Manor High School is a convertor Academy with approximately 900 students aged between 10 and 14 (KS2 and KS3). Assistant Head Teacher, Ian Wilson, shares the story of how eSafe’s monitoring system quickly became a valuable tool in the school’s e-safety provision.
“Although there was little inappropriate use of the system, there was a small but constant number of referrals to pastoral staff from students concerned about name calling and some bullying using various social networks along with school provision. The Assistant Head teachers responsible for e-safety and Pupil Welfare (both of whom are DSP and CEOP Level 2 trained) became aware of the potential of the eSafe system to provide timely data relating to actual student behaviour.
“An initial trial of eSafe, over a term, showed that although the extent of system misuse was minor, a small number of students were using the system inappropriately. The most common finding was abusive language in e-mails. On the basis of the trial we committed to the on-going use of eSafe Education; it was installed, with off-site monitoring and tiered response reporting.
A re-emphasis on the proper use of ICT
“Initially, weekly reports showed several dozen youngsters using ICT inappropriately. Some was relatively trivial, such as bad language in e-mails, nonetheless pastoral staff and class teachers were alerted by the eSafe system and able take suitable steps. In a minority of cases students used ICT to harass or bully their peers and immediate action was possible, in the most serious cases eSafe’s response is extremely rapid.
“Awareness of the extent of the misuse led to a re-emphasis on proper use of ICT by students and greater vigilance by staff. Students rapidly became aware that activity was actively monitored, and quickly modified their behaviour such that into the second month of use the number of reports had reduced to a handful.
The value of eSafe as a tool to assist with safeguarding rapidly became apparent
“A youngster already known to the safeguarding team attempted to investigate a suicide web site. In this case action was possible within an hour or so. In another case a student previously unknown to the safeguarding team made a disclosure in a piece of typed work that may never otherwise have been seen by an adult; support was swiftly put in place and a vulnerable child protected.
“The extent of the information generated by eSafe provides an insight into off-task behaviour using ICT which is valuable for class teachers as the hard data enables them to challenge students and call them to account for mis-spent time.
My advice to other schools is simple: don’t be complacent.
“Even in a school such as ours where e-safety is a high priority, staff are properly trained and students well informed, it is likely that there is activity on your network that staff are not aware of. We were unconvinced of the need of monitoring but our trial and subsequent adoption has convinced us of the value of it.
eSafe should be seen as part of the safeguarding provision in a school not as part of the ICT infrastructure.
“The insight that can be gained into young people’s needs and behaviour is extremely valuable.”