Lord Blyton Primary School
Social Media Policy
Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Intagram, Tik Toc) is a broad term for any kind of online platform which enables people to directly interact with each other. However some games, for example Minecraft or World of Warcraft and video sharing platforms such as You Tube and Playstations and Xboxes have social media elements to them.
Lord Blyton Primary School recognises the numerous benefits and opportunities which a social media presence offers. Staff, parents/carers and pupils are actively encouraged to find creative ways to use social media. However, there are some risks associated with social media use, especially around the issues of safeguarding, bullying and personal reputation. This policy aims to encourage the safe use of social media by Lord Blyton Primary School, its staff, parents, carers and children.
This policy is subject to the school’s Codes of Conduct and Acceptable Use Agreements.
- Applies to all staff, pupils, parents/carers and to all online communications which directly or indirectly, represent the school.
- Applies to such online communications posted at any time and from anywhere.
- Encourages the safe and responsible use of social media through training and education
- Defines the monitoring of public social media activity pertaining to the school
The school respects privacy and understands that staff/pupils and parent/carers may use social media forums in their private lives. However, personal communications likely to have a negative impact on professional standards and/or the school’s reputation are within the scope of this policy.
Professional communications are those made through official channels, posted on a school account or using the school name. All professional communications are within the scope of this policy.
Personal communications are those made via a personal social media accounts. In all cases, where a personal account is used which associates itself with the school or impacts on the school, it must be made clear that the member of staff is not communicating on behalf of the school with an appropriate disclaimer. Such personal communications are within the scope of this policy.
Personal communications which do not refer to or impact upon the school are outside the scope of this policy.
Digital communications with pupils are also considered. Staff may use social media to communicate with learners via a school social media account for teaching and learning purposes but must consider whether this is appropriate and consider the potential implications.
Roles & Responsibilities
- Facilitating training and guidance on Social Media use.
- Developing and implementing the Social Media policy
- Taking a lead role in investigating any reported incidents.
- Making an initial assessment when an incident is reported and involving appropriate staff and external agencies as required.
- Receive completed applications for Social Media accounts
- Approve account creation
Administrator / Moderator
- Create the account following SLT approval
- Store account details, including passwords securely
- Be involved in monitoring and contributing to the account
- Control the process for managing an account after the lead staff member has left the organisation (closing or transferring)
- Know the contents of and ensure that any use of social media is carried out in line with this and other relevant policies
- Attending appropriate training
- Regularly monitoring, updating and managing content he/she has posted via school accounts
- Adding an appropriate disclaimer to personal accounts when naming the school
Process for creating new accounts
The school community is encouraged to consider if a social media account will help them in their work. When thinking about creating an account we will consider the following points:-
- The aim of the account
- The intended audience
- How the account will be promoted
- Who will run the account)
- Will the account be open or private/closed
School accounts must be monitored regularly and frequently (preferably 7 days a week, including during holidays). Any comments, queries or complaints made through those accounts must be responded to within 24 hours (or on the next working day if received at a weekend) even if the response is only to acknowledge receipt. Regular monitoring and intervention is essential in case a situation arises where bullying or any other inappropriate behaviour arises on a school social media account.
- The school requires that all users using social media adhere to the standard of behaviour as set out in this policy and other relevant policies.
- Digital communications by staff must be professional and respectful at all times and in accordance with this policy. Staff and parents will not use social media to infringe on the rights and privacy of others or make ill-considered comments or judgments about staff. School social media accounts must not be used for personal gain. Staff must ensure that confidentiality is maintained on social media even after they leave the employment of the school.
- Users on school sites must declare who they are in social media posts or accounts. Anonymous posts are discouraged in relation to school activity.
- If a journalist makes contact about posts made using social media staff must follow the school media policy before responding.
- Unacceptable conduct, (e.g. defamatory, discriminatory, offensive, threating, harassing content or a breach of data protection, confidentiality, copyright) will be considered extremely seriously by the school and will be reported as soon as possible to a relevant senior member of staff, and escalated where appropriate.
- The use of social media by staff while at work may be monitored, in line with school policies. The school permits reasonable and appropriate access to private social media sites. However, where excessive use is suspected, and considered to be interfering with relevant duties, disciplinary action may be taken
- The school will take appropriate action in the event of breaches of the social media policy. Where conduct is found to be unacceptable, the school will deal with the matter internally. Where conduct is considered illegal, the school will report the matter to the police and other relevant external agencies, and may take action according to the disciplinary policy for staff and law for parents/carers.
- Users of social media should consider the copyright of the content they are sharing and, where necessary, should seek permission from the copyright holder before sharing.
- Users must ensure that their use of social media does not infringe upon relevant data protection laws, or breach confidentiality.
- When acting on behalf of the school, handle offensive comments swiftly and with sensitivity.
- If a conversation turns and becomes offensive or unacceptable, school users should block, report or delete other users or their comments/posts and should inform the audience exactly why the action was taken
- If you feel that you or someone else is subject to abuse by colleagues through use of a social networking site, then this action must be reported using the agreed school protocols.
The tone of content published on social media should be appropriate to the audience, whilst retaining appropriate levels of professional standards. Key words to consider when composing messages are:
- Friendly (on certain platforms, e.g. Facebook)
Use of images
School use of images can be assumed to be acceptable, providing the following guidelines are strictly adhered to.
- Permission to use any photos or video recordings should be sought in line with the school’s digital and video images policy. If anyone, for any reason, asks not to be filmed or photographed then their wishes should be respected.
- Under no circumstances should staff share or upload student pictures online other than via school owned social media accounts
- Staff should exercise their professional judgement about whether an image is appropriate to share on school social media accounts. Pupils should be appropriately dressed, not be subject to ridicule and must not be on any school list of children whose images must not be published.
- If a member of staff inadvertently takes a compromising picture which could be misconstrued or misused, they must delete it at the next available time.
- Personal communications are those made via a personal social media accounts. In all cases, where a personal account is used which associates itself with the school or impacts on the school, it must be made clear that the member of staff is not communicating on behalf of the school with an appropriate disclaimer. Such personal communications are within the scope of this policy.
- Personal communications which do not refer to or impact upon the school are outside the scope of this policy.
- Where excessive personal use of social media in school is suspected, and considered to be interfering with relevant duties, disciplinary action may be taken
- The school permits reasonable and appropriate access to private social media sites.
- Staff are not permitted to follow or engage with current or prior pupils of the school on any personal social media network account.
- The school’s education programme should enable the pupils to be safe and responsible users of social media.
- Pupils are encouraged to comment or post appropriately about the school. Any offensive or inappropriate comments will be resolved by the use of the school’s Behaviour policy and Anti-Bullying policy.
- The following steps would be taken following any reports or incidents or accusations of cyber- bullying.
1. The Senior Leadership Team is informed.
2. The pupil who has been bullied is interviewed and their comments recorded on the Cpoms system.
3. The pupil or pupils who have displayed bullying behaviours is/are interviewed and comments recorded on the Cpoms system.
4. The parents of the individual who has shown bullying behaviour are contacted and invited to a meeting; a meeting between members of the Senior Leadership Team, pupil/pupils and parents is held; the incidents are outlined and the sanctions are detailed.
5. Individual Behaviour Plans to set targets to improve and monitor behaviour are set up which may involve calling upon the expertise of outside agencies.
6.In persistent circumstances sanctions may include:
exclusion from the school premise at lunchtime
exclusion from the playground at lunchtime
fixed term exclusion
arrangements for parent to supervise pupil to and from school.
7. The parents/carers of the pupil who has been bullied are kept informed throughout the whole process
- If parents/carers have access to a school learning platform where posting or commenting is enabled, parents/carers will be informed about acceptable use.
- The school has an active parent/carer education programme which supports the safe and positive use of social media. This includes information on the website.
- Parents/Carers are encouraged to comment or post appropriately about the school. In the event of any offensive or inappropriate comments being made, the school will ask the parent/carer to remove the post and invite them to discuss the issues in person. If necessary, refer parents to the school’s complaints procedures.
Social Media and Safeguarding
Schools have a dual responsibility when it comes to e-safety: to ensure the school’s online procedures keep children and young people safe, and to teach them about online safety, in and outside of school. At Lord Blyton we foster an open environment in which children and young people are encouraged to ask any questions and participate in an ongoing conversation about the benefits and dangers of the online world.
Children may be exposed to upsetting or inappropriate content online, particularly if the platform you’re using doesn’t have robust privacy and security settings or if you’re not checking posts. This content might be sexually explicit or it might be harmful in other ways, such as radicalisation, bullying, or content that’s upsetting.
Children may be at risk of being groomed if they have an online profile that means they can be contacted privately.
Children’s posts or profile information may expose personal information and put them at risk. For example, they may talk about their home life, feelings, or thoughts they’ve been having. There may be information that makes them identifiable such as locations of events they are taking part in or visual clues in photographs. Perpetrators may use this information to groom, abuse or exploit children.
Perpetrators of abuse may create fake profiles to try to contact children and young people through the platform you’re using, for example an adult posing as a child. They may also create anonymous accounts and engage in cyberbullying or trolling. People known to a child can also perpetrate abuse.
On many platforms, children can be contacted anywhere and at any time through private messaging or notification alerts. This means it’s harder for them to escape from abusive messages or upsetting content that they are tagged in.
Putting measures in place
In school we have measures in place to protect the pupils from coming to any harm on the internet. At home it is important that as parents/carers measures are put in place to protect pupils. The NSPCC gives some really useful tips on how to do this. If you need support with this please ensure you contact the school. Parents/Carers are responsible for pupils online behaviour out of school hours and use of Social Media. As a school if we are made aware of any concerns we will contact parents/carers immediately as we have a duty of care to our young people.
Monitoring posts about the school
- As part of active social media engagement, it is considered good practice to pro-actively monitor the Internet for public postings about the school.
- The school should effectively respond to social media comments made by others according to a defined policy or process.
Managing your personal use of Social Media:
- “Nothing” on social media is truly private
- Social media can blur the lines between your professional and private life. Don’t use the school logo and/or branding on personal accounts
- Check your settings regularly and test your privacy
- Keep an eye on your digital footprint
- Keep your personal information private
- Regularly review your connections – keep them to those you want to be connected to
- When posting online consider; Scale, Audience and Permanency of what you post If you want to criticise, do it politely.
- Take control of your images – do you want to be tagged in an image? What would children or parents say about you if they could see your images?
- Know how to report a problem
Managing school social media accounts
- Check with a senior leader before publishing content that may have controversial implications for the school
- Use a disclaimer when expressing personal views
- Make it clear who is posting content
- Use an appropriate and professional tone
- Be respectful to all parties
- Ensure you have permission to ‘share’ other peoples’ materials and acknowledge the author
- Express opinions but do so in a balanced and measured manner
- Think before responding to comments and, when in doubt, get a second opinion
- Seek advice and report any mistakes using the school’s reporting process
- Consider turning off tagging people in images where possible
- Don’t make comments, post content or link to materials that will bring the school into disrepute
- Don’t publish confidential or commercially sensitive material
- Don’t breach copyright, data protection or other relevant legislation
- Consider the appropriateness of content for any audience of school accounts, and don’t link to, embed or add potentially inappropriate content
- Don’t post derogatory, defamatory, offensive, harassing or discriminatory content
- Don’t use social media to air internal grievances
Written by Ms J Atherton