Academy Praised for Online Safety

An inspirational Academy in Stoke has been praised for keeping students safe online after being one of only a handful of regional schools to be awarded the 360 E-safety Mark.

The South West Grid for Learning met students, staff, parents and governors and it was judged that The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent provides a high level of protection for users of new technologies both inside and outside of the Academy.

To achieve the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark, schools have to reach a series of benchmark levels when they complete the online self-review. The evidence is then verified by a visit from experienced assessors.

Emma Williams, Online Safety Officer, said “I’m so proud of everyone, it’s a real collective effort. The staff have been really supportive whilst we’ve brought in lots of new policies and controls, the students have been fantastic and have worked hard to protect themselves and be responsible for each other.”

Emma, who also teaches Business Studies at the Academy, has been running parent and student drop-in sessions to help with any online questions or concerns and to support parents to better help protect young adults. It comes after a very successful E-safety Week which including Safer Internet Day in February where students learnt about the risks online and how to protect themselves when using computers or mobile phones.

The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent is part of the very successful Co-operative Academies Trust and it is now expected that the other academies in the Trust will look to complete the award and improve E-safety.

What makes the achievement of the E-Safety Mark so remarkable is that the award does not focus on the individual aspects of e-safety such as technological solutions, but instead it expects E-safety to be integrated into school policy and the curriculum, challenging teachers and leaders to think about their provision and its continual evolution.

Nick Lowry, the Academy’s Principal said “E-Safety is growing priority for all stakeholders involved with the Academy.  It is important that we do as much as we can to safeguard our young people and the E-Safety Mark is an important validation of the cutting edge work we are doing around E-Safety’.

Ron Richards, Lead Assessor for the E-Safety Mark congratulated the academy on its success and said “It is re-assuring to know that so much thought and effort had gone into improving the on-line safety of the staff and young people, by addressing important on-going safeguarding issues. I feel that I must give particular mention to Emma Williams for her stunning leadership and commitment to ensuring students and staff are kept safe while online.”

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