Time for an Online Safety Mark assessment in situ … hooray! Restrictions imposed by Covid-19 over the past couple of years have meant that any Online Safety Mark assessments that I have completed have been done so virtually. However, it was great to be ‘back on the road’ again, meeting staff, governors, parents/carers and students and witnessing policy being put into practice in person.
An early start was needed so that I arrived at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, Wiltshire (https://www.hardenhuish.wilts.sch.uk/) for a prompt 9.30 am start. These days are always extremely intense as there are so many people to hold in-depth discussions with and gather as much evidence as possible to facilitate the writing of an accurate report. After being introduced to Lisa Percy, the long-standing Head Teacher of the school, Tim Phillips, Onine Safety Lead and Jo Glossop, Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), we moved into the Gatcombe Room to confirm the purpose and arrangements for the day. Their Network Manager joined us later to review the school’s self-assessment (conducted using 360 degree safe, the online safety self-review tool: https://360safe.org.uk/). Tim had previously identified what he believed to be the school’s strengths and areas for development and one of my tasks was to see if I agreed with these.
I was later joined both virtually and in situ by parents/carers and members of the school’s Governing Body. Both were very complimentary about the school and its approach to online safety, stating that it is very proactive and led by a highly competent team.
I always enjoy the time spent with pupils; they always provide a very clear picture of ‘what things are really like’. Unfortunately, my contact with older students was somewhat limited due to Year 11 and Year 13 being on exam leave and Year 10 and Year 12 completing work experience.
Next up were the support staff, including the Head Teacher’s PA, a Key Stage 4 Pastoral Manager, an administrator and a teaching assistant/Technology Lead.
After a short break, it was time for a variety of teaching staff to be ‘grilled’; it is requested that professionals are chosen from different year groups and subjects to avoid any bias.
Finally, technical staff were in the ‘hot seat’, namely the school’s Network Manager, Deputy Network Manager, and an ICT technician. From my time in teaching, I have learnt to treat such individuals with the upmost respect as they are the ones who rescue you when technology decides to fail at just the wrong moment!
40 minutes ‘quiet time’ was built into the morning, so that I could review the evidence and reflect on the many conversations that I had with individuals. I was then joined by both Jo Glossop and Tim Phillips to provide feedback and congratulate them on attaining an Online Safety Mark once again. All that hard work paid off, Tim!
Many thanks to all at Hardenhuish School for the warm welcome that I received, supply of refreshments to keep me sustained throughout the day and for your forthcoming and insightful contributions to our interesting and lengthy discussions. Enjoy the forthcoming summer break (much deserved) and all the very best for the next academic year.