The Use of the Internet

‘ICT expands horizons by shrinking worlds’
(David Brown, Chairman of Motorola Ltd from National Curriculum 2000)

St Edmund Campion School encourages the pupils to use the information resources available on the Internet and teaches the skills to analyse and evaluate such resources. The ability to undertake electronic research is a fundamental skill required in today’s highly technological society.

The Policy for the use of the Internet is part of the ICT Policy and is built upon the Kent NGfL Policy and Government guidance.

The purpose of the Internet use in school is to raise educational standards, to promote pupil achievement, to support professional work of staff and enhance the school’s management information and business administration systems. Internet access is an entitlement for students who show a responsible and mature approach to its use. All users of the Internet within the school must follow the School’s ‘Rules for Responsible Computer Use‘ which will be displayed where children have access to the internet.

Benefits of the Internet
The benefits of using the Internet in education include;

  • Access to the world-wide educational resources including museums and art galleries;
  • Inclusion in government initiatives;
  • Access to experts in many fields for both pupils and staff;
  • Staff professional development through access to national developments, educational materials and good curriculum practice;
  • Opportunities for learners to access revision and extension to classroom teaching
  • Communication with support services, professional associations and colleagues;
  • Exchange of curriculum and administration information data with LEA and DCSF
  • Cultural, vocational, social and leisure use, both at school and at home;
  • Monitoring systems for ongoing assessment of pupils through to end of KS2.

Use of the internet to enhance learning
The school uses a filtered Internet service provided by SurfProtect and maintained by the ICT Technician. Pupils will be taught what Internet use is acceptable and what is not, and given clear objectives for Internet use. Access will be planned to enrich and extend learning activities and reviewed to reflect the curriculum requirements and age of the pupils. Pupils will be educated in the effective use of the internet in research, including the skills of knowledge, location, retrieval and evaluation.

How will pupils learn to evaluate Internet content?
Information received via the Internet or e-mails requires good handling information skills. It may be difficult for pupils to determine origin and accuracy of information since contextual clues present within books or TV may be missing or difficult to read.

Ideally, inappropriate material should not be visible to pupils using the web but this cannot be guaranteed despite the best attempts at filtering. Pupils must be taught what to do if they experience any material that they find distasteful, uncomfortable or threatening. More often pupils will need to be taught the skills to select information that is relevant to their needs, including research techniques, such as the use of search engines and the ability to question the validity and origins of information. Respect for copyright and intellectual property rights and the correct use of published material, must be taught.

In St Edmund Campion School pupils will learn to evaluate the internet content by;

  • Reporting the content of any unsuitable sites to the teacher who will record the URL (address) and report this to  the ICT Subject leader and the ICT Technician who will take appropriate action;
  • Pupils should be taught to be critically aware of the material they read and show how to validate information before accepting its accuracy;
  • Pupils will be taught to acknowledge the source of information and to respect copyright when using internet material in their work.

Staff should ensure that the use of internet derived materials used within lessons also complies with copyright law.

The use of e-mail
Each child and member of staff will been allocated an e-mail address using the Google g-Mail system. The government encourages the use of e-mail as an essential means of communication for both staff and pupils. However, the use of e-mail has implications for school use and appropriate safety measures have been put in place by the use of filtering and the use of an approved e-mail provider.

In the school context, pupils’ e-mails are not to be considered private and the school reserves the right to monitor them.

Email addresses provided will send and receive content only from within the school network, and will be restricted from external access to provide a safer communication environment. The use of personal e-mail identities for projects will be carefully restricted and the teacher will be the first point of contact.

The school recognises that e-mail use is often of a social nature and seen as a useful experience as a communications tool. Whilst e-mailing is introduced as a strand within the ICT curriculum within the Lower Juniors it is revised in the Upper Juniors as a preparation for secondary education.

Pupils must:

  • only use the allocated e-mail accounts  on the school system;
  • only use the allocated e-mail account for appropriate communication;
  • immediately tell a teacher if they receive offensive e-mail;
  • not reveal details of themselves or others in e-mail communication such as address or telephone number or  arrange to meet anyone;

Whole class or group e-mail should be used for projects. These can be created by the ICT Co-ordinator upon request.

School Web Site
The school has a web site that reflects the school’s ethos and includes the school address, e-mail address and telephone number. Staff or pupils’ home information will not be published.

As a school we will ensure:

  • Pupils’ full names will not be used  anywhere on the Web site, particularly in association with any  photographs.
  • Written permission from parents or carers will be obtained before photographs of pupils are published on the school  Web site.
  • The head teacher and deputy head will  take editorial responsibility and ensure the content is accurate and  appropriate.

Chat
Chat is a popular conferencing application offering spontaneous exchange between groups of users via the internet.  Chat is briefly introduced as part of the Lower Junior ICT e-mail strand, but is covered more widely in the Upper Juniors as part of their exploration of the wider facilities of online communication.  Use of chat within school is only used where appropriate to the curriculum and monitored by the teacher. Children will not be permitted to access unregulated or public chat rooms.

Emerging Internet Applications
Many emerging communications’ technologies offer the potential to develop new teaching and learning tools. Internet access and multimedia present opportunities which need to be evaluated to assess risk, establish benefits and develop good practice.  Emerging technologies will be examined for educational benefit and a risk assessment will be carried out before use in school is allowed.

Authorisation of Internet Access
Parental permission for children to access the internet is assumed. Those children whose parents have expressed a desire to keep their child from using the internet, or those who have been blocked due to inappropriate use, will have their accounts edited to prevent access.

  • At Key Stage 1 access to the internet will be by adult demonstration with occasional, directly supervised access,  to specific approved on-line materials.
  • At Key Stage 2 independent internet access will be included in many areas of the curriculum. Usually children work as part of a pair or as a group. Access by special arrangement may be available at lunchtime for the purposes of project work, especially for those children who do not have access to the internet at home.
  • Staff  have access to the internet in class, the ICT suite and on separate computers available within the staff room and the library. All staff are made aware that the use of the internet should  be for educational purposes.

Assessment of Risks
As the quality and breadth of the information available through the internet continues to grow, it is not possible to guard against every undesirable situation. Parents, carers and staff should be aware that:

  • In common with other media such as magazines, books and video, some material available via the Internet is unsuitable for pupils. The school will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that users access only appropriate material. However, due to the  scale of the internet it is not possible to guarantee that unsuitable material will never appear on a school computer. The school cannot accept any liability for the material accessed or the consequences of such  access.
  • The use of computer systems without permission or for inappropriate purposes could constitute a criminal offence under the computer Misuse Act 1990.
  • Methods to identify, assess and minimise risks will be reviewed regularly.
  • The head teacher will ensure that the Internet Policy is implemented and compliance with the policy monitored.

The Management of Filtering
The school maintains a content filtering system in partnership with our ISP to ensure that systems to protect pupils are reviewed and improved. The children are aware of what to expect should the Firewall be implemented. This comprises a clear message on screen to indicate that access has been restricted.

How the policy should be introduced to pupil
Many of the pupils are already familiar with Internet use and the policy will be introduced to the pupils through their regular ICT lessons. In addition:

  • Rules for Responsible use of the Internet will be posted in all classrooms, library and in the ICT Suite;
  • Pupils will be informed that Internet use will be monitored;
  • Instruction in responsible and safe internet use will precede the introduction of the medium in KS1 and in all  lessons where the internet is used, children will be reminded of their  responsibility;
  • A module on responsible Internet use will be included in the PHSE programme covering both school and home use.

How Staff will be consulted
All staff must understand that Internet misuse may result in dismissal. If staff  have any doubts as to the legitimacy of their use within school they should discuss this with the ICT Co-ordinator or ICT Technician to avoid any possible misunderstanding.

It is intended that internet use should be included in the induction of new members of staff in order that they may be made aware of appropriate modes of expression for the school environment.

Staff should be made aware that internet traffic can be monitored and traced to the individual user. Discretion and professional conduct is essential. Staff development in the safe and responsible use of the internet will be provided as required.

Maintenance of ICT Security System
Regular review and maintenance is prescribed by the LEA and undertaken by the ICT Technician. The LEA provides SOPHOS antivirus software and each computer automatically updates when logged onto the school network.

Use of portable media such as flash drives will be constantly reviewed.  Whilst staff use is more often seen as a necessity, pupils may not use any such media without express permission of the ICT Co-ordinator, or ICT Technician.

Complaints regarding Internet Use
A minor transgression of the Internet use rules may be dealt with by a class teacher as part of normal class discipline. However, should a more serious event occur:

  • Any complaint must be referred to the head teacher;
  • Pupils and parents will be informed of the complaints procedure;
  • Sanctions available may include;  informing of parents/carers, removal of internet or computer access for a period.

Parental Support
With internet use available in many children’s homes, parents may not be aware of the dangers of allowing unrestricted access to the internet. Parents’ attention should be drawn to the School Internet policy in the school brochure and on the school website. Internet issues will be handled sensitively to inform parents without undue alarm.

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