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e-Safety Thread, Social Media & Schools in School Administration; Not sure where to put this hence here so please move if it needs to. Following on from Educating Yorkshire ...
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    Social Media & Schools

    Not sure where to put this hence here so please move if it needs to.

    Following on from Educating Yorkshire a number of the staff involved have taken to the likes to Twitter and are quite active on here, in most cases this is their personal account.

    They are quite active and following last nights aware there are pictures of staff/students etc what are peoples thoughts on this with staff and students interacting? I know staff will need to be aware of safeguarding etc but you look at most places and this would be a big no no but some how Thornhill pull it off and I think personally are with the modern times engaging with students etc, like to throw this open for a discussion on your thoughts.

    I am a quite a fan of the work done in this school from what I have seen, I just wish when I was at school there was support like there is there but that's a different story, from dealings I have with education the younger staff are more in tune and make things work and I think the likes of social media if used right can be a good way of engaging students and taking away that barrier that exists between some teachers and students.

    Thoughts please...

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    CAM
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    As a general rule of thumb, don't contact students online through personal accounts where the school has no means of auditing it. Official E-Mail fine, an official Twitter account is harder to audit but also fine with caution. Your own personal Twitter/Facebook/E-Mail? Not such a great idea as you could reveal more about yourself then intended and the school cannot easily disprove accusations about inappropriate messages!

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Moved to eSafety forum

    It's more than a general rule of thumb. It should be written into you school AUP that staff should only engage in social networking using school accounts.

    This is to protect the students, but more than anything this is to protect the careers of the staff. If allegations are made and personal accounts are used that are not and cannot be monitored by the school then the staff member concerned is very exposed.

    I am rushing off to BETT, so cannot answer in detail at the moment, but if I forget topick this thread up later then please PM me later and I will come back to it
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 24th January 2014 at 06:54 AM.

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    hardtailstar's Avatar
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    Its a no no,

    They should have all their personal accounts security in a way that nobody can see it unless they add/allow them.

    As they are now 'celebrities' i think this situation is going to be a bit of a catch 22.

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    Definately a no-no, social media interaction between staff and pupils needs to be only between monitored accounts.

    Adults personal accounts should never be used to communicate with pupils, the risk to the adult is too great, both personal and professional.

    The Social Networking Policy from our LEA states that no pupil or ex-pupil under the age of 19 should be contacted of "friended" online by a member of staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete10141748 View Post
    Definately a no-no, social media interaction between staff and pupils needs to be only between monitored accounts.

    Adults personal accounts should never be used to communicate with pupils, the risk to the adult is too great, both personal and professional.

    The Social Networking Policy from our LEA states that no pupil or ex-pupil under the age of 19 should be contacted of "friended" online by a member of staff.
    Thats pretty much what ours says, but we have an extra bit that says "It is not advisable to contact or friend ex pupils over 18 to ensure you maintain maximum professional distance" This is after a member of staff received advances from a sibling, still at the school, of an ex pupil via the ex pupils facebook account following the staff friending the ex pupil.

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    It's in the staff handbook and stated again in the AUP for the ICT facilities.

    Staff are not allowed to contact students directly out side of school. They are not allowed to add them as "Freinds" or "Follow" them. If they need to email them to a personal address (not their school one) then they send the email to the school office office who sends out the email to the Parents and possibly CCing the student but this is rare. This email goes out from the school generic account and not the teacher's email account. So that the replies can also be controlled. All school emails have a disclaimer stating that there is no expectation of privacy and all the mails are monitored.

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    Ours rules are as above Facebook personal Twitter and email, instagram etc a def no.

    School email is fine. We had a big push where suddenly staff wanted twitter accounts so I put forward some ideas for a new policy to include; only departmental accounts, SLT link has full access to the accounts, no following students, treat all tweets as official contact and that they were restricted so the department chooses their followers.

    The last point has now been pulled due to a member of staff moaning - not too happy as I think it needs more thought, but hey Im only the NM

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    We have guidance for schools available here in our "Using social media as an establishment" document and also in our "Template Staff Acceptable Use Policy".

    When carefully considered and managed, social networking can be very a very positive way to engage the wider school community and I work with several schools who manage this well. However if staff (and indeed pupils and families) don't understand the potential risks and have clear boundaries regarding safe usage (and respect them!) then the school and indeed staff could be vulnerable to safeguarding and security concerns e.g. allegations, data breaches etc.

    It's mainly about having a clearly understood aim for use (not just doing it for the sake of doing it or copying another school/member of staff!), risk assessing carefully beforehand (to identify and take action to reduce or remove risk) and then being transparent with your activities (ensuring that there are clear boundaries for use which protect the staff, school and students). Sadly there have been many high profile incidents where staff have used social networking, both personally and professionally in ways which breach professional standards which can bring the school or profession into into disrepute, undermine confidence in professional abilities (both of which are disciplinary offences) and in worse case situations has led to criminal action being taken following child protection or safeguarding concerns.

    Childnet also have some really useful guidance about professional boundaries and reputations (including use of social media) here which might be helpful.
    Last edited by esafety_officer; 27th January 2014 at 02:46 PM.

  10. 2 Thanks to esafety_officer:

    elsiegee40 (27th January 2014), pcstru (28th January 2014)

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    We have depts using Twitter to good effect. We had the "Work Hat", "Play Hat" discussion when it came up and we haven't (*touches..... hmm, MDF*) had any issues. It's most often used as out-of-hours support:

    StudentTweeter> @DeptTwitterAccount "Miss, I'm working on my project and I'm wondering how to do X"
    DeptTwitterAccount> @studentweeter - have you considered foo, bar and widget? Drop into the dept tomorrow if you want to discuss it.

    or resource announcements:

    DeptTwitterAccount: Y11 students, have a look at $site. It's a great example of $thing we're covering at the moment.

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    Thanks for the replies, glad its all of similar response.

    Was just one of those thoughts I had one evening, a little surprised there isn't more replies but all good ones.

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    @MatthewLWith BETT on, many threads have had fewer responses than usual. Once I had seen that my county eSafety Officer had replied, there wasn't much point in adding more... what she doesn't know isn't worth knowing.
    If you need more evidence to throw at your school, let us know
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 28th January 2014 at 07:07 AM.

  14. Thanks to elsiegee40 from:

    esafety_officer (30th January 2014)

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    Ah yes, this sparked much debate elsee on the stand between us!

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    It certainly did, I am trying to remember if we said anything that hasn't been said on here!
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 28th January 2014 at 07:38 AM.

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    I think it was more we fundamentally agree on the need for careful controls to protect staff as much as children, but to augment these to allow continued learning outside the classroom. Basically not to be frightened to use twitter etc with your classes but to ensure there is full transparency and checks in place to protect everyone... well that was my feeling anyway.

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