It is my highest priority to ensure the safety of all the children and staff involved at St Oswald’s School. Our policy with regards to children and mobile phones seeks to minimise the number of such devices in the school. There are various reasons for this, including distraction from learning, but the key reason is a safeguarding one. Most mobiles available now have cameras and internet connectivity. This leaves open the possibility that images could be taken without a child’s consent and then uploaded to the internet. For this reason it is essential that the following policy is adhered to:
No child is allowed to have a mobile phone in their possession during the school day.
A child must only bring a mobile into school if they have written permission to walk home from school and might so need it to ensure their safety
In this instance the child must hand the phone in to the class teacher at the start of the day and collect it at the end of the day.
No child is allowed to take any image or video with a mobile phone at any time whilst on school property.
Any photo or video of a St Oswald’s pupil or staff member, wherever it was taken, uploaded onto any internet site without their permission will be dealt with as a very serious disciplinary matter.
I would emphasise that I am not mentioning this now because it is perceived to be a significant problem at school. I feel this proactive clarification of our position will help us prevent the issues that do occur in other educational establishments.
On a broader note, though we do regularly cover the area of internet safety and sensible behaviour online, it is always useful when parents also promote these ideas with their children. It is very advisable for parents to be aware of and to monitor the online activity of their children to ensure that they are as safe as possible in their engagement with the virtual world.