6 o’clock Storytime
Online Safety – Oscar’s Adventures in the Online World
>> ONLINE SAFETY
“In today’s digital world, it is impossible to avoid the use of technology. Therefore, it is our duty to empower young people and our community to know how to stay safe online.”
At Park Lane Primary School, we know that online safety is more important now than ever before and it is essential that our children need relevant up-to-date knowledge of how to stay safe online. Research shows that 53% of 3-4’s are now online, as are 79% of 5-7’s and 94% of 8-11’s (Ofcom). We recognise the limitless advantages that digital devices have for children, provided they are safe and know how to tackle problems, should they arise. We are therefore committed to ensuring that online safety is a whole school approach spanning beyond specific online safety lessons but embedded throughout our whole curriculum, ethos, culture and furthered with strong partnerships with our families and community.
Our online safety curriculum, which is progressive from Early Years to the end of Year 6, is taken from the Education for a Connected World document. Each month has a whole school focus and during their time at Park Lane, children will become more digitally aware enabling them to be safe, healthy and thriving online.
The 8 strands outlined in the document are below:
- Self-Image and identity
- Online relationships
- Online reputation
- Online bullying
- Managing online information
- Health, well-being and lifestyle
- Privacy and security
- Copyright and ownership
Online safety is taught both discretely and specifically throughout our whole school curriculum with key principles being reinforced in multiple lessons. Throughout children’s time at school, they have access to various different devices such as iPads, laptops and tablets which are monitored securely by our Warwickshire firewall. This ensures any inappropriate sites are blocked and should a child attempt to type or search something inappropriate, this is reported immediately to school and dealt with and addressed specifically with the focused child and also through online safety lessons. Staff at Park Lane encourage and promote the key online safety principles consistently, reiterating the importance of our acceptable use policy and the prominence of staying safe when using the internet.
Each month we focus on a different aspect of the Education for a Connected World document through lessons provided on the National Online Safety platform which clearly address each strand/ focus. These lessons provide children with various scenarios and encourage open ended discussions about various risks and what to do in that situation.
As well as this, online safety is also covered in both our PSHE curriculum (Lifewise) and within computing curriculum (following the NCCE computing scheme of work). We ensure that children are aware of what they should do if they need help both in school and at home. To fully embed the online safety coverage, our KS1 classes focus on some online safety stories, including the Digiducks series and an altered version of Goldilocks, which discuss recurring ‘online’ themes throughout the key stage. In KS2 classes, in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6, we also utilise the Google Internet Legends platform to embed skills/ coverage which may not be explicitly covered through our computing/ PSHE scheme.
Throughout the delivery of any online safety lessons, our staff are aware of vulnerable children and can tailor their lessons to meet individual needs. Issues such as online bullying which may cause some distress for children can also be tackled in a sensitive manner through the use of peer-to-peer conversations and discussions. When an issue does arise using a school device, Warwickshire contact the school directly and this can be reported on MyConcern, similarly to concerns happening in the classroom noticed by a member of staff or reports from incidents at home/ away from the school setting. If this concern becomes something that needs to be addressed with more than the targeted child such as issues around a particular app such as WhatsApp, our flexible and proactive approach to online safety ensures that time is allocated in the timetable to discuss and address this through targeted online safety sessions and discussions.
Furthermore, we also see the education of our families and community as of high importance considering children have more opportunities to access devices for longer periods – sometimes unsupervised – when at home. Therefore, our subscription to the National Online Safety platform, a multi-award-winning platform with extensive resources in online safety, developed in line with the Department of Education’s statutory requirements, is essential to ensure the consistency of our approaches in both settings. This platform enables our families to access free webinars, guides and videos to support their children with the use of platforms/ devices and provides up-to-date information about evolving online safety issues as they emerge.
The DSL and online safety team – including computing and PSHE lead – monitor the effectiveness of Online Safety and ensure any necessary changes are made where necessary with planning, implementation and assessment of online safety within school. We ensure leadership, school staff and our community are kept up to date with new and coming apps/ programmes or safeguarding issues through regular training, reading and research which ensures a consistent approach for all children, including those most at risk.
Due to our online safety curriculum encompassing and supporting the ethos of our school, the children at Park Lane are confident digital citizens. In addition to this, Park Lane has successfully completed a comprehensive online safety training programme demonstrating its commitment to keeping children and young people safe online. We have received a National Online Safety Certified School Accreditation for our whole school community approach to protecting children in the online world.