The coronavirus pandemic has led to a shift towards an increased use of digital technology and, for schools in particular, remote learning.
For Cambridge School of Bucharest, which is located in Romania’s capital city, this adage rings true also, with the need for the whole school community to get up-to-speed with all things online safety.
This was reflected in the school achieving its certified status last year, an achievement which both Heath Renfroe, Deputy School Director and Matthew Wemyss, Assistant School Director were delighted to accomplish.
A shift to remote learning
As highlighted previously, Covid-19 has brought with it a multitude of challenges and, with teaching seeing the introduction of remote learning as a result, safeguarding issues were always something that would be at the forefront of any educator’s mind.
That was no different for the school, who were not only keen to empower all stakeholders with the knowledge of a variety of platforms, but in turn, wanted a remote platform where this insight and expertise could be tapped into.
Matthew explained: “Online safety was always an important issue, especially given the amount of technology that students of ours have access to, and also the rapid changing pace of technology and how it’s very hard for parents to keep constantly up-to-date with changes.
Matthew: “One of the key attractions of National Online Safety were the guides and how up-to-date they are and by reading one PDF or watching a short webinar, you can suddenly become fully knowledgeable about that area and speak quite confidently about it in front of students and parents as well.
Matthew: “Coronavirus kicked things up a notch for us as well. It’s pushed the uses of online platforms quite a lot. All of these platforms we started to use weren’t built as teaching tools, so we had to be very careful about the safeguarding issues and the dangers that could come up.”
Empowering the whole school community
The importance of getting everyone from teachers to parents proficient in recognising online risks was something only ever too obvious, and through National Online Safety, Cambridge School of Bucharest feel they’re well on their way to doing that.
“When you’re building a school or trying to grow into what we’re trying to grow into, we want everything to do as much double duty as possible,” explained Heath.
Heath: “We know that our students are online more than ever, so we wanted something to help bridge those gaps, and also keep our staff up-to-date.
Matthew: “Since we’ve bought into your platform, my Year 12 students have accosted me, because now their parents are asking them lots of questions!
Heath: “Introducing this programme has benefitted us because there is a lot that parents are asked to do and keep up with, not by the school necessarily, but by life in general.
Heath: “So, making sure they know how these applications work, the features or the potential dangers is important, and they’re not going to have that information readily available.
A strong uptake
For both Heath and Matthew, it’s been equally as great to see the enthusiasm for the training and resources, and this ultimately led to them being rewarded with that aforementioned certified status in October.
Matthew revealed: “In terms of the engagement, we’ve had 64 courses completed, but people have also gone off and explored beyond that course.
Matthew: “I’d seen that a range of parents from a range of different age groups had also watched the videos too.
Matthew: “As people have gone onto the platform, they have explored the guides quite naturally and had a look around, with them then coming to me and saying how they’ve found different things which are interesting.
Matthew: “The biggest advantage so far is the usability of the platform, and it’s so easy to use. The courses, guides and webinars are all there.”