Reporting bullying for the 21st Century

E-safety and Cyberbullying in school - Don’t just rely on face-to-face reporting


Have you ever wanted to be able to report a worry, bullying or other incidents such as sexism or racism directly to your school but you don’t know who to tell, or if you do, you find that your teachers tell you to report it to them or to someone face-to-face?

That’s all well and good if you are confident and feel able to speak up to somebody about everything that is happening to you. But what happens if you're not one of these confident people? What happens if you’re too scared to tell someone face-to-face? What happens if you finally build up the confidence to speak to a teacher, but your bully is standing across the playground, glaring at you? What happens if you are in your room on a Sunday night, too frightened to go to school tomorrow, knowing that before you even see a teacher, your bully will be harassing you on social media or waiting for you at the school gates?

These are just some of the questions that race through school children’s minds of all ages across the UK on a daily basis. The government states that 39% of children don’t know who, where or how to report incidents other than through face-to-face directly to their school! As a result of this, every single day, 16,000 children across the UK skip school because they are unable to report and resolve issues or worries within their school environment.

Too many schools rely on old-fashioned face-to-face methods as a channel for their students - no matter what their age - to report worries, bullying, and safeguarding issues! These issues are only going to grow and develop further unless alternative methods are used within the school environment to encourage school children to speak up. New forms of technology and social media are forever closing the gap between victims and aggressor’s through the form of cyber-bullying. Therefore modern schools and modern societies need to adopt a modern approach to allow children to report incidents and worries such as bullying, as well as problems at home that may be effecting their school lives. Tootoot’s recent research found that; providing 10,000 students with an alternative technological method allowing them to report worries - resulting in a 49% uptake - increased reporting by 6 times compared with that of face-to-face reporting.

I was bullied as a young boy and wanted to help other students to not suffer in silence. I developed tootoot to provide vulnerable students with a voice to report incidents of bullying and other safeguarding worries directly to their school. Find out more.

Written by Michael Brennan on May 27, 2015 09:43

Tootoot

Helping your students to report bullying directly to your school

Tootoot LogoTechnology is forever evolving, as are the bullies. Gone are the days where victims of physical or verbal bullying longed for the 3 o’clock school bell, signalling the final challenge of missing the bullies at the school gates, knowing that the safety of home was only a stones throw away. The only bell that can be heard now is that of a mobile phone, iPad or laptop signalling a Facebook or Twitter notification from those bullies still standing at the gate.

As a child who suffered from both physical and cyber-bullying, trying to stay safe online and avoid the bullies was the hardest part. Whether at school or at home the Internet found me. There was no escape. Having just made the transition into high school, I was an easy target. But my greatest challenge was knowing where I should report these cases of bullying to. Learners today face many different types of problems both in and out of the classroom. Racist abuse, Mental Health issues and Revenge porn just to name a few. But how and where do learners report these incidents?

As technology has evolved so does the need for schools to be able to adopt technology that allows their learners to be able to report these incidents. Providing an email address or reporting form on a schools homepage is simply dangerous as schools are unable to trace reports and monitored types of case that are being reported. After extensive research and working as a learning mentor in both Primary and Secondary schools, I realised that there was no safe, stand alone secure system for schools to allow their learners to reporting bullying and any other incidents directly to them.

In 2014 I launched tootoot! www.tootoot.co.uk - an online anti-bullying tool for schools - allowing students to report bullying anonymously and safely, directly to their school. Tootoot is rolling out nationwide and is already helping thousands of students report incidents of physical, verbal and cyber-bullying online. Tootoot is currently being used across the UK by schools to help their learners speak out.

The benefits of using the tool come from the whole school community, as demonstrated by the comments from our users:

"Tootoot lets me report anything to my school, whether I'm in school or at home on my mobile phone" - Jordin, Student

"Tootoot has allowed our students to report incidents safely and anonymously in school and from home, directly to me" - Katie Malley, Deputy Head Teacher, Werneth Primary School

"Tootoot has given me peace of mind knowing my child can report any issues or worries to her teachers, in confidence" - Colin Young, Parent, Berwick Academy

For more information visit www.tootoot.co.uk or email Michael directly at michael@tootoot.co.uk

Written by Michael Brennan on April 10, 2015 10:05

Interpreting the Ofsted Requirements for E-safety - Part 2

This is the second in a series of blog posts focusing on Ofsted’s e-safety framework, which was first briefed to it’s inspectors in September 2012 and has had a number of amendments since then, the latest of which was published in January 2014.

In the last post, we concentrated on the large first section of the framework document, entitled ‘Whole School Consistent Approach’. In this article, we will look at the sections focusing on ‘Robust and Integrated Reporting Routines’ and ‘Staff’.

Robust and Integrated Reporting Routines

This section of the Ofsted e-safety framework focuses on schools’ online reporting procedures, emphasising that the whole school community should have a full and clear understanding about the processes available to them for the reporting of e-safety issues.

This can be demonstrated by:

  • schools utilising ‘abuse’ or ‘CEOP buttons on their websites, email systems or learning platforms.
  • schools making available and broadcasting awareness of specifically trained, nominated staff, that students can contact regarding any e-safety issue.
  • a school’s adoption of a web-based reporting tool such as SHARP (Student Help Advice Reporting Page System). This is a web-based tool that an increasing number of schools are investing in which allows young people to report any incidents which occur within the school and local community anonymously and without fear.
  • Information on indicators that Ofsted will be looking out for that will identify good or outstanding practice can be found here.

    Staff

    In this area of the framework Ofsted’s focus is targeted at the training teaching and non-teaching staff is receiving with regard to e-safety and whether this is regular and up-to-date. Also, whether at least one member of staff, within the school, has received accredited training, for example CEOP or EPICT.

    This can be demonstrated by:

  • Evidence that a Government-accredited training session has been delivered to at least one member of staff and that all stakeholders associated with the school, such as teachers, support staff, governors and parents/carers, including those in the local community where children attend (e.g. Libraries, Youth Centres, CLC, Youth Groups) have received regular training. This could be demonstrated by displaying certificates confirming the attendance at the session or documents held by management certifying that a session was indeed delivered. Ofsted will also question staff on e-safety to establish the effectiveness of the training sessions.

    There is an excellent online training module available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members covering all aspects of training for staff with regard to the Ofsted e-safety framework. Usage is unlimited and it comes complete with a distribution tool and also progress monitoring system. To find out more, view the e-safety training module demonstration video.

  • Evidence that children have a good awareness of e-safety, what they should do if they have an e-safety issue and can confidently mentor others in aspects of e-safety and the reporting of associated issues. Usually Ofsted will judge this via the questioning of individual and groups of students. There is a helpful document on the e-safetysupport website offering sample questions that Ofsted may ask students in order to judge the quality of e-safety teaching and a school’s e-safety promotion strategies.
  • Finally, there is another helpful document offering sample questions that Ofsted may ask staff in order to judge the effectiveness of e-safety training.
  • These are just some suggestions on how you may develop your e-safety provision. If you would like to share your thoughts on implementing e-safety policy and practice in your school, we would love to hear from you. Please use the comments form below.

    Further ideas on how to demonstrate key features of good and outstanding practice will be brought to you in future articles.

    Written by Steve Gresty on February 27, 2014 10:05


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