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:
- our internet access is purchased from Stockport MBC which provides a service designed for pupils including a "firewall" filtering system intended to prevent access to material inappropriate for children;
- children using the internet will normally be working in the classroom, during lesson time and will be supervised by an adult (usually the class teacher) at all times;
- staff will check that the sites pre-selected for pupil use are appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils;
- staff will be particularly vigilant when pupils are undertaking their own search and will check that the children are following the agreed search plan;
- pupils will be taught to use e-mail and the internet responsibly in order to reduce the risk to themselves and others;
- our Rules for Responsible Internet Use will be posted near computer systems.
- the IT co-ordinator will monitor the effectiveness of internet access strategies;
- the IT co-ordinator will ensure that occasional checks are made on files to monitor compliance with the school's Internet Access Policy;
- the headteacher will ensure that the policy is implemented effectively;
- methods to quantify and minimise the risk of pupils being exposed to inappropriate material will be reviewed in consultation with colleagues from other schools and advise from the LEA, our Internet Service Provider and the DfEE.
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;
- If staff or pupils discover unsuitable sites the IT co-ordinator will be informed. The IT co-ordinator will report the URL (address) and content to the Internet Service Provider and the LEA; if it is thought that the material is illegal, after consultation with the ISP and LEA, the site will be referred to the Internet Watch Foundation and the police.
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:
- access to the internet may be by teacher (or sometimes other-adult) demonstration;
- pupils may access teacher-prepared materials, rather than the open internet;
- pupils may be given a suitable web page or a single web site to access;
- pupils may be provided with lists of relevant and suitable web sites which they may access;
- older, more experienced, pupils may be allowed to undertake their own internet search having agreed a search plan with their teacher; pupils will be expected to observe the Rules of Responsible Internet Use and will be informed that checks can and will be made on files held on the system and the sites they access.
- Pupils accessing the internet will be supervised by an adult, normally their teacher, at all times. They will only be allowed to use the internet once the Rules of Responsible Internet Use and the reasons for these rules have been discussed. Teachers will endeavour to ensure that these rules remain uppermost in the children's minds as they monitor the children using the internet.
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;
- teachers will ensure that pupils are aware of the need to validate information whenever possible before accepting it as true, and understand that this is even more important when considering information from the internet (as a non-moderated medium);
- when copying materials from the Web, pupils will be taught to observe copyright;
- pupils will be made aware that the writer of an e-mail or the author of a web page may not be the person claimed.
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;
- pupils may send e-mail as part of planned lessons;
- in-coming e-mail to pupils will not be regarded as private;
- children will have the e-mail messages they compose checked by a member of staff before sending them;
- the forwarding of chain letters will not be permitted;
- pupils will not be permitted to use e-mail at school to arrange to meet someone outside school hours.
Westmorland web site
Our school web site will:
- provide accurate, up-to-date information about our school;
- enable pupils to publish work to a high standard, for a very wide audience including pupils, parents, staff, governors, members of the local community and others;
- celebrate good work;
- provide pupils with the opportunity to publish their work on the internet;
- promote the school.
- In the future it may be used to publish resources for projects or homework.
- All classes may provide work for publication on the school web site. Class teachers will be responsible for ensuring that the content of the pupils' work is accurate and the quality of presentation is maintained. All material must be the author's own work, crediting other work included and stating clearly that author's identity and/or status. The IT co-ordinator is responsible for up-loading pages to the school web site, ensuring that the links work and are up-to-date, and that the site meets the requirements of the site host.
- The point of contact on the web site will be the school address, telephone number and e-mail address. We do not publish pupils’ full names or photographs that identify individuals on our web pages. Home information or individual e-mail identities will not be published. Staff will be identified by their title and surname unless they request otherwise. Permission will be sought from other individuals before they are referred to by name on any pages we publish on our web site.
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.
- Rules for Responsible Internet Use
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:
- I will only access the computer system with the login and password I have been given;
- I will not access other people's files;
- I will not bring in floppy disks or CDs from outside school and try to use them on the school computers.
- Using the internet:
- I will ask permission from a teacher before using the internet;
- I will report any unpleasant material to my teacher immediately because this will help protect other pupils and myself;
- I understand that the school may check my computer files and may monitor the internet sites I visit;
- I will not complete and send forms without permission from my teacher;
- I will not give my full name, my home address or telephone number when completing forms.
- Using e-mail:
- I will ask permission from a teacher before checking the e-mail;
- I will immediately report any unpleasant messages sent to me because this would help protect other pupils and myself;
- I understand that e-mail messages I receive or send may be read by others;
- The messages I send will be polite and responsible;
- I will only e-mail people I know, or my teacher has approved;
- I will only send an e-mail when it has been checked by a teacher;
- I will not give my full name, my home address or telephone number;
- I will not use e-mail to arrange to meet someone outside school hours.