(e) Safeguarding – a 3600 view

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Robert Bashforth, Senior Consultant Technological Innovation

imageOur Curriculum ICT (CICT) Team, working through the Bradford Innovation Centres, are all (e)Safety trained (many to CEOP Ambassador and 360 e-Safe Assessor level) and we support all school stakeholder groups, council teams and organisations to ensure that everyone can enjoy our ICT and media-rich society, and use technologies to enhance learning and working in safe and responsible ways.

The team support Strategic Leaders (including school Governors) in dealing with the policies, infrastructure and education that they need to put in place to ensure (e)Safety at a personal, organisational, network and data security level. We support teachers to continually find ways of conveying important (e)Safeguarding messages in different situations and contexts to underpin essential third millennium learning skills that are needed by students and stakeholders, such as making informed choices, being discerning about information, and being cautious with their personal information. We also support teaching staff and professionals to be aware of their own online reputation and digital professionalism.

Curriculum ICT support parents to understand the risks their children may be exposed to, and how they can supervise and support their children effectively. We also encourage them to fully support the (e)Safeguarding vision and aims of their child’s school and contribute positively to its realisation and success.

We support young people to develop their critical thinking skills so they are able to evaluate the way they use technology at home and at school, identify risks and develop ways to balance those risks with any benefits. We encourage schools to incorporate their students’ skills in defining and implementing the (e) Safeguarding agenda. We can also support organisations with their policies, audits and technical know-how and offer training around (e) Safety, Digital Professionalism and Data Security.

Any of the above stakeholders or groups can request an initial (e)Safeguarding Health Check (approx 1.30 – 2.00 hours). Whatever their starting point, we will meet with key Strategic Leaders (in any phase or organisation) to identify strategy, policies and procedures helping them to create a coherent plan to ensure that their school or organisation is well underway on its (e)Safeguarding journey.

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We recommend that any Strategic Leader has a clear strategy in place which takes a whole-school or organisation approach to (e)Safeguarding; planning, prioritising, resourcing, identifying roles and responsibilities etc. A range of appropriate policies need to be in place covering both technical and behavioural issues: for example, policies on Acceptable Use; Use of Mobile Devices; Public-Facing Communications; Data Protection and Risk Assessment etc. Coherent workable procedures need to be in place which the appropriate people are aware of and have access to. Procedures need to cover areas such as: disclosures, issuing and keeping safe user names and passwords, incident reporting, removing malicious web comments, risk assessment procedures and classification of data etc. We always recommend that a school or organisation identifies any potential risks and then decides on the level of risk that they are prepared to take in their own unique context or setting.

Any school or organisation needs to have a prioritised, all-inclusive training plan or approach which embeds (e)Safety across all areas of the curriculum or throughout the working practices of the organisation. CPD in schools will probably include a range of approaches and audiences – students, teaching staff, support staff, senior leaders, governors, parents and carers. The CPD plan should cover awareness raising and education about (e)Safety issues such as stranger danger, cyber-bullying, sexting (a portmanteau of ‘sex’ and ‘text’), digital footprint, use of Social Media, netiquette, copyright, health & safety and may also include specific training on technical issues such as network security, deploying safe filtering or antivirus software, and implementing access controls.

The Curriculum ICT team ensure that there is a continual carousel of courses and IAG (information, advice & guidance) available from our Innovation Centre website (under provision/courses and events/latest news), or alternatively, schools or organisations can contact us to arrange in-house provision. We are continually developing new ways of working with federations and clusters of schools to facilitate joint practice transfer.

We highly recommend use of the Southwest Grid for Learning (SWGfL) 360 degree safe online self-review tool or Online Compass tool, which provides a user friendly and interactive means for schools and organisations to review their (e) Safety provision and to develop an action plan to bring about improvements. We are able to perform an assessment upon request that can lead to a prestigious accreditation.

We also highly recommend that all schools and organisations become familiar with CEOP’s age-related support materials which address many of the themes of (e) Safeguarding such as (e)Safety, Cyberbullying, Sexting and Digital Footprint. There are also many excellent support sites such as Digizen, Childline and the BBC and curriculum materials at ‘Common Sense Media’ which we continually signpost via our courses, handouts, marketing communications or websites etc. All of our team are members of, and contributors to, various professional organisations and social networks, which enable us to remain at the forefront of (e)Safeguarding developments. Crucial to our success has been making full use of young people’s digital skills and including them in the design of (e)Safety provision as Digital Leaders, Cybermentors or (e)Safety Ambassadors.

At CICT we consider ourselves to be an enthusiastic and creative team who are passionate about learning and innovation and try never to forget that the Internet and social media can provide us with a superb communication platform that can be used positively by individuals, schools and organisations if it is underpinned with caution, respect and professionalism.

About author:

Robert Bashforth, Senior Consultant Technological Innovation (Secondary), City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Robert is passionate about third millennium learning and has offered strategic support to many schools in the Bradford District in their use of innovative technologies to inspire creativity and independence in learners. Previously he worked in a national capacity as a Learning Consultant for the Building Schools for the Future program. Prior to this he worked as a Teaching and Learning Manager for ICT in a large Secondary School.
Twitter: @rbashforth

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