Sparklebox creator jailed after paedophile verdict

15th January 2010 at 00:00
Education resources website blocked by some local authorities as owner is imprisoned again

Original paper headline: Sparklebox ban as creator jailed again after paedophile conviction

A former teacher and convicted paedophile who ran one of the UK's biggest education websites has been jailed for a second time for making indecent images of children.

Daniel Kinge originally had to overturn a legal ban on using the internet to create Sparklebox, which allows customers to create classroom resources. Many councils have now banned schools from accessing it.

Kinge, 28, was jailed for nine months in 2005 for downloading pornographic images of children from the internet while working at a Warwickshire school, but reinvented himself as "Samuel" after changing his name by deed poll.

Last week he was jailed for a year at Worcester Crown Court after admitting making more than 400 indecent and pseudo photographs of children. A judge had lifted his internet ban back in 2005, after which Kinge set up Sparklebox. But he remained a registered sex offender and cannot work with children.

Police previously blocked Sparklebox during their investigations into Kinge, which led to fears the website wasn't safe. Their advice to teachers now is that it is safe to use, but anyone who has downloaded the website's toolbar should delete it.

Teachers have reported being frustrated at the lack of information given to them when Sparklebox was first banned. Some local authorities have now sent a fuller explanation to schools, and say they will continue to ban the site until they are satisfied it is safe.

"I am aware that the blocking of this site has caused frustration for many teachers, but in the light of recent developments I feel that the decision to block was the right one," said Ian Baker, ICT and e-learning adviser for Wiltshire Council. Worcestershire County Council is also continuing to ban the site.

"Advice received would appear to confirm that we should take action to block the site until the situation is clarified and I have instructed our broadband team to do that," a spokesman said.

Kinge's latest offences were discovered by police in September 2009 even though he had been using sophisticated "eraser" software that automatically deleted the photographs. The court heard there was no suggestion he had been distributing pornography through Sparklebox. His access to the internet has again been restricted.

It is unclear what will now happen to Sparklebox. The website's blog has disappeared, but in an older post staff denied the accusations against Kinge and said there was no "valid reason" for blocking the site.

TES forums

`Do I tell all the staff at my school?'

  • thelma ward
    • "It does have the most useful resources and is very tempting to use. Just to be told we're not allowed to use it makes one long to defy and just go on it anyway! We are professionals, not naughty children who can't understand!"

      • msz
        • "When I was made aware of the issues concerning Sparklebox (back in the days before his products were free) I decided to remove all products from my classroom."

          • dizzydizzymummy
            • "Sparklebox has been banned in the school I work at for a couple of years now, and since September the head has been stressing that we don't use it now. However, if we teachers are all banned from using the resources (and I totally agree that we shouldn't, as it kind of supports this guy) why then are the majority of teaching resources in the new film Nativity from Sparklebox?"

              • skills324
                • "So what happens now? People are saying to download resources you might need for the future - but will and should we be able to use them? Do I tell all the staff at my school (who I'm sure will be unaware)? I am in shock, to be honest. I use Sparklebox more than anything. What are others going to do - not use his resources?"

                  TES Primary teaching resources


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