Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School & Nursery places the utmost importance on safeguarding of its pupils.
Becoming a member of National Online Safety has empowered the whole school community to respond to current online developments - using the variety of resources available on our platform.
Headteacher Pauline David joined us to discuss the highlights of their journey so far.
A culture of safeguarding
Encapsulating the school’s culture, Pauline said: "We take safeguarding exceptionally seriously. We make sure that we’re engaging with parents and carers regularly around safeguarding, via our newsletters."
She continued: "We've got six trained DSLs; I’m the senior DSL and headteacher. For us, safeguarding is the absolute start point for everything that we do in the school."
Choosing National Online Safety
It can be difficult to keep abreast of the latest changes in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School & Nursery therefore appreciates the importance of a strong online safety education.
"We often use technology within the school to support safeguarding," Pauline confirmed. "National Online Safety fitted into that wonderfully: what was on offer matched our delivery of online safeguarding for parents, carers and children.”
She recalled: "The pandemic allowed me to consider what CPD looked like for staff in general. We discovered that National Online Safety was able to give us high-quality online training in a way that was cheaper, more accessible and efficient than we had ever seen before.
"One positive from the pandemic is that we’ve looked at how to utilise our teachers time in a much more effective way,” Pauline elaborated. "We’ve learnt a lot over the last 18 months about how to make our CPD better in general. As part of that, safeguarding CPD was essential."
A wealth of benefits and resources
Pauline revealed: "We had a couple of online safety issues in school that we had managed and dealt with, but I very much felt that I wanted to improve our understanding of online safeguarding.
"That includes online grooming, cyberbullying and bigger issues that are impacting our children,” she said.
“National Online Safety was recommended to me, and I started looking into the Certified School Membership. I saw that your platform would be brilliant for enhancing the CPD of the wider staff body."
"Massively beneficial to the whole school community"
Pauline highlighted some of the programme’s standout features: "What really impressed me about National Online Safety was the annual safeguarding training courses and certificates. That was a definite winner for me.
"My staff can complete that each year, and it was a huge tick in the box."
Engaging with parents and carers
Parents and carers can obviously play a huge role in preventing their child from being exposed to harmful content and behaviours online, so Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School & Nursery focused on increasing that parental engagement.
Pauline explained: "We have lots of children who are far too young to be engaging with gaming and social media platforms. However, children are clever and they will find a way to go onto these platforms."
"There could be an argument on a social media platform, which is then brought into school,” she suggested. "We've found that a lot more online issues at home are then coming into school."
Responding to the latest apps, games and online trends, our weekly #WakeUpWednesday series has been invaluable for the school, who’ve been able to send out timely information when necessary.
"With National Online Safety, we started to use the #WakeUpWednesday guides to send out to parents and carers," Pauline nodded. "The work that you do compliments the work that we do in the school. The guides are brilliant; we've added those to our website, and I share them on Twitter too."
"It allows parents and carers to take ownership of online safety at home," she reasoned. "My plan to increase parental engagement is to have a meeting in school when I can show parents and carers the platform and website.
"I think we currently have around 20 parents and carers logged on, who have accessed the guides and courses," she smiled. "We think there'll be a really enthusiastic response as time goes on."
Reflecting on the achievement of becoming a Certified School, Pauline says that the feeling of pride will spur the whole school community on to use the resources and training even more.
She beamed: "We're delighted to have achieved our Certified School Accreditation. Gaining a reward for the school is absolutely amazing!"
"Even if you didn't offer the accreditation, I would still sign up to National Online Safety due to the breadth of CPD on offer,” Pauline stated.
"I hope that we stay with National Online Safety for a number as years, as what we get from the programme is brilliant. As a school leader, the scope I see for improving our staff using the resources from National Online Safety is huge.
"It's the ease of access too - I could make a list as long as my arm as to why this has worked so well for our school,” Pauline concluded. "It shows our school community that we are committed to online safeguarding."