School ICT Policies Thread, website publishing permissions in School Administration; Further to my queries during the summer, I finished a 'website policy' for our small, private school in Spain (ie. ...
Further to my queries during the summer, I finished a 'website policy' for our small, private school in Spain (ie. No LEA guidance to consider). The policy is 14 pages long, and covers everything I can think of to do with the website and email services.
Some of it concerns how we will handle permissions and control of the publication of pupil images and work. During my research it was apparent that some schools/LEAs in the UK seem to have a 'one permission for all' slip which parents sign when the child joins the school, and then they publish whatever they wish (within reason). I'm not happy with that because I'd like pupils to have more control over their work and images.
Other schools seem to follow the other extreme of obtaining written permission for each and every photo/piece of work. For me that appears to be almost unworkable, and I can't envisage teachers submitting material if they had to do that - it would really hamper the development of website content. And as far as I can tell, there is no legislation which states this level of written permission is required.
So I have tried to get a reasonable balance inbetween. Firstly, I chose an 'opt-out' system for the general, overall permission. Parents and pupils can opt-out completely and will never have images or work published on the website (with a couple of small caveats).
Then for the fine-grained permission, the policy states that verbal permission will be obtained by the teacher for each piece of work or image before it is submitted to the website. After publication the pupil/parent then has three months of control over the material (ie. they can change their minds and request that their material is deleted).
After three months I have stated that control is passed to us - they can still request deletion, and usually it will be done, but ultimately we can decide whether to leave it up or not. This is simply to ensure the content stays managable under certain circumstances. Eg. a pupil or teacher leaves the school (or wants to spite us after a 'fall-out'), and demands that all their material spanning several years is removed. My line of thought (based on the advice I got here during the summer), is that if they know the removal policy when giving their permission, it will not contravene any legislation or rights.
I've attached the first draft of the permission letter. I'd love to have any feedback about this whole approach from anyone who is currently publishing pupil's work/images on their school website.
Pity there hasn't been any feedback; I need to give this to the Head tomorrow. It would have been great to have some criticism. Thanks to all those who took the time to look, anyway.
Russel, I could certainly give you a copy of the policy, but I don't think it would do you any good whatsoever, except perhaps give you a few simple ideas. A policy like this to be based around LEA guidance and legislative framework, as well as take into account what is workable for the school and desired by the governing body and parents. I suspect that your school's situation may be very different from mine. Plus, it is untested - I've no idea of its shortcomings or problems.
The other thing is that I'm not the IT tech. I'm responsible for only the web services, which means I can afford to put a lot more detail and effort into managing this one policy. If I had to implement all the IT policies, I would probably make this one much simpler and easier.
Quite a comprehensive letter there, but you might want to include that images may be used for publicity for an indefinite period of time outside of the website (eg prospectus) and is also covered by this policy.
I'm sorry that I didn't have more time to give you feedback.
I appreciate that our situations might be very different, though I am looking for a group of middle school educators who are like me struggling to get there school to take ICt and the huge cultural shift that is coming with it seriously. If you know of anyone like that... I'd appreciate being able to contact them.
Russel, I sent you a PM asking for your email address.
I'll send the policy to you if you still want it.
> ICT and the huge cultural shift that is coming with it seriously.
I think the biggest problem is that the technology is not stable or compatible enough yet. The tech savvy teachers I know *want* to use ICT more in their lessons, but don't because they can't trust that the printer/internet/website/projector/i-board/etc will work. They always need a paper'n'pencil back-up lesson in case the technology fails, which is more preperation for them. The fact is, something is always broken or not working correctly, and the only technology they currently trust is the photocopier (and have you seen the disarray caused when that fails!?).
Preparation time is the next biggest problem. Building the use of technology into a lesson definitely takes much more time than scribbling some notes down for a traditional 'whiteboard and photocopy' lesson.