Frances Powell, Vice Principal (Pastoral Care) at North London Collegiate School Dubai says she’s “a big believer in everyone understanding what safeguarding means and feeling confident about it.”
Thanks to support from National Online Safety, the school has been able to empower staff, parents and pupils in their approach to online safeguarding.
Mrs Powell and her colleagues are excited to continue to utilise all of the resources on our platform, to help them stay informed about the ever-evolving online world.
Educating the whole-school community
Ensuring all key stakeholders are kept abreast of the latest developments in online safety is key in Frances’ eyes, as well as providing them with the education to empower them in supervising children’s use of digital technology.
She confirms: “It’s a very hard balance: to understand why tech is good and how it can be used really successfully, but also knowing when a child is using it unsuccessfully. Educating parents is just as important as educating students.
“It’s not just the issue of spending too much time gaming, or seeing content you shouldn’t really be seeing - it’s also the idea of people being able to reach out through gaming and perhaps showing you sights that you wouldn’t have heard about before.
“For me, it’s that understanding of online safeguarding being quite multifaceted. It’s not just one particular thing: it’s how they all link together.”
Expert support from National Online Safety
The children are at the heart of everything the school does, an approach which remains consistent when it comes to teaching online safety.
With help and guidance from National Online Safety, Frances and her colleagues have been able to make real strides in this area.
“I want every teacher and member of admin staff to feel confident in discussing issues,” she asserts.
“We can’t do everything and we need some expertise and, for me, I was initially drawn to your weekly newsletters. At the time, I was looking into a particular incident and there was a newsletter which was really linked to that.
“We have a strong pastoral programme in the school, so our students get two slots with their tutor every day, as well as an hour-long session once a week.
“What I wanted to do was use the National Online Safety lesson programme and build that in to our own. One of the key ones which stood out when we first used it was the lessons on cookies and using WiFi.
“Every teacher could deliver that in their own personalised way, but also have something where they felt really supported.”
Coupled with pupil and staff development, NLCS Dubai have also focused on engaging their parental community too.
Frances revealed: “We send out updates from National Online Safety, and we’ve run sessions where I’ve discussed something which is on the platform, led a session on it and then encouraged parents to go and look at it in more detail.
“Parents feel as though there’s something out there which they can rely on, but also they understand that it’s not just them: this is something which the whole world is looking at.”
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