Technology continues to grow at great speed, outstripping our ability as a society to understand and mitigate against these negative impacts. More must be done to protect young people so that they can enjoy social media safely and responsibly.
Nationally most schools have received reports of pupils being regularly exposed to upsetting material and content on social media sites including:
Social media increase issues with body image and self-confidence due to the relentless pressure to compare and share among peer groups, the vulnerability of the young to predators in chat rooms, and the addictive and often graphic violence on games.
Not only are incidents on social media affecting pupil’s mental health, some incidents are also subject to criminal offences that can be mitigated through effective communication with pupils.
One on-going issue is pupils using social media apps such as Snapchat, and Instagram etc., is to share sexualized images of each other.
Note, that any distribution or possession of a naked sexualized picture/video of a Child Under 18 is an indecent image. This is a criminal offence that could lead to a police prosecution.
Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s social media, but schools can also play a role in protecting children and are encouraged to continue awareness to remind pupils and parents of the risks it brings.
One of the most important ways of protecting children is to educate them so they can learn to recognise potential dangers for themselves.
Northumbria Police are encouraging school staff and parents to familiarise themselves with the online safety guide for parents and carers for social media apps and platforms:
Click here to view this website.
Funding to raise the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds
Funding Available to Schools to Raise the Attainment of Children from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber) 5th March 2019
Schools in the North of England can apply for funding from SHINE to help raise the attainment for children from low income homes. The funding is available to try out new ideas to improve teaching and learning in schools and help the best ideas grow to scale.
The funding aims to address the following priorities:
Ready for School: improving the school readiness of children during the reception year, with a priority focus on language and communication skills (age 4-5)
Bridging the Gap: supporting vulnerable children who may not meet Age Related Expectations at primary school to make better academic progress during Key Stage 3 (age 9-14)
Flying High: supporting high attaining students to build on their achievements at primary school and stay on a high attaining trajectory during the first few years at secondary school (age 9-14)
The funding is being made available through the educational charity Shine and funding decisions are made four times a year typically in March, June, September and December.
Any grants to non-school organisations, including to other charities, will need to involve a strong element of co-delivery and/or training for schools, with the aim of the project becoming sustainable without SHINE over time.
On average, it takes 3-6 months between initial contact with the SHINE office to a grants decision being reached.
If you have an idea which you think may meet our funding criteria, please submit your idea via the SHINE website or email firstname.lastname@example.org with a basic outline detailing the following points, in no more than 3-4 paragraphs:
An overview of the project and its aims, specifically related to academic attainment in maths, literacy or science;
How it would meet SHINE’s core priorities;
The number of beneficiaries and schools it would reach; and
The overall project budget and size of request to SHINE.
Applications can be submitted at any time.
More info: https://www.shinetrust.org.uk/what-we-do/
Before you let us know about your idea for al project, please read our Application Guidelines, our FAQs, and take a look at examples of projects which have won funding in previous years, which are attached.
Protecting children from abuse by someone in a position of trust or authority (NSPCC)
NSPCC have published new guidance around protecting children from abuse by someone in a position of trust or authority.
'Position of trust' is a legal term that refers to certain roles and settings where an adult has regular and direct contact with children. Examples of positions of trust include:
youth justice workers
It's against the law for someone in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if that child is over the age of consent (16 or over).
There are many roles which are not legally defined as being positions of trust, such as swimming coaches or faith group leaders. This means it's not currently against the law for people in these roles to have a sexual relationship with a 16– or 17-year-old in their care."
NSPCC are also promoting their 'Close the Loophole' Campaign, which seeks to ensure that 16-17 year olds are protected from being exploited by those in positions of authority - you can read more about this campaign here.
Improving wellbeing for pupils and teachers
FAO: Primary Heads
Following the development of an exciting new CPD partnership with TT Education (providers of extremely high quality CPD for teachers and school leaders), we would like to inform you of another forthcoming CPD opportunity at Milecastle Primary School.
'Improving Wellbeing for Pupils and Teachers' training will take place on Thursday 25th April 2019. Please see the attached flyer for further information. The price for this course is substantially discounted to £120 + vat instead of £265 + vat due to the partnership with our school and is an excellent opportunity for both PSHE Leads and or Senior Leaders.
All booking information is included on the flyer. If you have any further questions about the training, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mrs Suzanne Richardson
Ofsted inspections and school wi-fi access
At the last Primary Heads briefing I mentioned that Ofsted inspectors may need access to the school’s wi-fi in order to carry out the inspection as Electronic Evidence Gathering becomes the norm. All inspections from September should be using this method.
Just to clarify, if you are unable to provide an inspector with a wi-fi password then they will occasionally need to use their mobile phone as a hotspot. In the event of an Ofsted inspection, those heads who do not allow mobile phones in school may have to make an exception to their policy in this case, or ensure that the inspectors’ base is OK for phone use. Nicola has kindly provided Valour's mobile phone policy as an example.
If you have any queries please liaise with your ICT support provider.