For Holme Valley Primary School, equipping their staff with the latest online safety knowledge is of paramount importance.
The school, located in Scunthorpe, has placed a huge emphasis on ensuring that all pupils are taught in a way which allows them to make safe decisions when they are online.
Long-standing Certified School members, Holme Valley are a fantastic example of how to embed an ethos of online safety across the whole school community: whether that be governors, teachers, parents or anyone else who has a safeguarding responsibility.
The importance of education
Safety starts with education and Holme Valley believe that, in time, making correct online choices will become second nature to their students, both in and out of the classroom.
Rachel Stephenson, Headteacher at Holme Valley Primary School, said: “Our children have been spending more and more time online, and the age when children start spending more time online has become younger and younger.
“You find that children aren’t getting phones in Year 6 now, they’re getting them in Year 3. Occasionally, despite the lessons we teach and the messages we give them about being safe online, they do take more risks in the online world than they do in the real world.
“We believe it’s really important to teach the children how to be safe online – even when they’re out of our care, it’s still our responsibility to teach them about that online safety.”
A provider who catered for all
At National Online Safety, we make it our focus to give all key stakeholders the confidence to have informed discussions with the children in their care, to guide them in what can be sometimes a confusing online world.
This was what appealed to Mrs Stephenson and her staff, making the decision to join National Online Safety an easy one.
“We wanted a training package that supported our staff with understanding the issues of online safety and the risks which our children face, so that they understood the importance of teaching those online safety lessons,” she explained.
“Many of our staff are also parents and face the challenges of the online world while at home with their own children.
"From National Online Safety we get the teacher training element, but we also get the lesson resources which support the teaching of online safety within school.”
Of course, education doesn’t stop when children leave school for the day, and Rachel has been elated with the attitude of each respective parent when it comes embrace our online CPD.
She revealed: “Another thing which we really do like is the parental element. We’ve found that trying to bring parents into school to give them training on online safety, a barrier was actually getting them into school.
“So training which they could do in their own home, where they felt safe and comfortable, was a real motivator for us.
“We’ve had a lot of parents engage in that parental training and, when we do have any issues or instances, we are able to refer them to that training and provide access to the relevant training unit.”
Proactivity is key
Getting ahead of the game, so to speak, is crucial in Mrs Stephenson’s eyes, and – along with the rest of her staff – she has been able to do exactly that through National Online Safety.
“The thing with apps is that the children are always one step ahead of the adults. They’re always onto the new platforms first. So it’s about being proactive: knowing what’s coming out and what the children are going to be on next,” she stated.
“When we do have an incident, we do use the #WakeUpWednesday guides, and we can send those home with the children for the parents.
“We’ve also used the explainer videos too. For example, when TikTok was becoming popular, a lot of the staff didn’t know how that worked and we were able to watch the explainer videos, which were really useful.”