What a pleasure it was to spend the day at Lakefield C of E Primary School yesterday to conduct an Online Safety Mark assessment. Not only did I receive a warm welcome on arrival, but staff, pupils, parents/carers and governors were very open and friendly throughout my time there. The school was extremely spacious and airy (a huge asset on such a hot day!), well resourced, set in wonderful surroundings and led by a very competent, and tech-savvy, Head Teacher. These assessments are always very intense as there is so much to cover in such a short space of time to enable an accurate judgement to be made. However, despite having to rejig our agenda somewhat to accommodate early parent/carer interviewees and some staff absence, everything flowed smoothly, largely thanks to the Online Safety Leader’s thorough preparation and efficiency both before and on the day.
The Online Safety Leader and the Head Teacher have worked hard over the past year or so to promote online safety, both inside and outside of school, as well as ensure sufficient investment in hardware and software to support teaching and learning. They have been keen to involve parents/carers and members of the wider community and encouraged pupils to play a key role in such initiatives too. The school used the 360 degree safe self-review tool to assess its current policy and practice regarding online safety and felt that they had exceeded the benchmark in all 28 aspects. The purpose of my visit was really to check that they were doing all that had been noted down on paper, celebrate the school’s strengths and help them identify areas for development over the next three years. In order to fulfill my obligations, it was important to interview various stakeholders, as well as engage in some lengthy discussion with the Head Teacher/Senior Leadership Team and Online Safety Leader.
Lakefield C of E Primary School is part of The Diocese of Gloucester Academy Trust (DGAT), a body of 15 primary schools, which is continuing to grow. It would be great if some of the best practice in online safety that I witnessed at the school could be shared across the Trust. Suggested areas for development include initiating a multi-schools event to tie in with Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019, alongside looking at procurement in relation to technological support, hardware and software.
After firing many questions at the Head Teacher, Online Safety Leader, teaching and support staff, parents/carers, governors and pupils, in addition to perusing a clearly structured and annotated folder of supporting evidence, I was able to inform the school that their application had been successful; all the necessary standards had, undoubtedly, been reached and a certificate was awarded to the Head Teacher and Online Safety Leader. Congratulations!
I look forward to hearing about, and even taking part, in future events.