Maintaining the safety of our students and staff is our key concern at Mill House School. We recognise that online safety is a real challenge in this modern, technological age with the rapid development of the internet and the widespread use of devices such as smartphones.
The school ensures the correct and most up to date security settings and practices are in place and has implemented a comprehensive training and education programme for staff, pupils and parents to promote the personal online safety of every person in our school community.
In addition to discreet lessons during ICT and PSHE, pupils are regularly reminded about the dangers online during assemblies and tutor time and are always fully supervised by a member of staff when using ICT equipment.
E Safety Policy
The school’s E-Safety Policy outlines the procedures that we follow to keep our pupils and staff safe.
Our Network, the Internet and Safeguarding
At Mill House School we understand that the internet can hold dangerous content as well as valuable educational content. We have a number of measures that protect but our staff and pupils. These are outlined below:
The network filtering policy blocks access to all illegal, inappropriate and explicit content, including (but not limited to):
Alcohol & Tobacco
Terrorism & Hate
Person to Person
Webmail & Chat
This solution also has CIPA (The Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant filtering switched on which forces a safe search in Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go etc. In addition to this, our ‘SafeSearch’ is also enforced on search engines which hides explicit content from our pupils and staff. We can also manually specify sites which need to be blocked as we become aware of them.
The software on the laptops is updated automatically, and the filtering is kept up to date by the software vendor, who actively updates domains / sites and adds them to their 35+ content categories and threat categories. This is across the whole Mill House School network, and will also be applied to devices with the DNS Filter software installed, outside of the corporate network.
The school subscribes to Smoothwall, which monitors internet usage and online risks, ensuring that any inappropriate activity within school is tracked, with immediate alerts sent to the headteacher / DSL for their scrutiny.
Staying Safe Online
Knowing how to best support young people to help them stay safe online can be daunting. Many children have smartphones and the use of social platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and WhatsApp has increased significantly throughout Covid-19 with many children being at home. Although social platforms has its benefits, they also come with some hidden dangers.
The site https://nationalonlinesafety.com/ has created infographics to explains some of the risks that might arise from using popular platforms and also provides practical tips on how we might mitigate them.
General advice which you may wish to consider:
- regularly check in with young people – ask about the sites they are accessing and their activities online
- set up parental controls. A guide on how to do this is available here
- encourage screen use in a communal area in the home, rather than in the bedroom
- restrict the amount of time young people have online; ensure they are off their screens at least one-hour before bedtime
- encourage physical activities outdoors.
The resources below, provided by GOV UK, are designed to help parents and carers keep their children safe online:
CBBC offers online games, videos and tutorials to help pupils stay safe
E-Safety guide for students aged 14 years and above
Managing Screen Time aims to equip young people with the tools to self-regulate their own screen time and be critical about how it is impacting their well-being.
NSPCC offers a wide range of advice from setting up parental controls to sexting, online games and video apps designed to help parents/carers understand the risks and keep children safe.
Thinkuknow offers online safety advice
Parent info is a collaboration between Parentzone and the NCA, providing support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations.
Childnet provides a range of practical resources and tips to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
Internet Matter features age-specific online safety checklists and guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices, along with free e-safety leaflets and resource.
Lets Talk About It offers advice for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation.
UK Safer Internet Centre provides online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.