Personal Information – How safe is yours?

Personal Information – How safe is yours?

At Gooseberry Planet, we deal with hundreds of schools every day.

What I am noticing more and more is the number of teachers’ email addresses that are getting hacked.  I must receive 10 emails a day from teachers which contain an attachment with a Purchase Order? or payment information and a link to follow.  I know that these have been generated by an account that has been hacked.

Are we really taking enough care to protect our passwords and our personal information?  Once a person has access to our email accounts, they have the freedom to access ANY of our accounts and reset passwords.  As a school you should ensure that all staff are aware of the risk of being hacked.   v Phishing emails are commonplace and look so innocent.  They ask you to follow a link and enter your personal information.  Pop-up ads may do the same, perhaps masquerading as a genuine company but in fact using malware to re-direct you to a different website altogether, which then misuses the information that is unwittingly divulged.   I know school networks have been put down completely due to one member of staff not being vigilant.  Staff should know never to enter personal information via a link – always go to the website directly, check that it uses securely encrypted messaging (shown by “https” in the web address) before sending personal details.

I am also noticing how many staff use their personal email for work and work email for personal bits.  This should really be discouraged.  Some teachers also use their school email to access private apps on school networks.  These Apps, if not from reputable sources, can also pose a security risk to your network.   This is a particular concern to schools in light of their responsibilities for data protection.

The first line of defence for any organisation is passwords.

Staff should know how to set a strong password (you would be amazed how many people use “123456” or “password”).      I do love our password system in the Gooseberry Play.  We are already teaching children as young as 5 to generate passwords that have 3 words in.  You might think, how on earth do you teach a 5-year-old to do this?    Well, we use pictures.  For example, bluedog5, is a picture of the colour blue, a picture of a dog and the number 5.  Teachers love this and so do the students but best of all, it is the beginning of the educational process about how to stay safe online.

The irony is that we are teaching our children how to protect their data when many staff seem not to know themselves.  I know that 71% of teachers use Facebook and this platform (and others) there are often quizzes.  People seem unable to resist answering questions that are often quite simplistic and offer very little informed feedback to the user.  Be wary of these.   They may ask questions about your children’s names, your star sign, your pet’s name, your favourite colour.  They are collecting personal information which can be useful to criminals trying to guess passwords in order to hack accounts.  Resist the urge to complete online quizzes!

This month’s alert is about Personal Information and advice on how to protect it.  As usual, we offer this advice to Students, Parents and Teachers, all with conversation starters.

Interesting facts for social media & personal information

BBC article

More than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cyber-crime, police statistics show.

More than a third of victims in that period fell prey to the hacking of social media and email accounts.

Action Fraud said £34.6m was reported to be stolen from victims between April and September 2018, a 24% increase on the previous six months.

The City of London Police, which runs Action Fraud, has warned people to keep separate passwords for online accounts.

The figures show 13,357 people in the UK reported cyber crimes over six months.

More than 5,000 of those people were hacked via their social media and email accounts, costing victims £14.8m.



Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018)

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018)

The Government has concluded its consultation on proposed changes to the statutory guidance for Keeping Children Safe in Education.  The new Statutory Guidance has been published for information only as the revised guidance will commence 3 September 2018 and until then schools and colleges must continue to have regard to the KCSIE 2016.  Full details can be found at:


Below we highlight some of the changes, with particular relevance to online safety:

The guidance sets out what schools and colleges in England must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18.

Page 3 clarifies the difference between the words “must” and “should”.  “We use the term “must” when the person in question is legally required to do something and “should” when the advice set out should be followed unless there is good reason not to”.

Specific Safeguarding Issues

Para 50, p. 15 (Updated to reflect sexual violence and sexual harassment).

“All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • bullying (including cyber bullying);
  • physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
  • sexual violence and sexual harassment;
  • sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.”

Opportunities to teach safeguarding p.21 – (Clarified to make clear that safeguarding includes online safety.)

“80. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety.  Schools should consider this as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum.”

Peer on Peer Abuse, para 90, p. 22-23 (Updated to reflect the importance of policies reflecting peer on peer abuse).

“90.  Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that their child protection policy includes:

  • procedures to minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse;
  • how allegations of peer on peer abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt with;
  • clear processes as to how victims, perpetrators and any other child affected by peer on peer abuse will be supported;
  • a clear statement that abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”;
  • recognition of the gendered nature of peer on peer abuse (i.e. that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators), but that all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously; and
  • the different forms peer on peer abuse can take, such as:
  • sexual violence and sexual harassment. Part 5 of this guidance sets out how schools and colleges should respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
  • sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery): the policy should include the school or college’s approach to it. The department provides searching screening and confiscation advice for schools. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) Education Group has published advice for schools and colleges on responding to sexting incidents; and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.”

Part 5 Child on Child Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment – See Paras 235-257 on pages 62-74 for new guidance on how schools should respond to reports of child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

Preventing radicalisation Annex A. p 82  (re-drafted to focus on what staff should be doing)

“There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media) and settings (such as the internet).“

Peer on peer abuse Annex A. p 83 (Contains new information)

“Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiating/hazing type violence and rituals.”

Sexual Harrassment Annex A, p. 85  (Contains new information)

“Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include: … online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.  It may include:

  • non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
  • sexualised online bullying;
  • unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and
  • sexual exploitation; coercion and threats”

Annex B:  Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead  (Added information on online safety and SEND)

Training p.90 (The DSL should undertake training so that they):

“understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;

  • are able to understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school or college;
  • can recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;”

Annex C: Online safety (Updated to provide more information and llinks to additional support).

“The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation: technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. An effective approach to online safety empowers a school or college to protect and educate the whole school or college community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.  The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:

  • content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example pornography, fake news, racist or radical and extremist views;
  • contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults; and
  • conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying.”

Filters and Monitoring – p. 93

“Whilst filtering and monitoring are an important part of the online safety picture for schools and colleges to consider, it is only one part. Governors and proprietors should consider a whole school approach to online safety. This will include a clear policy on the use of mobile technology in the school. Many children have unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via 3G and 4G in particular and the school and college should carefully consider how this is managed on their premises. Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regard to online teaching and safeguarding.”

Reviewing online safety p.93

“Technology in this area evolves and changes rapidly. A free online safety self

-review tool for schools can be found via the 360 safe website. UKCCIS have recently published Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions for the governing board”

Staff training p. 93-94

“Governors and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement for staff to undergo regularly updated safeguarding training (paragraph 76) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online (paragraph 80), that online safety training for staff is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the overarching safeguarding approach.”

The copyright in these extracts belongs to the Crown and Crown copyright information is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.














How do we deal with trendy tech?


I know you are most probably sick to death of GDPR, but I am afraid I must make sure we are compliant as a company.  Please can you follow this link and check your preferences to ensure that we only send you what you want to receive.  Thank you.

Our latest Gooseberry Alert is now on the platform.  This one is all about Trendy Tech.  I was taking a Parent Workshop a couple of weeks ago and there was a big concern about the constant pressure to upgrade to  the latest phones  and the impact it has on children who have a standard phone, not a smart phone.  Unfortunately, some children are being bullied due to having an old-fashioned phone.

This is such a hard subject to tackle and I am not sure there is an answer. We want our children to be popular and sometimes give in to their desire to keep up with the brands, rather than teaching them how to responds to the taunts and brush it off.  Maybe we need to toughen up a little and not try and keep up with the Jones’s.   My eldest son lost his mobile  earlier this year.  I refused to buy him a new one and he had to live with an iPad for months, without the ability to text or call anyone.  It did teach him a lesson about taking care of valuable things.   We do seem to live in a bit of a culture of never saying “no”.  This isn’t just with technology but in other aspects of our lives too.  The more parents who just say “no”, the more solidarity there will be amongst those without the latest stuff.  Its important that our children learn the life lesson that even as adults we can’t have everything we would like, and often the objects of our desire are treasured more if we have had to work and save for them.  If children have to earn these privileges by doing chores, or saving up their pocket money, they will value them more and perhaps take greater care of them too.

Of course the other way we can help address thi s sort of problem is by making sure it is not our children who are doing the bullying.  We should talk to our children about what makes someone a good friend, or a good citizen and remind them that judging people on their possessions is a very shallow and poor basis for such a judgement.  Remind them that, if they are lucky enough to have the latest phone, they should feel fortunate and not use it to brag or belittle others.

We are still holding parent workshops webinars.  You will be pleased to know that parents are engaging

and joining the webinars.  We have another one in a few weeks’ time, so just copy and paste this link and share with all of your parents.

We also have had an amazing response to our Online Safety CPD, this is free of charge and anyone in your school can register.  Just click here