DfES - Staying Safe

The department for children, schools and families, is consulting on keeping children safe, includes topics like cyber bullying. Deadline 31 October 2007

DfES Staying Safe DfES Staying Safe - Young Person version Consultation PDF

Pertinent Quotes

§2.30, pp18
Internet and mobile phones extend the reach of bullying and offer new opportunities for bullies to harm their victims. ‘Cyberbullying’ is now a feature in the lives of many young people and there is concern that levels of cyberbullying are increasing. Recent research conducted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance identified that 22% of 11-16 year olds had been victims of cyberbullying at least once. Cyberbullying can take place anywhere, and at any time, including in the victim’s own home. An isolated incident of cyberbullying can lead to a child becoming a victim again on multiple occasions – for example a degrading or humiliating photograph taken on a mobile phone can be sent to a number of people.
§3.16, pp29
The new school curriculum in information and communications technology (ICT) for 11-14 year olds includes a new emphasis on internet safety, including protection from cyberbullying. We anticipate that the new curriculum will start in September 2008, so that all children in this age group are taught about the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
§3.26-27, pp32
Revised anti-bullying guidance for schools called Safe to Learn: Embedding Effective Anti-Bullying Work in Schools will be published this year. In addition to the main guidance there will be specialist guidance on how to tackle racist and homophobic bullying, and cyberbullying. Children with special educational needs and disabilities are particularly vulnerable as they do not always have the levels of social confidence and robust friendship bonds that can protect against bullying.
A taskforce on cyberbullying has been established to propose innovative and practical solutions to addressing this problem, and a digital information campaign for children and young people will be launched later this year along with guidance for school staff.
Tackling cyberbullying
Mossley Hollins School in Tameside took a pro-active approach to preventing cyberbullying, starting with an information evening for all parents and carers of 11-14 year olds at the school, where the school’s ICT teacher, a local police officer and a ChildLine representative discussed the issue of cyberbullying, how to prevent it, and how to offer support for young people affected. An interactive cyberbullying event was held for all Year 9 pupils, including an introduction to the problem as well as tips on preventing and reporting it. This event was delivered through drama and role plays and involved police and local experts. After the event, a dedicated pupil-led cyberbullying prevention group was set up to discuss how the school could do more to tackle the issue. This group has now developed its own posters and drama activities, and worked with school leaders to redraft the existing anti-bullying policies to include tackling cyberbullying. National and local press have highlighted the work of the group, which has enabled it to help other schools in the area as well.


I didn't notice anything ORG-related other than cyberbullying. The taskforce mentioned in §3.27 is probably worth a look.

There's more information about this taskforce here; their advice on cyberbullying is here. The advice seems broadly sensible. Monitoring of school IT facilities and blocking software are mentioned. We might want to make the usual noises about those -- blocking tools being, for the most part, imprecise and easy to circumvent. Are they better than nothing?


2007-08-07 - tech.blorge.com - Schoolboards: net dangers over-rated; bring social networks to school
Author: David Cassel
Summary: The National School Boards Association, which represents 95,000 school board members, just released a report declaring fears of the internet are overblown. In fact, after surveying 1,277 students, "the researchers found exactly one student who reported they'd actually met a stranger from the internet without their parents' permission. (They described this as "0.08 percent of all students.") The report reminds educators that schools initially banned internet use before they'd realized how educational it was. Now instead they're urging schools to include social networks in their curriculum!