At National Online Safety, we recognise that the online world can change rapidly, which is why we respond to the latest trends and developments that the internet can bring.
School staff have hectic schedules and, for Ashcroft Technology Academy, being able to fit high-quality CPD has been invaluable.
As a direct consequence of having a Certified School package under their arm, an organic culture of personal responsibility toward professional development has well and truly flourished.
Safeguarding and the online world
Phil Hall is the Deputy Principal and Designated Safeguarding Lead at Ashcroft, and he explained how a remote approach to learning shone a light on both the pros and cons which come with online activity.
He said: “I’ve been working within the safeguarding team at Ashcroft for the last three or four years now and have been in the leadership team for four years. Since I took on that pastoral responsibility, it was the first time I got a sense of what goes on behind the scenes and the role which social media and use of the internet has to play in the safeguarding arena.
“Since the pandemic started, the internet has shown its more positive side, in terms of what we can achieve. How we taught online over the course of the pandemic, no one would have really thought it was possible.
“Having said that, there’s still a darker side to it, but that was there before the pandemic. I would say it’s definitely on the rise and we’re having to deal with it more than ever now.”
A flexible approach
Having that flexibility has meant staff have all upskilled their online safety knowledge, whether that be by watching webinars, undertaking courses or utilising our plethora of age-relevant resources.
“We signed up before the pandemic because we were already conscious that we needed all staff to have a greater awareness of this sort of thing," he explained.
“With National Online Safety, I really like the fact that you can dip in and out of it – you can do it in a flexible way.”
Invaluable professional development
Ashcroft have completed over 340 hours of CPD; so it goes without saying that the culture Mr Hall spoke of is clear for all to see.
However, he was quick to point out, that none of that would have been possible without a National Online Safety subscription.
He declared: “If I see a piece of training which I want all staff to do or a particular group of staff to do then I will send that to them.
“However, often when I go back onto the admin hub to check who has done what, I find that a particular member of staff, group of teachers or support staff will have taken on another course – and it won’t have come from me or anyone in senior leadership.
“There’s definitely a culture within the school of teachers and support staff taking responsibility for their own learning.
“The numbers (of completed CPD hours) which have been quoted – that’s a huge amount of training, which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had the platform.
“Those short, sharp bursts of professional development I think are really invaluable.”