The Telegraph is reporting a new study that suggests nearly a third of teachers say they do not feel confident teaching online safety, while two in five say they have never attempted any lessons in the subject…
The research also highlights growing concerns among teachers that online safety risks are increasing, with over 70 per cent of those surveyed saying they believe ‘sexting’ – sending sexually explicit pictures by mobile phone – and cyber bullying to be on the rise.
According to the survey, seven in ten secondary school teachers say they have encountered cyber bulling or trolling among their pupils, while two in five have encountered sexting, prompting concerns that schools are not doing enough to protect pupils from online risks.
These figures follow research last month which suggested that sexting is now part of everyday life for almost half of teenagers.
Furthermore, most of the teenagers polled by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) said pornography had become “common” in their class during their mid-teens.
Commenting on the study, Professor Andy Phippen, child Internet safety expert says that while the teaching of e-safety has change recently, due to the introduction of computing, which mentions it specifically, it’s a topic that should be embraced across the whole curriculum.
“PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) isn’t high priority for senior leadership teams because it’s not an assessed subject at GCSE,” he says.
“You can’t put high quality PSHE into your league table results, so you can see why senior leadership teams don’t see it as important.”
“This education shouldn’t just be delivered as part of the computing curriculum, it’s something that can be delivered powerfully through other subjects – such as drama – as well.”
Guidance published in March last year urged teachers to use powers to confiscate devices they suspected of being used to share explicit material.
The brochure – Sexting in schools: advice and support around self-generated images – said that a device can be “examined, confiscated and securely stored if there is reason to believe it contains indecent images or extreme pornography”.
However, Prof Phippen argues that education is a lot more powerful than the threat of confiscation or stop and search powers.
“Schools need to take this seriously,” he said. “They need to make sure someone in a senior position is leading on this, it can’t be down to the ICT teacher, particularly in large secondary schools. Monitoring is a far more proactive approach than trying to block pupils.
“However, teachers also need national co-ordination. Ofsted inspections are one way of supporting this subject, but rather than just have the stick, have some carrots as well; give the support to teachers and look at it broadly – it’s not just a PSHE issue it’s a sex and relationships issue, it’s a literacy issue.”…
Prof Phippen says this is an issue schools need to take seriously. It that’s the case, and the survey paints a pretty bleak picture, what support is needed or what needs to change to help? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
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