St. Fiachra’s Senior School Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
(Amended in accordance with Covid19 Response Plan, February 2021)
Internet use and access is a valuable school resource. The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner.
This Acceptable Use Policy applies to:
- Pupils who have access to and are users of the internet in St. Fiachra’s Senior School.
- Members of staff, volunteers, parents, carers, and others who access the internet in St. Fiachra’s Senior School.
- To all school personnel who use digital tools in remote teaching and learning.
If the school’s AUP is not adhered to, access will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions, as outlined in the AUP and the school’s Code of Behaviour, will be imposed.
Our School’s Strategy
Digital literacy skills are key life skills for children and young people today and the internet is a valuable teaching and learning tool. It can be used to develop children’s independent research skills and promote lifelong learning. They need to be media savvy and know how to effectively search for and evaluate online content; know how to protect personal information and reputation and know where to get help if problems arise. The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the internet.
- Internet use by pupils in school will be supervised by a teacher.
- Filtering software such as the Schools’ Broadband Programme and our internal firewall will be used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
- The Irish Schools’ Broadband Programme provides an integrated set of services to schools which includes broadband connectivity and services including content filtering, webhosting, and security services. These services are managed by the NCTE working closely with the Department of Education and Skills and are coordinated and supported by the NCTE Service Desk which is the single point of contact for schools for all broadband related issues, providing information, advice and support to schools.
- The school will regularly monitor pupils’ internet usage in school.
- Pupils and teachers will be provided with training and information in the area of internet safety. (e.g. www.webwise.ie)
- Downloading of non-approved software or other material will not be permitted. Apps that are deemed of educational value will be downloaded by teachers only.
- Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
- The use of memory sticks or other digital storage media in school requires a teacher’s permission.
- Pupils will observe good “netiquette” (etiquette on the internet) at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
Use of the Internet
- All staff members will have access to the internet for professional use during school hours.
- Pupils will use the internet in school for educational purposes only. There may be occasions when a teacher may allow pupils to watch an age-appropriate film or short video clip.
- In the event of a pupil accidently accessing inappropriate material or images during a lesson, the pupil will be taught to immediately minimize the page and report the incident to the class teacher without attracting the attention of other students. The teacher should report the incident to the ICT Co-coordinator.
- Pupils will not intentionally visit internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
- Pupils will never disclose or publicise personal information, either their own, or that of others.
- Downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
Pupils will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
When using the internet pupils, parents and staff are expected:
- To treat others with respect at all times.
- Not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
- Respect the right to privacy of all other members of the school community.
Misuse of the internet may result in disciplinary action, including written warnings, withdrawal of access, and in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion.
The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.
St. Fiachra’s Senior School may occasionally deal digital activity that take place outside the school that impacts on the wellbeing of pupils or staff. Such incidents may be dealt with under this policy , the anti-bullying policy and the school Code of Behaviour, where required. In such cases parents/carers will be informed of incidents of inappropriate online behaviour and the school may impose appropriate sanctions in line with the Code of Behaviour.
St. Fiachra’s Senior School implements the following strategies on promoting safer use of the internet:
- Pupils are taught internet safety as part of our implementation of the SPHE curriculum.
- Internet safety advice and support opportunities are provided to pupils in St. Fiachra’s Senior School through specific Webwise lessons. www.webwise.ie
- Teachers are provided with continuing professional development opportunities in the area of internet safety and digital technology.
- St. Fiachra’s Senior School regularly participates in Safer Internet Day activities to promote safer and more effective use of the internet.
Direct Communication using Internet.
Teachers in the school may use any of a range of tools for classroom communication using the internet. Examples may include Padlet, Kahoot, and Class Dojo. Pupils are required to conduct their interactions and messages in the online space in the same way as they would be expected to in class or in relation to Seesaw, the agreed digital platform for online learning.
Digital facilities may be utilised to provide synchronous video opportunities whereby a staff member directly speaks to the children live, e.g. through a webinar or online meeting. The staff member shares any such invite with a pupil’s parent or guardian, who is responsible for logging in to the meeting via their own account using a code. The following are ground rules for synchronous lessons online.
- All meetings will be password protected. As it is the responsibility of parents to receive the password/link, so too is it their responsibility not to share the password in order to protect the integrity of the meeting.
- All people involved in the meeting will conduct themselves in the same manner as would be expected in a regular class.
- The teacher, as the host of the meeting, has the right to eject any person from a synchronous engagement should they behave inappropriately.
- A parent is expected to be in the same room when a pupil is engaging in a meeting. They should ensure that all online interactions are appropriate.
- Staff members will not meet any child alone using an online meeting. If there is a need for a meeting between a child and a staff member, a parent must be present.
When using the internet, pupils, parents, and staff are expected to treat others with respect at all times.
Engaging in online activities with the intention to harm, harass, or embarrass another pupil or member of staff is an unacceptable and absolutely prohibited behaviour, with serious consequences and sanctions for those involved.
The prevention of cyber bullying is an integral part of the anti-bullying policy of our school and discussed as part of the Stay Safe programme in addition to other key areas of the curriculum (See Social Personal and Health Education Policy).
Measures are taken by St. Fiachra’s Senior School to ensure that staff and pupils are aware that bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time. This definition includes cyber-bullying.
- Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not necessarily fall within the definition of bullying and will be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour. ( See School Code of Behaviour: ‘Transmitting, recording or bringing to school any digital material that may be offensive or injurious to any member of the school community ’ , is considered to be a gross breach of discipline and could lead to suspension. )
On occasion, pupils will be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the internet. This is only carried out in accordance with clear approval processes regarding content that can be loaded to the school’s website. Any publication of student work will be coordinated by teachers.
The website will be regularly checked to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety, privacy, or reputation of students or staff . Personal student information including home address and contact details will not be published on St. Fiachra’s Senior School web pages (Twitter and School Website). Thus, St. Fiachra’s Senior School will avoid publishing the surname of pupils in video or photograph captions published online.
Images & Video
Care should be taken when taking photographic or video images that pupils are appropriately dressed and are not participating in activities that might bring the individuals or the school into disrepute.
At St. Fiachra’s Senior School, pupils must not take, use, share, publish or distribute images of others without their permission.
Pupils must not share images, videos, or other content online with the intention to harm another member of the school community regardless of whether this happens in school or outside.
Under no circumstances is a child allowed to use the camera, audio or video recording function of the device on the school premises or on a school outing of any description.
Written permission from parents or carers is obtained before photographs of pupils are published on the school website. Consent forms are presented to applicants before they enrol in the school.
Sharing explicit images and in particular explicit images of pupils and/or minors is an unacceptable and absolutely prohibited behaviour, with serious consequences and sanctions for those involved. Sharing explicit images will be deemed a grave offence and will be dealt with in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
St. Fiachra’s Senior School implements level 4 on content filtering on the Schools’ Broadband Network as defined below:
- Level 4 enables access to millions of websites including games and YouTube but blocks access to websites belonging to the personal websites category and websites such as Facebook belonging to the Social Networking category.
Pupils taking steps to by-pass the content filter by using proxy sites or other means may be subject to disciplinary action in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
When using Seesaw, the agreed digital platform for remote learning at home, the children will be outside of the St. Fiachra’s Senior School network. Thus, it will be incumbent upon their parents and guardians to ensure adequate internet safety precautions are taken. In particular, we ask that parents exercise caution in allowing pupils to use social media accounts with minimum age requirements. We would advise parents not to allow their children to have personal accounts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. until they are the appropriate age.
Web Browsing and Downloading
St. Fiachra’s Senior School cannot take responsibility for web activities undertaken by pupils outside of our network. While we will guide and educate pupils about appropriate internet safety, it is the responsibility of pupils’ parents and guardians to ensure their children’s browsing and downloading practices are age appropriate.
Staff at St. Fiachra’s Senior School may discuss and share information with parents about appropriate internet behaviour for children at parent-teacher meetings annually.
Pupils will be encouraged and directed not to visit internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful, or otherwise objectionable materials.
Pupils will be advised and reminded not to download or view any material that is illegal, obscene, and defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
Pupils will be advised and reminded that downloading of materials or images not relevant to their studies is not allowed.
Pupils will be advised and reminded to report accidental accessing of inappropriate materials in the classroom to their teacher and to their parents.
E-mail, Messaging and Posting
- Pupils should follow teacher’s instructions accessing only the applications to which the teacher has agreed.
- The camera and audio recording functions may only be used under the teachers’ direction.
- Identity theft (pretending to be someone else) is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
- In the event of a pupil accidentally accessing inappropriate material or images during a lesson, the pupil will immediately press the home button and report the incident to the class teacher without attracting the attention of other students.
- iPads must be always handled with care.
- Any damage to, or fault with the device must be reported immediately to the teacher.
- Pupils may use approved email accounts under supervision of or with the permission of the class teacher. As the digital age of consent is 16 years, pupils must use family email accounts. The email address must include the family name.
- Pupils will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that which is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
- Pupils will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
- Pupils will note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.
Teaching & Learning Platforms ( eg Seesaw)
- Pupils should not under any circumstances share their login details with other pupils. (See also ‘Remote Teaching and Learning policy’)
Pupils should immediately report the receipt of any communication that makes them feel uncomfortable, is offensive, discriminatory, threatening or bullying in nature and must not respond to any such communication.
Pupils will be enabled to post work to the class page in Seesaw or the T&L platform in use.
The following statements apply to the use of messaging, blogging and video streaming services in St. Fiachra’s Senior School:
- Use of video streaming sites such as YouTube and Vimeo etc. is permitted with the expressed permission from teaching staff only.
- Staff and pupils must not use social media and the internet in any way to harass, insult, abuse or defame pupils, their family members, staff, other members of the St. Fiachra’s Senior School community.
- Staff and pupils must not discuss personal information about pupils, staff and other members of the St. Fiachra’s Senior School community on social media. Similarly, it is asked that parents avoid negative conversations about children, staff or parents on social media accounts. With this in mind, we ask that parents ensure that online messages and comments to teachers in the school are respectful and treated in the same way as written messages to the school.
- Pupils will be given the opportunity to publish work on the school website.
- Photographs will focus on groups rather than individuals.
- Personal pupil information (full name, address etc) will be omitted from the school web pages.
Pupils using their own technology in school or for school activities as part of remote learning should follow the rules set out in this agreement, in the same way as if they were using school equipment.
The following statement applies to the use of mobile phones in St. Fiachra’s Senior School:
- Pupils are not permitted to have mobile phones on or to use them in any way while on the school premises as defined by the boundary fence, during the school day. Phones or digital devices brought onto the school premises must be kept at the owner’s risk in school bags out of sight and switched off unless they are to be used in a BYOD class.
These statements apply to the use of other internet-enabled devices such as laptops, tablets, gaming devices and digital music players in St. Fiachra’s Senior School:
- With the exception of mobile phones, pupils are only allowed to bring personal internet-enabled devices into St. Fiachra’s Senior School with expressed permission from staff and when their parents have signed the requisite ‘Bring Your Own Device’ BYOD documentation.
- Liability for any loss, damage or theft of any device is NOT, under any circumstances the responsibility of the staff or the school Board of Management.
- Pupils are only allowed to use personal internet-enabled devices during class with expressed permission from teaching staff.
- Pupils are not allowed to use personal internet-enabled devices unsupervised outside of class time.
Please note that children who are in breach of the policy will have the phone or digital device confiscated by the teacher, deputy principal or principal. The device will be kept in the principal’s office for collection. Parents will be notified of the confiscation and can retrieve the device by calling to the school.
All personal devices capable of connection to the internet are to be turned off and kept in school bags during school hours and only used after school hours when children are outside the school grounds.
- The school will inform pupils and parents of key support structures and organisations that deal with illegal material or harmful use of the internet.
- This will be done by means of the Webwise programme and the Stay Safe programme.
From time-to-time parents will receive information and advice regarding internet safety in the home. The school will facilitate information meetings for parents regarding internet safety from time to time.
Legislation and Sanctions
Teachers, students, and parents should familiarise themselves with the following legislation relating to use of the internet:
- Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
- Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998
- Children First 2018
- Interception Act 1993
- Video Recordings Act 1989
- The Data Protection Act 1988
Misuse of the Internet may result in disciplinary action in line with the school Code of Behaviour. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.
This policy has been developed to include the previous policy on device usage in the school in addition to internet and distance learning protocols. It has been developed following feedback from parents, teachers and pupils in relation to online teaching and learning throughout the school closure period from March – July 2020. We recognise that online safety is imperative and hope this document will offer a means of protection for all in our school community, whilst online.
The school will monitor the impact of the policy using:
- Logs of reported incidents.
- Surveys and/or questionnaires of pupils, parents, and teaching staff.
The implementation of this Internet Acceptable Use policy will be monitored by those responsible for digital learning in the school.
The Acceptable Use Policy for St. Fiachra’s Senior School was reviewed by the Board of Management on January 28th, 2020. The amended version was reviewed by the Board in February 8th 2021.
This policy will be reviewed as necessary and is for general review January 2023.