Dear Parent or Carer,
Please click on the link below to view a message from the staff at St. Mary's Catholic Federation, Carshalton.
Ms K Nicol
PA to the Executive Headteacher
Many of our Children will be at home for long periods due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It is inevitable that they will be spending more time online. It is important that we keep our children safe when they are using the internet/social media and gaming.
We can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with you to ensure the e-Safety message is consistent. Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online. Recently we have had a number of parents express concerns about children’s behaviour online. Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to unwanted or unpleasant content or comments online and there are steps you can take at home to minimise this risk.
· All the popular Social Media platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tic Toc etc.) have an age restriction of 13, and WhatsApp have an age restriction of 16. Therefore, no Primary school student should have a Social Media profile. There are good reasons for this age restriction to be in place. For example, inappropriate content, lack of maturity to use the site safely, exposing them to harmful content, risk of being contacted by Sexual predators, creating an online profile which will be hard to remove in the future, placing added pressure on the child to deal with situations beyond their years. The list goes on but as parents you need to be aware of the safety implications by allowing your child access to Social Media at such a young age. If you do allow your child to have a Social Media account, make sure you set the privacy settings to private and check your child’s account on a regular basis.
The Communication Act 2003 makes it an offence to send anything on the Internet that is offensive, indecent, threatening or false and the reason for sending it is to cause the other person annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety. Remember the age of criminal responsibility in England is 10 years old. We would not want any of our children to get on the wrong side of the law, so we have to ensure they are using the Internet in a responsible and appropriate way.
What can parents/carers do? Follow the Golden Rules!
· Discuss as a family how the internet will be used in your house. Consider what should be kept private online (personal information, photos etc.) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline. Only allow them to play online games that are age appropriate. Check the PEGI rating of the game. Remember the average age of an online gamer is 38 years old, there are far more adults playing these games than children, so we need to be vigilant.
· Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions on your home broadband for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content. A useful website to show you how to do all of this is https://www.internetmatters.org/
· Remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child. There has been an increase on online scams and fake news referring to the Coronavirus, so make sure you take advice from reliable sources such as NHS, GOV.UK, Local Authority, BBC etc.
· Locate your computer in a supervised family area. Always supervise the use of webcams and applications which allow voice or video chat. Consider your child’s use of other devices that allow internet access such as Mobile Phones, Games Consoles, Kindles, iPod etc.
Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour with your child.
· Always ensure your child knows how to block or report people online who send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply.
· Make sure your child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
· It’s essential to be realistic - banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem. Education around safe use is essential.
. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO HAVE INTERNET ENABLED DEVICES IN THEIR BEDROOMS UNTIL THEY REACH AN AGE AND MATURITY TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE.
Websites for more information:
www.thinkuknow.co.uk – Visit the “Parent/Carer” Section and use the “Click CEOP” button to seek advice and report online abuse
www.childnet.com – Visit the ‘Know It All’ Section for an interactive guide about online safety
ww.getsafeonline.org – Free up-to-date Security advice
www.parentinfo.org - Supported by CEOP
www.cybermentors.org.uk – Online support for children
www.childline.org.uk – Online support for children
https://www.internetmatters.org/ - Explains how to set up parental controls on most devices and game consoles.
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ - Bit like TripAdvisor for the Internet. Find out about Apps and Games and age restrictions.
Please visit your School Website which will have further information on keeping children safe online
20th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to inform you that our school (and every other school) is currently trying to plan for the situation next week. The list published regarding key workers is very extensive and unclear in terms of specific groups.
Obviously, to keep the school running we need to ensure that we have the appropriate staff in place too.
Please be reassured that I am also communicating with the headteachers in the LA Sutton as we work together to try to support the wonderful work that goes on in our community.
I will write to you again later today with an update and hopefully a way to collect information from you regarding children coming into school next week.
With many best wishes
Dear Parents and Carers ,
Following the announcements yesterday by our Prime Minister Boris Johnson we have to make arrangements for the opening of our schools next Monday 23rd March for specific groups of pupils.
We are hoping to receive advice from LA Sutton by the end of today allowing us to collate pupil information about key workers within families and then communicate our plans to the school community.
We at St Mary's will continue to work with families through these difficult times and send our best wishes to you and each in our community.
Thank you for your support and understanding during this period of uncertainty.
17th March 2020
Dear Parent or Carer,
Thank you all for being so patient and understanding at this time.
We would like to thank you for informing the school offices, by telephone and also followed up by written confirmation (school Policy) if your child will not be able to attend school.
Due to the safety of washing hands frequently we are aware that some children are experiencing sore hands. To assist with this, we have purchased hand cream recommended by the chemist, which can be safely used for all skin types, including those with Eczema. With this in mind we would ask all parents not to send their children in with any types of soap/hand cream. The cream will be available for all children from the school office.
Please see below information from the NHS website regarding symptoms that would require your child to stay off school.
A link to the information on the DfE website is below:
The London Borough of Sutton has a dedicated webpage on the Coronavirus
We have received a few calls informing us of occasions where children have attended events outside of school, in this instance we would ask you to inform the parents via your own contact channels.
Thank you in anticipation for your cooperation and patience during this time and best wishes to you and your families for keeping in good health.