Internet Access Policy
This policy outlines our purpose in providing e-mail facilities and access to the internet at Westmorland and explains how school is seeking to avoid the potential problems that unrestricted internet access could give rise to.
Internet access in school
Providing access to the internet in school will raise educational standards and support the professional work of staff.
Teachers and pupils will have access to web sites world-wide (including museums and art galleries) offering educational resources, news and current events. There will be opportunities for discussion with experts in many fields and to communicate and exchange information with students and others world-wide.
In addition, staff will have the opportunity to access educational materials and good curriculum practice, to communicate with the advisory and support services, professional associations and colleagues; exchange curriculum and administration data with the LEA and DfEE; receive up-to-date information and participate in government initiatives such as NGfL and the Virtual Teacher Centre.
Staff, including supply staff, will not be expected to take charge of an internet activity without training. Staff should be given opportunities to discuss the issues and develop good teaching strategies. All staff (including teachers, supply staff and classroom assistants) and any other adults involved in supervising children accessing the internet, will be provided with the School Internet Access Policy, and will have its importance explained to them.
Ensuring internet access is appropriate and safe
The internet is a relatively new communications medium and is freely available to any person wishing to send e-mail or publish a web site. In common with other media such as magazines, books and video, some material available on the internet is unsuitable for pupils. Pupils in school are unlikely to see inappropriate content in books due to selection by publisher and teacher and the school will take every practical measure to ensure that children do not encounter upsetting, offensive or otherwise inappropriate material on the internet. The following key measures have been adopted to help ensure that our pupils are not exposed to unsuitable material:
It is the experience of other schools that the above measures have been highly effective. However, due to the international scale and linked nature of information available via the internet, it is not possible to guarantee that particular types of material will never appear on a computer screen. Neither the school nor Stockport MBC can accept liability for the material accessed, or any consequences thereof.
A most important element of our Rules of Responsible Internet Use is that pupils will be taught to tell a teacher immediately if they encounter any material that makes them feel uncomfortable.
If there is an incident in which a pupil is exposed to offensive or upsetting material the school will wish to respond to the situation quickly and on a number of levels. Responsibility for handing incidents involving children will be taken by the IT Co-ordinator in consultation with the Head Teacher and the pupil's class teacher. All the teaching staff will be made aware of the incident if appropriate.
If one or more pupils discover (view) inappropriate material our first priority will be to give them appropriate support. The pupil's parents/carers will be informed and given an explanation of the course of action the school has taken. The school aims to work with parents/carers and pupils to resolve any issue;
Pupils are expected to play their part in reducing the risk of viewing inappropriate material by obeying the Rules of Responsible Internet Use which have been designed to help protect them from exposure to internet sites carrying offensive material. If pupils abuse the privileges of access to the internet or use of e-mail facilities by failing to follow the rules they have been taught or failing to follow the agreed search plan when given the privilege of undertaking their own internet search, then sanctions consistent with our School Behaviour Policy will be applied. This may involve informing the parents/carers. Teachers may also consider whether access to the internet may be denied for a period.
Maintaining the security of the school ICT network
We are aware that connection to the internet significantly increases the risk that a computer or a computer network may be infected by a virus or accessed by unauthorised persons.
The IT co-ordinator will up-date virus protection regularly, will keep up-to-date with IT news developments and work with the LEA and Internet Service Provider to ensure system security strategies to protect the integrity of the network are reviewed regularly and improved as and when necessary.
Using the internet to enhance learning
Pupils will learn how to use a web browser. Older pupils will be taught to use suitable web search engines. Staff and pupils will use the internet to find and evaluate information. Access to the internet is a planned part of the curriculum that will enrich and extend learning activities.
As in other areas of their work, we recognise that pupils learn most effectively when they are given clear objectives for internet use.
Different ways of accessing information from the internet will be used depending upon the nature of the material being accessed and the age of the pupils:
Using information from the internet
We believe that, in order to use information from the internet effectively, it is important for pupils to develop an understanding of the nature of the internet and the information available on it. In particular, they should know that, unlike the school library for example, most of the information on the internet is intended for an adult audience, much of the information on the internet is not properly audited/edited and most of it is copyright.
Pupils will be taught to expect a wider range of content, both in level and in audience, than is found in the school library or on TV;
Pupils will learn how to use an e-mail application and be taught e-mail conventions. Staff and pupils will use e-mail to communicate with others, to request information and to share information.
It is important that communications with persons and organisations are properly managed to ensure appropriate educational use and that the good name of the school is maintained. Therefore:
pupils will only be allowed to use e-mail once they have been taught the Rules of Responsible Internet Use and the reasons for these rules.
teachers will endeavour to ensure that these rules remain uppermost in the children's minds as they monitor children using e-mail;
Westmorland web site
Our school web site will:
School website address:
Internet access and home/school links
Parents will be informed in our school prospectus that pupils are provided with supervised internet access as part of their lessons. We will keep parents in touch with future ICT developments by letter and newsletter.
Internet use in pupils' homes is rapidly increasing and some parents may be grateful for any advice/guidance that school can offer – especially with regard to safe access for children. The IT co-ordinator is willing to offer advice and suggest alternative sources of advice on the understanding that neither he/she, the school nor the LEA can be held responsible for the consequences of such advice.
As noted above, it is not possible to be certain of the originator of an e-mail message, and for this reason the school is unable to accept an e-mail as parental authorisation of a pupil absence.
The school has installed computers with internet access to help our learning. These rules will help keep us safe and help us be fair to others.
Using the computers: