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Case Study: St Nicholas Church of England Primary School

As St Nicholas Church of England Primary School’s Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Vicky Axon places significant importance on the role which e-safety has to play within the classroom and at home.

The Accrington-based school had been searching for an online platform where they could provide e-safety training and resources for their staff, governors, parents and children, and were delighted when the opportunity to use National Online Safety became available.

After following our step-by-step whole school community training programme, the school recently achieved their Certified School Status, which only further went to highlight the importance placed on keeping children safe in education from an online safety perspective at St Nicholas’.

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Speaking about discovering National Online Safety, Mrs Axon said: “I’d been looking for something for quite some time because I am the designated safeguarding lead, so the online safety area came under my umbrella.

“National Online Safety was exactly what I was looking for. It was something which was up to date and regularly updated – saving me a lot time preparing materials to inform parents of new dangers.

“Being Headteacher and Safeguarding Lead, you always feel under pressure to ensure the staff are well trained. With all the Ofsted focus on online safety and what schools are doing to protect their children means there is a constant pressure to get accurate information out to our families. The information leaflets and training materials are invaluable in the fight to keep children safe online.

“I was spending a lot of time preparing leaflets to parents to make them aware of the dangers of certain platforms, and the National Online Safety resources were written in a language that both parents and children understood.

“Everything about it feels credible and high quality.”

A vast array of resources and knowledge

She says the ability to tap into the wealth of knowledge which exists within National Online Safety’s pool of education experts is invaluable, and something which has made a huge impact.

“With anything that’s related to ICT, what you know today is old news tomorrow. So, for someone else to keep on top of that and send out the information is great,” she stated.

“I thought I was quite up to date with my online safety, because I attend a lot of safeguarding updates myself, with me being a Designated Safeguarding Lead.

“All of the focus around the Dark Web does make you think ‘wow’ and allows you to realise that you perhaps didn’t have the depth of knowledge that you thought you did.”

A whole school approach to online safety

She revealed that there’s a desire from all involved to deliver accurate and informative online safety training and lessons, with staff embracing the opportunity to develop their knowledge.

This has subsequently manifested itself in the classroom, leading to a structured approach now being taken across the board.

“I thought the staff training was really high quality,” she highlighted.

“All of my staff have done the online safety training; the DSLs have done theirs and the vast majority of governors and parents too.

“We looked at a constructive way to drip-feed the online safety lessons for the children because it does require that the children are constantly reminded about the messages. What we’ve decided to do is roll out a whole school session on a Friday afternoon – not a long session, but as a means of feeding those messages regularly, so it’s always there.”

Mrs Axon was praising of the new National Online Safety learning hub too, highlighting its easy-to-use functionality, layout and interface.

“Whenever anything crops up at school now, like TikTok did recently, I can log onto the website, download the relevant guide and get it out to parents that day – that side of it has been absolutely brilliant,” she concluded.

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