School Internet

1)    What are the intentions of this policy?
To ensure that pupils and staff can use the Internet safely and responsibly as an integral part of all lessons in all areas of the curriculum.
 
2)    Who was involved?
This policy has been contributed to and agreed by the ICT leader, Senior Management Team and entire teaching staff.
 
3)    Why is Internet access so important?
The government, local authorities and schools are encouraging the use of the internet to promote and extend learning in a wide range of areas. Exploiting the online world is now a key means of extending and personalising the educational experience of all learners.
 
4)    How does the Internet benefit education?

  • The Government, through the NGFL project as set targets for networked Internet access in schools based upon the following benefits.
  • Educational and cultural exchanges between pupils worldwide;
  • Instant access to world-wide educational resources including museum;
  • art galleries, databases and on-line learning activities;
  • Access to experts in many fields for pupils and staff;
  • Exchange of curriculum and administration data with the LEA and DFES;
  • Equality of opportunity by providing access for all;
  • Staff professional development through access to national developments, educational materials and good curriculum practice;
  • Rapid communication with support services, professional associations and colleagues;
  • Inclusion in government initiatives such as National Grid for Learning (NGRL) and the Virtual Teacher Centre (VTC).

5)    How will Internet use enhance learning?
An important part of using the Internet to enhance learning is locating the quality content through the vast mass of information and websites that are available. Both staff and pupils will need to develop skills and techniques for locating relevant data. 
Internet use will be based upon the following principles:

  • Internet use will be planned to enrich and extend learning activities in school and be based upon specific learning intentions;
  • Pupils will be taught how to effectively search for, locate, evaluate and use information and data from the Internet.
  • Staff will guide pupils straight to specific websites via links previously let up on the school intranet, through recommended search engines (e.g. Yahooligans, Picsearch, Ask Jeeves) and also STARZ portal.
  • School will seek to provide ‘beyond the classroom’ learning through a Computer Club targeted at children who may have limited Internet access at home.
  • School will be aware and promote opportunities for parents to take advantage of Government schemes such as ‘Free Laptops for Parents’.

6)    How will pupils evaluate Internet content?
It should not be assumed that just because text or images are shown on the Internet that they are true of unbiased. One important aspect of children’s Internet use will be to consider and critically evaluate the information that they see.

  • Pupils will be taught to be aware of the validity of information on the Internet and possible ways to check it’s accuracy.
  • Staff and pupils will be expected to report sites (and their URL) that they deem unsuitable, racist, sexist, pornographic or potentially offensive, to the ICT technician and/or ICT leader who will then follow appropriate procedures to get those sites blocked.
  • Staff and pupils will show an awareness of copyright law when using material form the Internet.

7)    How will e-mail be managed?
The opportunities for global communication are tremendous but there is also a need to exercise caution when choosing systems and opportunities for Internet usage. The school uses STARZ accounts to provide all children with an online learning platform and access to e-mail. The STARZ system is hosted by the Local Authority and provides a safe but ‘real’ e-mail forum, in which children can send and receive e-mails both in and out of school, with specific membership controlled by the teacher/ICT leader. The e-mail monitor account allows the ICT technician/leader to monitor usage and contend and provides evidence trail if inappropriate mails are being sent. E-mails are monitored at least every half-term. Offensive messages are not deleted but may be used to detect the sender. Access to e-mail may be removed in specific cases.
 
8)    How will the school website content be managed?
The most serious risk to children using the Internet involves the possibility of someone being hurt, exploited or abused as a result of personal information being disclosed online. Pictures names, addresses, ages or information about a child’s likes or dislikes can be used to trace, contact and meet a pupil with the intention of causing harm. Information about the school and children’ work is published by the ICT leader/technician and relevant trained staff onto the school website:
http://www.bottisham.cambs.sch.uk/

When publishing onto the website the following guidelines will be strictly adhered to:

  • On no account should either first names or surnames be attached to photos of children on websites. Care must be exercised to ensure that the filename of a photograph (e.g. janesmith.jpg) does not inadvertently identify a child.
  • School websites should not include close-up pictures of children. All photographs of children should be general. Photos should be taken in such a way as to ensure that the individual identity of a child is protected) e.g. from an angle, in profile, from a distance). If a website includes a child’s photo, it could be downloaded from the web and edited in an unpleasant or embarrassing way.
  • Before any pictures or examples of pupils’ work are published on a website, written permission from parents or carers must be obtained. Pupil permission should also be sought as appropriate to age. Effort must be made to ensure that they understand the implications before giving permission. This will be done with a generic permission letter at the start of their child’s time at Bottisham Community Primary School. An up to date record will be kept in the School Office.

9)    Chat rooms, newsgroups and bulletin boards.
The Internet provides many opportunities for children and staff to voice their opinion, leave messages on various subjects and contribute to ongoing discussions. Chat rooms also allow instantaneous chat with other people all around the globe. The regulation and identity of people using these methods is virtually impossible to moderate so there is a high potential for children to be exposed to unsuitable material or enter into undesirable conversations.

  • In the past the use of chat rooms has been seen as home-leisure pursuits through social networking sites such as Facebook/Bebo. However, the role of chat rooms in school will change using systems such as STARZ or Digitalbrain which allows teachers to set up more secure chat sessions where they can control who is taking part and when they occur.
  • Personal safety programmes used in schools should explore with pupils the potential dangers of using chat rooms so that children understand how they can protect themselves.

10) How will Internet access be authorised?

  • Pupils and parents will be required to sign a consent letter giving permission for the child to use the Internet in school
  • Parents will also be required to read and sign access to Learning Platform (STARZ).
  • Pupils will be required to read and agree to comply with the ‘School Rules for Internet and Computer Use’.
  • The school will keep a record of any pupils not authorised to use the Internet.

 
11) How will Internet filtering be managed?

  • The school’s Internet access is filtered to block unsuitable websites by the Cambridgeshire County Councils ICT Services.
  • Reported sites will be suggested by the ICT leader/technician to the County ICT Services.
  • Staff who believe that an inappropriate item has passed through the filter should report it to the Schools ICT helpline, by telephone if the matter is urgent (0845 0450973). Non-urgent queries can be sent to ict.helpline@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. When Protex blocks webpages and information page is displayed, and this includes a teacher’s button enabling a comment or a request for unblocking to be submitted. E2BN also provide an online form for requesting blocking or unblocking of sites at: http://protex.e2bn.org/listrequest/
  • Google is a popular and effective search engine and can be useful for restrict searches to UK Sites of for finding images. The Protex service will allow schools to use Google more confidently. It will enforce the Very Safe Search option, and in Google image searches it will prevent the display of thumbnail images from blocked sites.
  • Pupils should be taught to check with their teacher before providing any personal information that may be requested by a specific website. They should understand that they must only supply minimal untraceable details, such as a first name, to an enquiring website and must never divulge anyone else’s personal information.
  • In common with other media such as magazines, books and video, some material available via the Internet is unsuitable for pupils. The school will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that users access only appropriate material. However, due to the international scale and linked nature of Internet content, it is not possible to guarantee that unsuitable material will never appear on a school computer. The school cannot accept liability for the material accessed, or any consequences of Internet access.
  • It is crucial for staff to understand that a filter can reduce but not eliminate the risk of exposure to inappropriate material on the worldwide web. Teachers should be aware of appropriate strategies for supervision, e.g. by suitable positioning of computer screens.

12) How will the policy be introduced to pupils?
Many pupils are already aware of and regularly use the Internet at home. Their usage of it may differ from how they will be expected to use the Internet in school.

  • Pupils will read the School Rules for Internet and Computer Use’
  • These rules will be posted in each classroom, and other access points (corridor, group room, library)

13) How will staff be made aware?
It is important that all staff feel confident in using the Internet and understand the need to guide its usage. The School Internet Policy will only be effective if all staff, including parents who regularly assist in class, subscribe to its values and methods.
 
14) How will the ICT system be maintained and secured?

  • Each computer will be set to automatically clear the ‘History’ of the web browser every 5 days, so no previous websites will be accessible in this way.
  • Temporary Internet files will reveal sites visited and will be checked regularly by ICT technician for evidence of unsuitable use.
  • Virus protection will be installed and updated regularly.
  • Pupils will not bring in and use their own memory sticks, CDs or DVD.
  • Removable media (memory sticks) should only be used by staff and never used to transport sensitive data or to introduce software to school unless it has been previously checked by ICT leader/technician.
  • Memory sticks which are used by staff to transfer data between home and school should be checked termly for viruses by ICT technician.

15) How will complaints regarding Internet use be handled?

  • Parents and Staff need to be aware of how to report incidents involving Internet misuse etc and prompt action will be required. Facts of the incident will be established and then the most appropriate course of action taken.
  • If the incident involves the deliberate breaking of the Rules for Use then it can be dealt with by the classroom teacher, as with any other code of conduct.
  • Other more serious incidents will be dealt with by the Head teacher in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy.
  • Complaints of a child protection nature must be dealt with in accordance with the LEA child protection procedures.

 

W Haynes
March 2010