2021 saw the enforcement of a third national lockdown, which in turn led to the vast majority of pupils being forced to learn remotely.
In response to the DfE’s ‘Review your remote education provision’ guidance, we at National Online Safety launched our ‘Safe Remote Education’ accreditation programme, so that schools could reaffirm belief in their own provision.
Nine Mile Ride Primary School recently completed the necessary accreditation steps, with headteacher and designated safeguarding lead Ali Brown expressing everyone’s collective sense of fulfilment after being informed of the news.
The importance of accreditation
Mrs Brown spoke of a whole school culture towards online safety and said that the accreditation gave everyone the opportunity to evaluate existing safeguarding measures.
She said: “Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility and this includes online safety as well. Our school culture is based upon everyone who comes into contact with children and their families playing their part in keeping our children safe whether at school or at home.
“Completing the accreditation was a great way to audit our provision and also celebrate the robust safeguarding system that we already have in place as part of our day to day running of the school.”
Acknowledgement of an evolving online world
Online platforms, games and apps in general are always re-inventing themselves – so it can be difficult to keep abreast of each and every new development.
Taking a proactive approach is crucial in Mrs Brown’s eyes, and she’s been delighted with Nine Mile Ride’s ability to do just that.
“The Internet can be a wonderful place to learn; however, when children are online, they are at risk from unsuitable content, fake news, accidentally disclosing personal data, illegal downloads, file sharing, spyware, viruses, inappropriate advances and cyber bullying. At NMR, we have a duty to safeguard our children by teaching them to navigate the online world as safely as possible,” she declared.
“Online safety has always been an integral part of our safeguarding processes and procedures. We have a carefully planned curriculum that is sequenced from Foundation stage to Year 6 so that every half term, previous knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe online is built upon and this has definitely helped when we went into lockdown.”
Tackling online safety incidents
Because of that aforementioned approach, the school has been able to intercept potential issues at source, with the help of our weekly #WakeUpWednesday guides too.
She revealed: “At the beginning of lockdown, we had some instances where a couple of children used the chat function inappropriately to reach out and message peers, so this was addressed by educating the children about appropriate usage and also giving all children across the school opportunities to meet virtually via Daily Google Classroom Meet sessions and the problem was solved.
“Staff created and reviewed all posted lessons and sessions so there were no specific incidents relating to the online learning. We also posted regular safeguarding messages from the designated safeguarding lead of what to do and who to contact in the event of a concern and we regularly posted NOS platform parent guides too.”
Pride as one
Praising the accreditation, Mrs Brown says the overwhelming feeling is one of pride, not just from a personal perspective, but amongst key stakeholders too.
“I feel incredibly proud of our school for achieving the accreditation and have reassurance that we have a robust system in place for keeping our children safe online whether in school or at home,” she stated.
“The accreditation is an easy to access professional development opportunity that involves a range of stakeholders within a school which, in turn promotes the message that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.”
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