All posts by Brett Laniosh

17 SATs Stress-busters

Simon Benn from Jack Cherry Ltd suggests there are essentially three ways to improve your pupils’ SATs results

  1. Improve their ability – the one everyone concentrates on with practice tests etc.
  2. Increase their confidence – the one that the majority of teachers work on.
  3. Improve your own mindset, resilience, confidence etc. – the one most teachers neglect despite its critical importance. Because pupils are like sponges, they suck up all the stuff going on around them. They copy how you are and what you do, not what you say. They have internal lie detectors so they know if you’re stressed even if you say you aren’t.

There’s a physical as well as an emotional and mental side to stress. Set yourself up for success by staying calm, focused and relaxed through the  physical stress-busters that appeal to you from this list:

  1. Go for a run, for a swim or just dance around your kitchen in-between marking!
  2. Enjoy a treat to keep you going through SATs, you deserve it.
  3. How much caffeine do you drink? We know it’s appealing but too much after lunch could stop you sleeping.
  4. Stay hydrated. Use a water bottle to keep track of what you’re drinking. Aim for 2 litres a day.
  5. A 10 minute brisk walk can help clear the head and boost endorphins – could you fit this into your day?
  6. To relax instantly, breathe in for 7 and out for 11, the longer outbreath puts your body into rest mode.
  7. Break times are short but try to stop and enjoy your food. If will help you digest and relax.
  8. Find a colleague who deserves a hug – hugging releases feel good hormones, we need them right now!
  9. What are you dancing to? Music helps us to relax and de-stress, it lowers heart rate and BP.
  10. Eat a banana for snack time and potatoes for lunch! Potassium lowers BP and relaxes you.
  11. Take your own advice! We tell pupils to do their best and relax but often berate ourselves.
  12. How are you making your classroom relaxed and fun? Helping kids de-stress will help you too!
  13. Don’t forget to laugh! Laughing releases happy hormones so when all else fails – find the funny side!
  14. Did you know stretching releases dopamine? Stand up, lift your arms above your head and de-stress.
  15. The news can be very negative, especially towards education. If it is stressing you out, turn it off.
  16. Do you have a pet? Stroking an animal is calming. If you haven’t got one, borrow one (but ask first, lol).
  17. Are you making time for a bubble bath tonight? If not, why not? You deserve it!

Find out more about Jack Cherry’s Remarkable Recipe for SATs Success

 

How to deliver exceptional ICT

Part of our role as ICTMark assessors involves carrying out visits to schools that have reached the threshold for ICTMark accreditation. The half day visit allows us to check that the threshold level has been reached across all required aspects of the Self Review  Framework. We can only recommend accreditation for the award after carrying out a review in school where I look at evidence, consult with the head teacher and meet school leaders, staff and learners in order to judge that the school is able to demonstrate that it has reached the required levels.

We encourage schools to think about the following 10 key considerations when looking to achieve this award:

Progress and achievement – think about pupils in different classes, subjects and years in your school.

To what extent has the use of ICT had a demonstrable impact on their progress and achievement?  Put another way, would they have made less progress and achieved less well had they not been able to use ICT?

ICT Capability – think about your pupils’ progress and achievement in relation to their ICT capability.

Do all pupils make good progress in developing and applying their knowledge, skills and understanding of ICT in a wide range of contexts?

Pupils’ learning – think about how your pupils learn in different classes, subjects and years.

Does ICT help them learn more effectively both in school and elsewhere?  In other words, does their use of ICT in and out of school help them to become better learners?

Quality of teaching – think about the teachers and support staff in your school.

To what extent has the effectiveness of their teaching been improved by ICT?

Organisational effectiveness – think about your school as an organisation and the people that work in it.

To what extent is the use of ICT improving working practices and making your school more effective and efficient?

Partnerships – think about your communication and engagement with parents/carers.

To what extent is ICT used to enhance the partnership with parents/carers? Is this effective in engaging them more fully in the life of the school and in support of their children’s learning?

Vision and strategy – think about what your school is trying to achieve through the use of ICT.

Is there a shared vision for the way that ICT will improve the quality of learning, teaching and management, and a strategy which ensures this is realised?

Leadership and innovation – think about the leadership at all levels in your school.

Does this leadership create a culture where staff feel encouraged to develop new practices with ICT, reflect on outcomes and share successful innovation for wider adoption?

ICT resources – think about your school’s ICT resources including hardware, software and digital learning and management resources.

Are these of sufficient quantity, quality, reliability and availability to help you achieve your school vision and your aspirations for ICT? In other words, do you have the right resources in the right place at the right time?

Safeguarding – think about the pupils, staff and others with access to the school’s ICT systems.

Is there a clear and well-understood e-safety strategy which ensures a safe environment for ICT use?  Are pupils and staff made aware of their responsibilities so that they adopt appropriate behaviours when they use ICT both within and beyond the school?

Contact us to find out how we can help you become an exceptional ICT school

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Green Screen for Schools

Green screen (or chroma key) filming has been popular in schools for a number of years. It uses software or an app to combine different images or video so that one appears as if part of the other. The green screen effect uses the chroma key feature of the software, so that a person or object standing in front of a green screen will appear in the video with the green screen replaced by another chosen background image or video. To produce green screen in the classroom you will need:

  • A green background – you can use a cloth or cover a wall with paper.
  • A camera and computer or you can use a tablet or even a smart phone.
  • An app or program that supports chroma key.

Ideas for using green screen in the classroom include news reports from exotic locations, weather reports, learning the names of the planets by visiting them and tours of historic locations including travelling back in time.

Green Screen Tips

Make sure your screen is held tight  – you don’t want creases in the fabric.

A tripod will help deal with shaky hands and will make the process much easier.

Subjects should not wear any green clothing as that will disappear in the film.

It is worth using external lighting projecting on the screen and not the subject.

Avoid shadows on the green screen – aim for an even colour.

Subjects shouldn’t be too close to the screen – aim for around 60cm.

Check the viewfinder to ensure that the subject is within the green screen and be careful not to film beyond the green area.

If you have more than one subject moving, avoid them crossing each other paths.

Recommended hardware and software for Green Screen

Background: A green table cloth or sheet attached to a wall or frame. Available to purchase for a few pounds. You can also paint or attach large green sheets of paper to a wall.

Hardware: A webcam or video camera connected to laptop or desktop computer.  Alternatively a tablet (or mobile phone).

A tripod is highly recommended and additional lighting will help you avoid shadows.

Software: Most video editing software has a chroma key function or you can use a dedicated app. Most of the apps/programs below are inexpensive and some are free.

Windows:  I Can Present

Mac: iMovie

iPad tablet: DoInk

Android tablet: Kinemaster

Chomebook: WeVideo

Learning Foundation Survey

The Learning Foundation is carrying out a survey about the engagement schools have with technology in teaching and learning and STEM.  The organisation aims to make teachers’ lives easier and more productive when it comes to integrating technology and planning and assessing STEM teaching and development amongst students. Your help in completing the survey (which is confidential) will help significantly in this. The information gathered will provide the charity with valuable data to help them present a true profile of the current situation in schools to the DfE. It will also provide useful feedback for the development of a STEM tool that is being developed by Magpie Education, with the support of a Government grant provided through Innovate UK.

Continue to the survey

Follow up Safer Internet Day

10 suggestions to follow up Safer Internet Day 2019

We’ve got some inspiring ideas for your school to run in order to follow up Safer Internet Day. You can also download our free Online Safety Poster.

1Set up digital leaders in order to empower your pupilsFind out how
2Review your AUPs and online safety policiesFind out how
3Run a workshop for parentsFind out how
4Carry out a survey of internet use by pupilsFind out how
5Get your digital leaders to produce an e-safety game or blogFind out how
6Create an e-safety game in ScratchFind out how
7Run an online event for all your classesFind out how
8Get your pupils to run a showcase lesson for parents Find out how
9Update your staff on the  DfE guidelinesFind out how
10Carry out a review using the 360 ESafe toolFind out how

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DFE Safeguarding Guidance

The Department for Education has updated the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance for schools and colleges following a consultation earlier this year. The guidance comes into force for schools from September 2018. I have highlighted some of the key changes to the guidance below.

Online safety – Although the online safety section has not changed, schools should reflect upon the use of portable devices in school and the increasing use of 4G.

Teaching safeguarding – Pupils need to be taught about safeguarding, including staying safe online, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. This information could be provided through personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education or sex and relationships education (SRE).

Children’s wishes – Schools should ensure that pupils’ wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take in response to a safeguarding concern.

Policies – Safeguarding policies should be publicly available, updated annually and reflect the local environment and circumstances.

SEND and disability – Child protection policies should reflect the fact that there can be additional barriers to recognising abuse and neglect in children with special educational needs.

Recruitment – The majority of school staff will require an enhanced DBS check with barred list information as they will be engaging in ‘regulated activity’. Schools must keep a single central record (SCR) to demonstrate they have carried out the mandatory pre-appointment checks.

Emergency contact numbers – The revisions recommend that schools and colleges hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil.

Read a briefing on the key updates from the NSPCC or a comparison of the 2016 and 2018 guidance from LFfL

A Learning Partnership

A 12 month support package for schools that provides access to independent curriculum and technical advice including strategic planning for Computing, ICT and Online Safety.

What does it include?

One hour CPD for teachers every term on a range of topics and themes which are relevant to members of staff with responsibility for Computing, ICT and Online Safety. These interactive workshops are delivered using Google Hangouts.

An email advice line for the head teacher as well as a nominated staff member.  This service can be supplemented by a telephone/video call.

Recommendations in terms of hardware and software including access to our preferred supplier network who offer great service and discounts.

Priority access to our school review and audit services and school based training packages for staff, pupils, parents and governors. There is a charge for these services.

What does it cost?

The current early bird rate for the Learning Partnership is £125 per year.

How do I join or find out more?

Complete the form below and we will be in touch.

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Children’s Online Activities

I strongly recommend that teachers and parents read  Children’s online activities, risks and safety, a review from the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. The findings back up the outcomes from our own national survey of 19,000 children.

Some of the findings from the report that caught our attention:

  • Parents prefer to receive information about their children’s online safety from schools despite information being available from multiple sources.
  • A small minority of children (mostly from poorer homes) remain without internet access, but for most internet use is occupying ever more time.
Average time spent online per day
  • Internet use takes place in a wide variety of locations.
Daily internet use by place
  • Many UK children have learned to be cautious online, there is little evidence that their digital skills are increasing over time.
  • Few children say they send photos to online contacts or reveal personal information.
  • A substantial minority uses services ‘under age’.
Children on Social Media
Children on Social Media
  • Top risks identified were  cyberbullying, sexting/sexual harassment, pornography, sexual solicitation and radicalisation.
  • The riskiest sites identified by the NSPCC were Chatroutette, Sickipedia, Omegle, ASK.fm, Tinder and MeowChat.
  • Children said they were most likely to see sexual, violent and other harmful content on ASK.fm (self harm and bullying), Call of Duty (violence), DeviantArt and Omegle (sexual).
  • One in ten children to one in five young teens say they encountered something worrying or nasty online in the past year.
  • Children’s top worries are pornography and violence. They encounter these most often on video-sharing sites, followed by other websites, then social networking sites and games.
  • Top parent concerns include online violence.
  • Children are also concerned about levels of advertising online, spending too much time online, inappropriate contacts, rumours and nastiness.
  • It is not possible to determine whether the internet has increased the overall amount of risk children face as they grow up, but the nature of the internet itself amplifies the consequences.
  • There are some indications of a rise in hate and self-harm content.
Incidents of Risk

Source:  “Children’s online activities, risks and safety. A literature review by the UKCCIS Evidence Group” .  

Online Safety Assessment

Our digital safeguarding tool allows teachers to Assess, Educate and Track improvement in their pupils’ knowledge of online dangers.


The platform empowers young people with the skills they need to stay safe online. Along with the assessment tool and learning resources for pupils, there is a library of videos to up-skill and raise awareness for teachers. The aim is to provide a whole school approach to online safety.

Assess-Educate-Track allows you to schedule online safety assessments at the press of a button. View, print and share reports with ease. Support learning with unique video content and manage everything quickly and easily through a simple, intuitive dashboard.

Find out more

CNECT “Commitment to quality”

Consultants Network for Education Computing and Technology

CNECT is an important new initiative which brings together a network of school service providers who are prepared to work and support each other to an open quality standard.

Already 18 school support professionals working with many hundreds of schools across the country have joined the expanding CNECT network and, in doing so, have indicated their commitment to the CNECT Charter.

The CNECT Charter includes the commitment to provide schools with fair and impartial advice, in a timely manner which is up to date in the rapidly changing area that they work in.

CNECT is the Consultants Network for Education Computing and Technology; members of CNECT are experienced professionals who are prepared to commit to the quality of the service that they provide to schools.

In a joint statement the school support professionals that are members of CNECT said, “We strongly believe that schools have a right to a guarantee of a quality of service which, too often, they fail to receive, CNECT is a grassroots initiative which aims to rectify this situation giving schools the confidence they need to know that their supply partners are effective and provide value.”

Schools should ask their current providers to show their commitment to the CNECT Charter or they may like to visit the CNECT web site, www.cnect.org.uk, to view those who have already made this very public commitment to provide a quality service.

Everyone has their nightmare story to tell, being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous or poorly informed trader. Unfortunately, this has also been the case for schools who have consequently purchased poor support, advice or EdTech products. CNECT aims to solve this issue by bringing together those who serve schools to a voluntary code of practice and a supportive community.

Members will be held accountable to this voluntary code by the evidence that they provide of customer satisfaction, by feedback received through the CNECT website and by peer review.

Look for CNECT members displaying the CNECT logo alongside their branding and check their entry on the CNECT web site www.cnect.org.uk

Note for Editors: CNECT can be contacted through founder member Brett Laniosh, cnect@catshill.com, 01527 313 800.

National Pupil Internet Use survey

Schools across the UK took part in a national survey of internet use by pupils when at home.  Brett Laniosh from Catshill Learning Partnerships, who carried out the survey, said that the results from over 19,000 pupils provide valuable information to schools on the range of hardware such as laptops, tablets, consoles and smart phones being used by young people. The survey was supported by education technology association Naace.

naace-transparent-logo

About the survey

Each class are shown a number of devices and pupils are asked to show by raising their hand which they use at home.

The numbers were collated for each school with the national results published here for Safer Internet Day 2017.

A free teaching resource has been published and is available here.

internetofthings

 

Schools can still carry out the survey and compare their results with the national average by completing the form below.

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Year groups required
KS1 (Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3)KS2 (Year 4, Year 5, Year 6)KS3 (Year 7, Year 8, Year 9)KS4 (Year 10, Year 11)

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Ideas for school online publishing

Wordpress in Schools

Earlier this year, I was working at a school in the lovely town of Bradford on Avon. The canalside location reminded me of the time we passed through the town by boat on our way to the picturesque city of Bath. I discussed with the Head of Computing how her newly trained digital leaders could share their wonderful material with parents. A similar conversation came about when I was working with the ICT lead at a school in Bromsgrove, updating their Online Safety Polices. She needed to get her class pages published, but their website just wasn’t making life easy. It was simply too difficult to publish content and even uploading a photo of class work took ages. Surely there must be a simpler and easier way that doesn’t cost the earth? There is, it’s called WordPress and I would strongly recommend you take a look at it. It gives you the flexibility to do things that you cannot do on your main school website, though you can still link to and from it. It should come as no surprise that our own sites are built on WordPress, as indeed is that of the Worcester-Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Society for which we volunteer. Small world!

Some ideas for your school WordPress site

  1. For class teacher and pupils to have their own class pages and blogs and to use these to celebrate their work.
  2. To create a dedicated online safety site for your parents and community.
  3. A vehicle for your digital leaders to publish and promote their work to others.
  4. For teachers to roll out special projects and generate an audience such as a specialist subject area or project like a school trip.
  5. To create a dedicated sub-site of your main school page such as the nursery, library, forest school, governors site or SEND.
  6. To create a dedicated fund raising site.
  7. For a professional educator or professional learning blog.
  8. A place for digital e-portfolios for pupils.
  • WordPress is very easy to use but at the same time it is a powerful online publishing tool.
  • WordPress sites are easy to update. If you can create a Word document, you can publish a new article to your WordPress website.
  • Once it is set up, you can update it anytime you want, and that is important for engagement with your visitors and for the search engines.
  • It provides 1000’s of customisable designs or themes.
  • WordPress sites work great in tablets or smart phones.
  • Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your WordPress site that help you add all kinds of functionality to your sites, like social media sharing, SEO, photo slideshows and more.
  • Your site can be edited and updated by multiple users including (if required) staff, governors and pupils.
  • It is a lot cheaper and easier to use than a VLE!
  • You can connect it to your Social Media feed such as Twitter.

Publish.School gives you your own WordPress site for a special inclusive rate of just £50 per year. This rate includes your own fully customisable WordPress site with its own name.publish.school subdomain. If required, additional support and design services are available on a pro rata basis.

Find out more.

Sexting information

CEOP have released the following information in response to news coverage about live streaming and young people.

You may have seen news coverage in the last few days about the increased threat of sexual offending via Live streaming apps. As well as directing you to our new resources on Live Streaming #LiveSkills that can be used to educate children, young people, parents and carers about Live streaming, it was important that we address the behaviour of sharing images and videos of sexual abuse.

This week, CEOP received an unprecedented number of reports about a sexual abuse video, involving two children, which has gone ‘viral’. We hope you understand that for the purposes of the ongoing safeguarding for the children involved, we are unable to release specifics about the content in the video, however we can inform you that the children are safe and that a man has been arrested and charged with several offences in connection with this incident.

The advice from police in relation to this video is that if children and young people receive it on any social media platform, they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.

It is really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. The police have been clear that they do not want to criminalise children and that children won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.

For professionals and parents finding out that images and videos of abuse are being circulated by young people and adults on social media, it can be a stressful time and difficult to know what course of action to take immediately. Here are some clear steps to take and important things to remember.

  1. Please never share a video or image depicting any kind of abuse involving children
  2. Each time a video or image of abuse is shared it re-victimises the child and increases the likelihood of blackmail, feelings of self-blame and powerlessness
  3. Report it to the platform it has been shared on e.g YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc
  4. Report it to CEOP if it is an image or video of sexual abuse involving a child with a link to where the video or image is hosted e.g YouTube, Facebook.
  5. If it’s not on a public platform and in only exists on a device ie. Phone, tablet. Once reported, with authorisation of CEOP or the Police, delete it from the device it has been sent to (if offender usernames are visible make note of them)
  6. Encourage other people to report if it is being shared publicly

If you work in a school or college and are concerned about what to do with peer to peer sharing of sexual images or videos you can refer to the ‘Sexting in schools and colleges guidance’

If a parent or carer is worried about a child seeing inappropriate things online Thinkuknow/parents has more information.
Sexting in schools

Online Safety Toolkit

A complete training and support package for your school.

The toolkit provides complete coverage including school online safety policies, curriculum training, risk assessment, digital literacy, lessons and presentations.

This includes information published in the DFE’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education‘.

Risk Assessment
Our digital safeguarding tool allows teachers to Assess, Educate and Track improvement in their pupils’ knowledge of online dangers.

Find out more 

Malvern Festival of Innovation

Malvern Festival Partners

Children build their own robots at Malvern Festival of Innovation

  • Children from across the Midlands built their own robots at this year’s Malvern Festival of Innovation
  • Groups of children from ten different schools were given the chance to build their own programmable robots at a series of workshops held on Tuesday 3rd October at the Three Counties Showground
  • As well as building the robots (which will be donated to the schools), pupils were shown how to programme them and carry out a series of challenges such as following a route through an obstacle course.
  • The robot building workshop was organised and run by Educational Technology guru Brett Laniosh from Bromsgrove based Catshill Learning Partnerships. The robots were sponsored by global IT company CGI group
  • Building a robot is a creative process involving problem solving that promotes independent learning and gives children experience of real world physical computing, science, technology and mathematics
Robot building
Putting it all together

As sales of electric cars rise and government ministers have announced an £8 million fund for trials of driverless lorries, the next generation of technologists and engineers will be given an opportunity to see the tech in action and get hands on experience of robot building.

Brett said, “We wanted to introduce young people to robotics and engineering and these fun workshops will be an opportunity for 40 children from different schools to do just that. As well as developing problem solving skills, their finished robot will give the children a sense of achievement. It will also help to foster a love for science and technology. We are delighted that CGI Group has sponsored the workshops which will mean that the completed robots will be given to the schools to use in class. Who knows, perhaps one of these young robot builders will be part of a team that builds your next electric car or even a future Mars rover.”

About Catshill Learning Partnerships:

Catshill Learning Partnerships is a computing, ICT and online safety network, providing curriculum support and advice to schools. Established in 2011, its school-based services also include professional development and educational technology advice.

For more details, go to www.catshill.com email info@catshill.com or ring 01527 313 880

 

Scratch 3

There is a lot of excitement about the development of Scratch 3 that is being jointly developed by MIT and Google.

Scratch 3 will be written in in HTML 3 and this widely anticipated release will be watched closely following the announcement that Adobe will be dropping Flash which is a requirement for the current version of Scratch 2.

A preview of the new scratch 3 blocks

It has been confirmed that Scratch 3 will continue to use vertical programming blocks rather than the horizontal ones used by ScratchJr.

A comparison of the horizontal and vertical block layout.

The announcement of Scratch 3.0 is going to be welcomed by users who are struggling to use this brilliant and popular programming tool in schools.

The Scratch Team at MIT will be affiliating with Google for this release which will succeed Scratch 2.

There are no details of a final release date for Scratch 3 but a functioning alpha version is available at here.

More details on from https://wiki.scratch.mit.edu/wiki/Scratch_3.0

 

New – Low Cost Robot

We’ve launched our new low cost Robot kit for the BBC Micro:bit. At just £25, the robot kit is great value and includes all the parts and instructions to make your own robot. A free programming guide allows you to write programs to control your robot.

The robot is a fully programmable, expandable device with activities for all ages. Supplied with clear instructions the kit takes about an hour to build. More than just a robot, this is a maker platform with numerous sensors, input & output add-ons for off-screen computing projects.

The robot kit is available from catshill.com/robot which also contains the build instructions, programming guide and downloadable resources.

The robot is programmed using programmable blocks which will be familiar to those who use Scratch.

Digital Leaders Report

Matthew Payne, the chairman of Chantry School Digital Leaders has sent us an update of their activities. If you do not yet have Digital Leaders, find out more here.

In early February Myself, Ms Dowding and The Digital Leaders of The Chantry School embarked on a journey to a college in Birmingham to attend a Digital Leaders workshop and conference. It gave us the opportunity to share our practices and learn about how other groups work. I presented Trello, which is our collaboration and organisational tool, that other schools found useful to know of.

Secondary, Middle and Primary schools working at the Digital Leader conference

 Safer Internet Day 2017

Shortly after the Digital Leader Conference, Safer Internet Day 2017 took place. As we’ve done for two years, I took to the stage and presented assemblies to all year groups throughout the week. I shared advice for what to look out for when speaking to others online and an unfortunate story of a local teenager who took his own life after receiving online bullying for many years even after moving schools two times. The Digital Leaders and I sincerely hope that our message of: “Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary?” will play a larger part in the pupil’s social media activity.

So as I’m sure you can appreciate, the Digital Leaders have been up to a lot to help make the school more digitally safe! The group is now working hard on getting our messages and knowledge across to parents directly with our Parental Involvement Program. We are now actively working with parents at school events and through our newsletter column and other platforms to help parents understand what their children are doing online.

Matthew Payne, Chairman of The Digital Leaders, Year 10, Chantry School, Worcester 

How to set up digital leaders in your school.

Internet Use Survey – Free resource

Interpreting the results of the National Pupil Internet Use Survey

The free classroom resource

Schools across the UK were invited to take part in a national survey of internet use by pupils when at home. Over 19,000 pupils took part.

A free teaching resource that uses the results from the survey which were published for Safer Internet Day 2017 has been created for schools to use. 

The resource presents a series of questions made up  into 26 slides that can be delivered in the classroom as it is or modified to suit a range of ages and abilities. It can be used to promote and stimulate online safety discussion.

Complete the form below to receive the classroom resource.

You can also download the results of the survey here.

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