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Message from the Principal - 10th February

10 February 2017

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Having returned to school following the Chinese New Year break, our students have very quickly settled into school routines. Through every corridor no matter how old or young our students are, you feel a real sense of purpose and zest for learning.

This term is one as educators we relish, a solid block with few disruptions to really focus on academic rigour. Therefore, it’s been a delight to review the mock results of our Year 11 and Year 13 students, which bodes well for another year of outstanding highlights and results.

Parenting brings so many rewards, joys and celebrations, but if I’m honest it’s also one of the scariest responsibilities in this ever-changing world; ensuring we keep our children safe from harm and pass on the best possible advice. In school this week we focused on Safer Internet Day which took place earlier on Tuesday, 7th February. Certainly the world of cyberspace, social media, etc., has changed communication as we know it, yet it opened a whole new world of parenting worries. I thought I’d share the lessons learned from Safer Internet Day with 10 things we should teach children and young people about internet use.

  1. Set privacy settings and guard your information: Address: Phone numbers; School; City or Town; Parent’s workplace; Passwords.
  2. Guard your information: Technology can share information without knowledge; for example, turn off synchronisation on android devices, turn off location services and switch on when required.
  3. Limit time online: log off and play; take time for family and proper fact-to-face time with friends
  4. Friend or foe? Never schedule offline meetings with ‘Online only’ friends; tell parents if anyone tries to meet you offline; not everyone is who they say they are.
  5. Communicate: Talk about it if someone has upset you; stay away from ‘adult only’ sections of the internet; tell your parents about anything that makes you uncomfortable; do not believe everything you see- just because it is on the internet doesn’t mean it is true.
  6. Safety with webcams: Never do random chat (sites like Chatroulette); Only chat with family and friends; Never do anything on the webcam you wouldn’t want on the screen; think before uploading video responses.
  7. Time and place: Carefully consider whether to use geolocation (showing people exactly where you are) on social networks or games. Ask parents’ permission before using it; do not use the internet for personal purposes ay school or any places you visit regularly; check your privacy setting.
  8. Be ‘Scam Smart;: don’t open strange emails; beware of ‘free; download that could hide viruses or spyware.
  9. Don’t be a ‘pirate’ (eg access music, videos or films illegally); don’t use peer to peer file sharing as it leaves you open to viruses, spyware and identity theft
  10. Teamwork: Help your parents to protect you; help each other; communicate; cooperate; know when to log off.

Watch this space as we follow up with an evening seminar and coffee morning continuing on this theme later this term.