As children spend increasing amounts of time online throughout lockdown, Carlyle Infant & Nursery Academy have placed a real emphasis on ensuring that everyone in their school community is adept in dealing with the risks on the internet.
Testament to the academy’s approach, they achieved recognition in the form of their certified status last November – an accomplishment that all affiliated played a crucial part in.
We recently spoke to Reception Teacher and Early Years Lead, Priya Hayre, who is also responsible for online safety at the Littleover-based academy, who spoke of a real collective attitude towards what is a complex topic.
Heightened focus during lockdown
The Covid-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through the world, and education hasn’t been exempt from that, with vast numbers of students making the switch to remote learning.
However, with increased time at home and the use of new platforms comes an inevitable exacerbation of the risks to children’s online safety – something the academy were keen to alert parents and pupils to.
Mrs Hayre explained: “With everything that’s happening and children accessing a lot more online platforms, I felt like we needed to raise more awareness, not only for the staff, but also for the parents too.
“We selected the appropriate #WakeUpWednesday posters and sent these out to parents. We felt this information highlighted matters, which parents needed to be aware of considering the child’s age group and what they are accessing at home. From this, we really felt parents could actually see what the dangers are and how they need to be careful.
“With certain social media sites such as Snapchat and online games, parents had been giving their phones to children and just letting them use it, without realising the dangers behind it.”
An encouraging response from parents
Mrs Hayre revealed that the uptake from parents has been really positive, with many utilising our platform in order to enhance and improve their knowledge of online safeguarding.
“When we bought into the package, we told parents about it. I used to do termly newsletters and on there I used to share what National Online Safety were saying, and I subsequently began signposting them to the website too,” she revealed.
“Afterwards, we had a parents’ consultation where I really promoted National Online Safety and spoke about the dangers of what can happen online.
“I gave out a questionnaire to parents, which really made them think too. I then followed up and said that moving forward, in order to make things safer for children, accessing this platform is great.
“We had quite a big turnout, and I gave all parents slips with the logins to the website. We also told them there’s lots of training on there, so you can dip into whatever you feel you need more training in.”
A culmination of hard work
Reflecting on the collective effort which ultimately culminated in that certified status, Mrs Hayre feels that everyone who has played their part can be extremely proud.
She said: “It’s been great! Especially for the community, because we are quite a small school and we have all worked as a community in partnership with parents to complete this award. It’s great to be recognised as a school that safeguards and keeps our children safe in all ways, including online safety, which is an area which is always developing, and becomes an integral part of children and young people’s lives.
“It’s been an invaluable tool to ensure that children, staff and parents have access to a sound safeguarding knowledge when making the most of the internet as a learning resource.
“I’m a reception teacher and early years lead – I also look after online safety.”