff that they are in trouble with Minecraft or whatever it is that they are particularly into, we can access the #WakeUpWednesday guides.
We can educate ourselves and support the parents with it.
We’ve got some really vulnerable young adults, so it’s really a case of how to support them, but probably more so how to support the families, because they are the ones who are going to have to help their children. We’ve actually printed them and taken them to the kids’ houses – that’s a regular occurrence.
How have you found the use of our new Online Safety Hub? What differences have you noticed from the previous layout?
The online learning hub is great.
We’ve created a training programme for staff who are working from home and it’s been useful to direct them to certain specific things.
Having the capability to log CPD has been great too, because in the past I’ve had to create my own documents and pass them onto the women who are in charge of the CPD. Whereas now, I can just go in there and export it – so that’s been really useful.
You recently achieved your Certified School Status – how rewarding has it been to be awarded with this?
It validates all of the work that the school have done and put into it.
I now know that all of the staff have completed their training, so they’ve all got that foundation of knowledge. We can now keep building on it and we’ll of course repeat it next year.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
NOS just rolls off the tongue at school now; it’s become more embedded across the whole school.