Safe path through perilous web

29th August 2003 at 01:00
In reply to Jackie Sherman's letter, "Warn pupils of dangers of the web" (TES, July 25) I believe that it is our responsibility, especially in primaries, to teach children about web safety.

As one of my pupils said: "Internet safety is really like learning the Green Cross Code." In 2002 our school was involved in an internet safety pilot scheme, run by Becta, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Department for Education and Skills.

This scheme is now available free as a teachers' pack entitled "Internet proficiency scheme for key stage 2 pupils". It consists of eight lesson plans with worksheets that cover all aspects of safety including email, chat, instant messaging, and mobile phone text messages.

Those who successfully complete the scheme are awarded an internet "proficiency passport" similar to a cycling proficiency award.

The scheme can be used in information and communications technology as well as personal, social and health education. I suspect that many teachers are unaware of this valuable aid, copies of which can be obtained from the DfES, by telephoning 0845 60 222 60 quoting ref: DfES00562003 The disappointing thing is that the teaching of internet safety has not become statutory. The internet is an excellent learning tool for all subjects, and teachers should take responsibility for ensuring children understand how to use it safely.

Colette Cotton

Glendower Granville Road

St Margaret's Bay

Dover

Kent

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