Rights Respecting Schools
New Era Education are delighted to have worked with and supported Rights Respecting Schools in the UK. These schools place children’s rights at the heart of what they do. They create safe and inspiring places to learn where children are respected, their talents nurtured, and they can thrive.
Their ethos is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Many of these schools have either achieved the Rights Respecting Schools Award or are working towards it.
The Three Ps and Online Safety.
Underpinning the UNCRC are the three Ps; provision, protection and participation. Simply put, children are entitled to be provided for, to be protected, and to be able to take part. Nowhere is this more important in the 21st Century than in the area of children’s online presence and schools have a critical role in meeting their digital needs.
As the digital world is now a central part of children’s lives whether for entertainment, information, communication or collaboration it is essential that children have appropriate access and teaching. For over 20 years schools have been providing young children access to technology. The emphasis of this access has shifted to the Internet and the opportunities and benefits as well as the risks and challenges it brings.
Despite the budgetary challenges of recent years, schools largely have good broadband access, and most have an array of networked pcs, laptops or tablets. This is a key foundation of provision, but it is only part of the solution. Provision implies opportunity as well as resource. To give access to the internet, but no opportunity to engage with it, no opportunity to use some of its key features such as the social web elements is a failure of provision.
DB Primary is one solution that enables provision. Within DB Primary there are several routes for communication and collaboration that mirror the social web. Children have access to web pages where they can view or contribute content, blogs where they can share, forum where they may chat, contribute and discuss, email through which they may communicate and wikis through which they may collaborate and publish. For older pupils friending completes the social web activity of viewing, sharing, chatting and friending.
It is not enough to provide however. It is essential children are protected. The fundamental principles of protecting children online include controlling content, contact and conduct. DB Primary facilitates this.
Firstly, it is a secure environment where the permissions are controlled by the school and visibility locked down to those with passwords. Risk is controlled and extended according to age and experience.
The communication and collaboration tools are all protected by an age appropriate profanity filter which protects children from inappropriate content. It is designed to block some content, whilst flagging other potentially harmful or upsetting content. There is a full audit trail of activity that ensures incidents may be appropriately monitored, tracked and resolved.
The system also has a reporting tool so that children not only have the tools to protect themselves but can learn about when to trigger an alert and they are supported to build digital resilience through experience.
In order to protect children, they need to develop digital citizenship and digital resilience. But these can only be developed through effective first-hand experience. Tools such as DB Primary enable this to happen.
The final element of the three Ps is participation. This element is about children having the opportunity to make decisions and take responsibility for themselves. Tools such as DB Primary facilitate this. It enables them to choose an appropriate form of communication, gives them opportunities to collaborate; it creates agency. Participation means they need structured and safe activity. It also means they should be able to make choices about which tools to use and when. Children have their own space through which they can learn and share what is relevant and important to them. They can contribute or shape class discussions in forum, they can respond to and create blog articles, they can publish content through wiki pages.
A tool to support Rights Respecting Schools.
Participation is central to the online world. But if experience is gained only through access to age inappropriate apps and sites in the Wild West Web (see NSPCC campaign) then children do not have the appropriate provision or protections and they cannot participate appropriately. Use of DB Primary combines the provision, protection and participation through a combination of structured and self-initiated activity; through formal and informal learning opportunities. The Web Wizards scheme of work that accompanies DB Primary enables schools to plan their use of the tools to support children’s learning. It gives children the opportunities to participate effectively and safely.
DB Primary can be an essential tool to ensure Rights Respecting Schools meet the needs of their children in the digital age.