Who is responsible for Safeguarding our Children?

It has been a busy start to the year but as we all know Online Safeguarding is always at the forefront.  I have written several articles lately addressing key questions that we should all be thinking about. One of which is ‘Who is responsible for Safeguarding our children?’ Some may think it is parents, some may think our schools and some think just ticking a box is enough. The truth is, ensuring safety online is all of our responsibility. The big question is how seriously do we take Online Safety? 

In my work I have the honour of meeting inspirational people, who through their own experiences have lessons for us all.  I met with Lorin LeFave the other day; what an amazing woman. Her son Breck [link]was murdered by an online gamer.  She is pushing for better education about Online Safety in our society, starting with a push to make PSHE a compulsory subject in our school curriculum.  She aims to ensure that Online Safety to becomes a sustained and planned life skill, not just delivered through a day here and there.  We all need to ask ourselves, what are we doing to support, promote and model positive and safe online behaviours? Are we doing enough? and Could we do more?

Are you going to Bett next week? If you are, look out for Gooseberry Planet’s new game platform being launched by Acer. Their stand is B109.  Why not go and try our resources and have some fun at the same time, playing one of our gaming levels. Who says games are just for the children!  Let’s see who can get the highest score over the course of the event. If you go, please send a tweet out with your picture playing GP. @gooseberryplan.  You could win something!  We are also on our own stand which is number G251. I will be there for most of the week and would be happy to have a chat.

Internet Safety Day is around the corner on the 7th February. We are offering schools a free resource. It will include a lesson plan and a workbook covering 9 different areas of Online Safety. Topics include Online grooming, People online, Perfect passwords, In app purchases, to name but a few.  You can choose:  just email or phone and one of our Gooseberry Gurus can send the documents to you. 

I am really excited to announce that we have released our new safeguarding CPD. This is all online, with a fun, interactive element.  No more death by power point.  Don’t forget ALL your staff, including the support and site staff, need to have up-to-date Safeguarding training. Our programme can be accessed online, whenever you like; it can be done over a period of time and the learning can be personalised and prioritised, depending on your experience and role within a school. No more staff out for the day, no more individual costs and you can track who has completed the training.  Watch our video.

If you have any questions about what we do, please book on to one of our webinars or give me a call. 01865 366 468.  I am always happy to chat about Online Safety and our passion for supporting it.  

Lastly don’t forget our Parent Workshops. We are already fully booked until March. We have some very cool initiatives to get the parents to attend.

New Kid Award for Gooseberry Planet – The EducationInvestor Awards 2016

The Learning Curve Group has triumphed at the seventh annual EducationInvestor Awards, picking up the ‘Education Business of the Year’ award.

New Kid Award for Gooseberry Planet - EducationInvestor Awards 2016 Winners

650 guests from 300 companies attended this year’s event, which was presented by BBC Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark. For further information about the awards please contact Lucy Taylor on 020 7104 2000 or email lucy.taylor@investorpublishing.co.uk

A Case Study on Sexting

It can be a challenge when you get a call from a parent, who is disappointed with the way the school has responded to a situation.  In some cases, a situation involving a specific safeguarding issue.

In light of the updated statutory requirements in ‘Keeping children safe in education 2016’, have you as a school reviewed and updated your safeguarding policies and procedures? Do all of your staff know how to respond to a safeguarding incident involving a child and their peers?

Specific safeguarding issues

The taking and sharing of sexual imagery amongst children forms part of ‘Sexting’, which is a specific safeguarding issue.  This online behaviour is a concern amongst our children and young adults. Knowing how to respond to such an incident is a crucial part of an effective safeguarding approach.

The law

The law states that it is an illegal offence to take, store and share sexual images online, under the age of 18.  To help support schools in responding to such incidents, there are non-statutory guidelines available that offer advice on how to address the issue of ‘Sexting’.

The following is a real incident which occurred.  It is an incident that could happen to any child or young adult, in any school, at any time.  How would you respond?

The incident

A sexual image has been taken by a 15 year old girl, she has sent it to a male friend of the same age.  He shares the image with friends online.

Would your colleagues, know how to respond accordingly to protect the safety and welfare of the children?

The response

During an initial phone conversation with the parent of the boy following the incident, they realised that there were several failings in school’s response.

  • When asked, the member of staff did not know the school’s procedures for dealing with this safeguarding issue
  • The school did not interview the boy only the girl who sent the sexual image
  • It took over 24 hours for the school to come back to the parent with a plan of action
  • There was a lack of support for both the child and parent
  • The Police were called without all of the facts

Key questions

  • Has your Safeguarding or Child Protection policy been reviewed and updated since the release of the statutory requirements ‘Keeping children safe in education 2016’?
  • Are all school staff trained to recognise and respond accordingly to an issue of safeguarding and know who the DSL is?
  • How effective is your teaching of Online Safeguarding issues for children, teachers and parents?
  • How do we equip children and young adults with the skills to make safe choices online?

This type of issue could happen in any school.  Be prepared, by providing your students, teachers and parents with a robust, planned and proactive approach to Online Safeguarding.