At Verulam, we take the safety of our students in the physical and online worlds very seriously. The internet is an integral part of children’s lives. It opens up many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to a world of information and experiences.
As you would protect your child in the physical world, you will want to make sure that they are safe when in a virtual space too. Like learning to cross the road, online safety skills are skills for life. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might try to exploit them.
How does the school educate students about online safety?
We cover issues such as online safety, trustworthiness of websites, online threats such as malware, computing legislation and people’s rights, cyberbullying, sexting, digital footprint and building a positive digital reputation.
This is delivered via:
- The Personal Development curriculum throughout all years
- Computer Science curriculum throughout all years
- UK Safer Internet Day assemblies and theme week in February of each year
- Support via Form Tutors
- All students sign an Acceptable Use Agreement for IT services at school, and school networks and Wifi are filtered and monitored.
How can you protect your child online?
Simply put, if you understand the internet and understand what the risks are, there are a number of things you can do that will make your child safer online. Below you will find a list of some websites you can visit to find out more.
We encourage parents to maintain active discussions with their children around eSafety, put filtering in place at home and to impose sensible time limits on the use of devices at home. Any homework that may require Internet access will be published on Google Guardian Summaries with guidance on the time that the task should take to complete.
In school, we have a very clear internet safety policy and each year all students are educated how to stay safe online.
For those parents who are concerned about their children’s safety or the internet, the following sites provide useful advice:
- thinkuknow.co.uk– a site run by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre) with up to date information for children of different ages and parents.
- http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-to-technology– A guide to answer questions and introduce some of the most popular communication devices, highlighting the safety tools available and empowering parents with the knowledge they need to support their children to use these technologies safely and responsibly.
- http://www.swgfl.org.uk/safe– provides online safety advice for parents, children and schools.
- http://www.chatdanger.com– offers information related to potential danger using chat related services both on computers and mobile phones.
There are also a number of useful materials attached below that will give further guidance.
The Click CEOP button
The Click CEOP button is an asset of the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command. The CEOP Command works to protect children from the harm of sexual abuse and exploitation both online and offline.
The button has been developed to offer children, young people, parents/carers and professionals working with these groups with a simple and convenient mechanism for gaining access to trusted online safety advice, help and support. It also provides access to an online mechanism for reporting known or suspected child sexual exploitation or child sexual abuse directly to CEOP. This is offered as a convenient and potentially less intimidating method of reporting these sensitive types of crime, alternative to face-to-face and telephone reporting to local police forces.
The NCA’s CEOP Command is here to help children and young people. We are here to help if you are a young person and you or your friend (up to age 18) has been forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity with anyone online, or in the real world. We also have advice and links to support for other online problems young people might face, such as cyberbullying and hacking. Visit our Safety Centre for advice and to report directly to CEOP, by clicking on the Click CEOP button.
The CEOP Safety Centre
The Click CEOP button provides a gateway to the CEOP Safety Centre, an area of the CEOP website offering:
- advice on a range of online safety issues, such as hacking and cyberbullying;
- signposting to NCA-CEOP partners offering help and support on issues outside of CEOP’s remit, such as ChildLine and BeatBullying;
- reporting of suspected or known child sex offender activity directly to CEOP for investigation.
Reporting to CEOP
CEOP operates a 24/7 service for the receipt of reports.
Reports can be made to CEOP by a young person or on their behalf by a parent/carer or professional working with these groups. Children under 11 years of age are encouraged to tell an adult that they trust about what has happened and to ask for their help in reporting this either to CEOP or local police.
All reports to CEOP are treated as reports of crime and as such anonymous reports cannot be accepted.
Reporting To School
Almost all cyberbullying incidents take place outside of school hours. We explain to students that their online conduct outside hours still needs to meet the high standards of behaviour we would expect in school and all reports of cyberbullying will be investigated and taken seriously.
If you need to report an incident, please contact your child’s form tutor in the first instance. We are here to support you and we will do whatever we can to help and keep students safe. If the incident occurs outside of our jurisdiction, it may be necessary for us to advise you to call the police non-emergency number (101).
The following documents relating to online safety may be useful for parents and carers. Many of these publications are available in other languages. Please contact the school if you would like a copy sent to you in different language and we will try to assist.