Learning online safety

STO looks at school trips that teach pupils about everything from cyber bullying to online safety.

Earlier this month a poll by NSUWT found that a third of teachers were receiving work from their pupils that cited fake news from social media sites as fact.

The findings were released at almost the same time as those from another survey, in which two thirds of 1,500 teachers suggested that their pupils were sharing inappropriate content online.

As part of this study, teachers reported pupils “overtly talking about and showing phone communications involving sexual activity during lessons,” and “multiple incidences of social media trolling and abuse”.

Increasingly, education experts are calling for a greater emphasis to be placed on teaching both Primary and Secondary pupils about staying safe online.

On April 25, an Ofsted report on Croydon-based Elmwood Junior School specifically commended the school for the way it taught its pupils about the dangers of the real world.

The report said: "Pupils know how to keep themselves safe. They are clear about how to protect themselves when online. Older pupils have an awareness of gangs."

Fortunately, there are a number of places teachers can take children across the UK that specialise in teaching pupils about online safety. Here are a few of them...

DangerPoint, North Wales

This interactive visitor centre hosts school groups from Key Stages 1 to 4. The centre is divided into areas, a bit like a real village, and pupils can explore each area to learn different life skills and to find out about various dangers in the world. Pupils visiting here can learn about digital safety at the same time as learning about bullying, substance misuse, home safety and road safety.

Warning Zone, Leicester

Set up for Year 6 pupils, Warning Zone features realistic sets, which children can explore and interact with to learn life skills. The e-safety zone takes the form of a retro fair-ground. The centre’s experts teach pupils about behaviour and risks online by providing activities based on old-fashioned games such as ‘hook-a-duck’ and ‘coconut shy’. Visits link to the PHSE and Citizenship curriculums.

Hazard Alley, Milton Keynes

Hazard Alley was the first purpose-built safety education centre in the UK. During a tour of the centre’s life-size village, pupils encounter a range of hazards, giving them the opportunity to develop knowledge and strategies on how to stay safe. Internet safety education is delivered in the form of a film, which pupils are then asked to respond to.

Sutton Life Centre, London

This £8million centre uses audio-visual equipment to make young people more street smart and better able to deal with the dangers and risks they face in life. Life skills tours are available for Key Stages 2 and 3. There's a realistic street, where pupils can learn about things like peer pressure and alcohol, a transport section, and a mock-up home where children can learn about healthy eating, fire safety, and how to manage issues such as domestic violence, broken families, cyber-bullying and online friendship. The centre also has an outdoor climbing wall, multipurpose sports pitch, media lab and eco-garden.