Acceptable Use Policy
The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if the school’s AUP is not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions – as outlined in the AUP – will be imposed.
Link to PDF version of this (includes form for Parents to print and sign)
The Board of Management will review the AUP regularly. Before signing, the AUP should be read carefully to ensure that the conditions of use are accepted and understood.
Our School’s Strategy / Mission Statement
The Internet and digital media can help our pupils learn, create and communicate in ways that we would never have imagined in our youth. The online world is very much part of their lives, they are “growing up digital” with technology embedded in every aspect of their lives.
Digital literacy skills are key life skills for children and young people today. They need to be media savvy and know how to effectively search for and evaluate online content; know how to protect personal information and reputation; know to respect copyright and intellectual property and know where to get help if problems arise. The Internet is a valuable teaching and learning tool.
It can develop children’s independent research skills and promote lifelong learning. The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet. The school’s policy is to look for opportunities across the curriculum to reinforce online safety messages.
- Internet use by children in school will always be supervised by a classroom teacher.
- Filtering software such as the Schools Broadband Programme will be used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
- The Irish Schools Broadband Programme provides an integrated set of services to schools which includes broadband connectivity and services including content filtering, webhosting, and security services. These services are managed by the NCTE working closely with the Department of Education and Science and are coordinated and supported by the NCTE Service Desk which is the single point of contact for schools for all broadband related issues, providing information, advice and support to schools.
- Our web-filtering service FortiGuard v2.0 automatically blocks inappropriate websites so school computers never have access to these.
- The school will regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage.
- Students and teachers will be provided with training and information in the area of Internet safety. (e.g. www.webwise.ie)
- Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted.
- Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis. At the moment, the schools computers are protected by Semantic Endpoint Protection.
- The use of memory sticks or other digital storage media in school requires a teacher’s permission.
- Children are expected to respect computers, hardware, and software and not to intentionally waste limited resources in school such as paper or ink.
Use of the Internet
- Students will use the Internet in school for educational purposes only.
- In the event of a child accidently accessing inappropriate material or images during a lesson, the student will immediately minimize the page and report the incident to the class teacher without attracting the attention of other students. The teacher should report the incident to the ICT Co-coordinator who will then inform the Schools Broadband service.
- A list of appropriate websites will be made available to every teacher and will be posted around the computer room. Also a list of educational websites will be saved in the favourites folder on the school computers.
- Safe search engines will be used to search for images such as image bank on www.scoilnet.ie
- Students will not intentionally visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
- Students will not copy information into assignments and fail to acknowledge the source (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
- Students will never disclose or publicise personal information.
- Downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
- Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and / or network management reasons.
- Students may use approved class email accounts under supervision by or with permission from the class teacher.
- Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
- Children are not allowed to access their own email accounts in school.
- Students will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
- Students will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or the Internet.
- Students will note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.
- Students do not have access to chat rooms, discussion forums, messaging or other electronic communication fora at school
Our School Website
- Pupils may be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the Internet in accordance with clear policies and approval processes regarding the content that can be loaded to the school’s website
- The website will be regularly checked to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety of pupils or staff.
- The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher with permission from parents.
- Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on Web pages with a copyright notice prohibiting the copying of such work without express written permission.
- The school will endeavour to use digital photographs, audio or video clips focusing on group activities. Content focusing on individual students will not be published on the school website without the parental permission. Video clips may be password protected.
- Personal pupil information including children’s names, home address or contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
- The school website will never publish the first name or last name of individuals in a photograph.
- The school will ensure that the image files are appropriately named – will not use pupils’ names in image file names or ALT tags if published on the web.
- Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.
Information is available on the Internet on the following legislation relating to use of the Internet which teachers, students and parents should familiarise themselves with:
- Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
- Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998
- Interception Act 1993
- Video Recordings Act 1989
- The Data Protection Act 1988
The school will inform students and parents of key support structures and organisations that deal with illegal material or harmful use of the Internet. From time to time parents will receive information and advice regarding Internet
safety in the home.
Some material available on the Internet is unsuitable for children and therefore the guidelines in this policy must be adhered to at all times. Access to the Internet will be withdrawn from pupils who fail to maintain acceptable standards of use. Internet access in school includes a strict filtering service yet no filtering service is completely foolproof.
Procedures are in place should a child accidentally access inappropriate material and also should a child deliberately abuse the use of the Internet in school.
Intentional misuse of the Internet will result in disciplinary action including written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges, and, in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.
All of these sanctions are in line with our schools discipline policy. The AUP Policy for Divine Word Nation al School was reviewed by the Board of Management in April 2012.
Link to PDF version of this (includes form for Parents to print and sign)