The Bentley Federation, Walsall - 360 degree safe
The Bentley Federation was first formed in September 2007 as a ‘hard’ federation of King Charles and Bentley West Primary Schools along with Bentley Children’s Centre. It was the first federation in Walsall and is unique as it incorporates a local Children’s Centre as well as local primary schools.
The first federated IT Lead teacher with the responsibility for E-Safety was appointed in January 2012. At this time, advice was sought from an LA E-safety Advisor who supported schools and introduced the Federation to the 360 degree safe tool during an initial E-Safety/CEOP induction course. Both schools shared policies.
After an initial review, an action plan was created which focused on improving performance covering each of the strands in the tool and ensuring all areas developed together in terms of strategy and implementation. The plan was used as a working document that informed decision-making in all matters including curriculum, spending and infrastructure.
Whilst both schools were judged to be at a similar level in terms of aspects such as education and infrastructure, each school had its own senior leadership team, which made the implementation at a strategic level more time consuming. This was resolved by created a federated E-Safety Committee consisting of teachers, SEN staff, IT staff, Management staff and a governor. All decisions and actions relating to E-Safety could then be made here and implemented more effectively through the schools.
Steady progress was made over a two-year period, with the ideas suggested in the ‘next steps’ area of the tool being modified to meet the needs of the Federation. Most strategies were tested at one of the schools then evaluated before being modified/adopted across the Federation. This was particularly useful when implementing changes in filtering/infrastructure in order to reduce risk.
Governors were involved in the development of policies and these have changed as new technologies have been introduced. Staff training took place at a whole school level and in addition, some staff received ‘ThinkuKnow’ training and formed a team who could respond to incidents in the schools if they arose. Additional training was offered from the Federation to other schools in the area strengthening links with our wider school community. Various strategies are employed to work with parents/carers and in response to requests in parent surveys, an information page was created on both school websites. During this time E-Safety took a much higher profile in the schools, with trained pupil Digital Ambassadors providing advice to pupils and reporting back to staff.
In June 2015 assessors visited the Federation and we are the first Federation in the country to be awarded the 360 degree safe E-Safety Mark.
At the time of signing up to the 360 degree safe tool, the Child Care Facility at the Federation was managed by the Local Authority. It is now managed solely by the Federation and moving forward, will be using the Online Compass tool to develop effective E-Safety provision alongside the schools.
The Federation has benefited from undertaking the E-Safety 360 Tool and assessment. The report highlighted that the staff work closely as a team and are supported by the leadership team. Staff, parents and children know that they are being educated in an E-Safe environment and we aim to continue to develop the work that is being done to embrace new technologies whilst putting safety of the children first.