Staying SafePosted on: 14/01/2022
We pride ourselves at St. Helen’s College on ensuring that your children are well looked after and remain safe in our care. However, we also have the responsibility, along with you as parents, to ensure that the children understand how to stay safe when they are not under our supervision and that we are preparing them for life.
The simple definition of safety is being ‘free from harm or risk: unhurt or secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss.’
There are many aspects of our curriculum which build upon this and our school behaviour mantra ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’ helps to embed the principle of safety. We ‘teach’ road safety, first aid and water safety (as part of the swimming programme). We encourage a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and physical exercise and our PSHCE curriculum promotes well-being and good mental health, incorporating aspects such as stranger danger, inappropriate touching, mindfulness, positive psychology and peer support.
As you are all aware, online safety is an increasingly important aspect of safety, in which it is crucial that home and school are supporting children from a very young age. As part of our ‘Pre-Parenting Programme’ for preschoolers we have focussed one of our Teddy Talks on digital awareness - it can be viewed here.
On Tuesday this week, we welcomed Paul Hay back to St. Helen’s College. Paul is an Internet Safety Consultant (Paul’s website can be viewed here) and he has trained with CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) as a training ambassador. This was Paul’s fifth visit to St. Helen’s College and pupils, staff and parents yet again benefitted from his expertise. Paul’s visit is part of our ongoing programme to help keep children safe online. Although we have software to control internet access at school and children work under supervision, it is through education that we can keep the children safe wherever they are. Rather like road safety, we need to hold children's hands when they are young but teach them how to be safe when we are not there. We discuss safety and well-being in PSHCE and computing lessons every year and in Year 5 the children build their own websites on the subject. Topics covered include stranger danger and keeping information secret but of equal importance is the children’s own behaviour online and ensuring they are as kind and honest online as they are in the playground.
Reception and Year 1
Paul shared the story of ‘Smartie the Penguin’ to capture the children’s attention and taught them a short snappy song about what to do if they came across something that troubled them on the internet - you may wish to view the story here.
The words of the song are a simple ditty for pupils and parents to share:
“Before you tap and click….
You need to stop and think…
And TELL someone!”
Years 2, 3 & 4
In advance of Paul’s visit the class teachers had shared a video with the pupils on ‘Playing Games’ - the video can be viewed here.
The key tips from Paul’s session following discussions with the children were:
1. People online may be not be who they say they are.
2. Be nice to people online.
3. Do not share private information.
4. If you are worried - tell an adult.
Years 5 & 6
The pupils took part in a ‘Private Information Exercise 2021’ which highlighted to the pupils the importance of not sharing personal information and revisited them being aware of ‘strangers’ online and the importance of speaking to adults if they feel uncomfortable about any activity they have online.
All our teaching staff also participated in a session after school with Paul and it was reassuring to know that all that we do as part of our normal routines was ratified by him in his talk to us. Paul was pleased that staff and parents have access to the National Online Safety website with training and weekly updates. If you have not already registered with NOS (National Online Safety) please do so here and you will be able to self register as part of the St. Helen’s College membership. I attach at the end of this blog the jpeg of one of December’s weekly updates on age-appropriate content. Each week there are very useful updates - this week’s happens to be all about ‘Fortnite’.
It was great to see so many of our parents attending the evening session with Paul via Zoom and we are grateful for your continued support in keeping your children safe online. At school our systems are very secure and the children are not able to access content which is not suitable. It is equally important that parents are doing their best to ensure that your children’s online activities are as safe as possible. Paul’s website (here) has lots of superb links and help and he is more than happy for parents to email him with any questions which they may have. Please feel free to email him on email@example.com.
For those of you who were unable to attend the parent session we have a recording of the talk which may be accessed here.
As always it is gratifying to know that home and school are all striving to do our best to keep the pupils of St. Helen’s College safe but also to prepare them for this digital world which is ever changing but such an exciting world to be part of!