As schools adapt to a new way of working amid the coronavirus crisis, teachers are presented with a minefield of safeguarding issues – from discussing work with pupils at home to livestreaming lessons on video sharing sites.
It is therefore important that school staff have a thorough understanding of how best to keep children safe while teaching remotely.
To help schools navigate the safeguarding risks, Tes has compiled a list of 10 rules for teachers at home, based on the latest advice from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
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- If recording videos or livestreaming lessons, make sure to film in a neutral area where nothing personal or inappropriate can be seen or heard in the background.
- If communicating with students online, make sure the platform you are using is suitable for their age group. Also check the privacy settings.
- Set up school accounts for any online platforms you use. Teachers must never use personal accounts. This also applies to communication via email.
- Get written consent from parents or guardians for children to be involved in online lessons. An example consent form can be found here.
- Schools should set out clearly when it is and isn’t appropriate to contact children at home. Further guidance on one-to-one contact can be found here.
- If it is appropriate to communicate with a child on an individual basis – for example, to give feedback on a piece of work – use parents’ or carers’ email addresses or phone numbers, when it is safe to do so.
- Make sure any phone calls are made from a blocked number so teachers' personal contact details are not visible.
- Schools should check that everyone is able to contact the nominated child protection lead and deputy if they have any concerns about a child. This child protection lead should keep a note of any contact numbers they may need while the school is closed, for example, children’s social care and the local police.
- Talk to children regularly about the benefits and risks of the online world and give them space to ask questions.
- Tell children and young people where they can go if they are worried about anything or need to talk to someone while the school is closed. For example, Childline can be contacted for free on 0800 1111, or children can get support online.