A supply teacher is “not to be invited back” to Evenlode Primary School, Penarth after an incident in which four pupils at the school searched for inappropriate images on the internet during an ICT [ Information and Communications Technology] lesson.
The incident happened at the school on March 3rd when a “supply teacher” [ a teacher brought in to cover for normal staff] “allowed children to use IT equipment and access sites via Google without appropriate supervision” .
In a letter sent to all parents – apologising for the incident – Evenlode’s headteacher Mr Steve Rees says that the supply teacher [who is not named] had “unfortunately” failed to follow the work which had been set by the class’s usual staff teacher and which should have been carried out in his absence.
The headteacher has told the school parents that 4 boys entered the words “Freddie“, “Zombie”, “Chucky” and “Dead dogs” into search engines which – he says – resulted in what are described as “several disturbing images” being “displayed and seen by a number of children” .
Mr Rees says the supply teacher was “certainly at fault” – but also says he is “disappointed that several boys chose to input these words (which as adults I am sure we all recognise as being associated with Horror films) “ . The head says that it was only recently that the police had “spoken to the children about the dangers of accessing inappropriate material on the internet” .
The head tells parents that “to be fair to the teacher” he instructed the children to shut down the sites as soon as the images appeared.
Mr Rees says “the incident highlights the need for teacher vigilance , the limitations of our filtering system but also the fact that the children need to take responsibility for their actions” .
However – despite the headteacher’s letter Evenlode parents remain concerned about the issue . One parent said “What the [headteacher’s] letter does not say is that one child in the class was trying to access images of genitals but only failed because he could not spell”.
The school as now taken five actions:-
- The supply teacher is not to be invited back to Evenlode
- The search engine “available to children in Year 4 will be replaced”
- The school will “look again” at its “filtering system”
- The boys involved in carrying out the “inappropriate searches” have been warned that if they do it again they’ll be banned from using the internet in school.
- The school’s “police liaison officer” is to be invited back to repeat her talk to children and parents.
The headteacher Mr Steve Rees is away in Iceland this week and is not available for comment.
[PDN Note: Parents may well wonder why primary schools are even bothering to teach so-called “Information and Communications Technology” when many primary pupils still haven’t learned basic grammar, spelling or maths.
The Welsh Labour Government’s “ICT Steering Group” is quoted in the Donaldson report (“Successful Futures”) that Wales should become “an Agile-Digital Nation, renowned for producing talented technology innovators, leading software engineers, successful entrepreneurs and other related roles capable of becoming world leaders and contributing to the success of a thriving digital industry in Wales”.
The “ICT Steering Group” – which some commentators saw as hardly likely to argue against ICT education – makes the lofty claim that “that introducing computing into the curriculum would help to create economic and social advantages for all children educated in Wales and enable Wales to become a world leader in computing and digital skills.”]