North East Schools Urged To Ensure Children Stay Safe

Issue 20

Hundreds of North East schools could be without access to adequate e-safety advice and security resources when a Government-backed support network closes this year.

IT experts Advantex Network Solutions Ltd warns that the end of Northern Grid for Learning (NGfL) will have a massive impact on schools, colleges and other training providers unless they act and start to draw up alternative plans.

The countdown has started to NGfL winding down at the end of July when broadband procurement, safety, safeguarding and digital literacy services will no longer be available to around 450 local schools and dozens of other sector providers.

NGfL works to keep thousands of young people in the region safe and secure from cyber bullying, radicalisation and other online threats through specialist workshops, advice, campaigns and events.

In the light of its closure, schools will need to seek alternative arrangements if they are to comply with changes to statutory guidance on keeping children safe.

The Department for Education (DfE) plans, Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, came into force in September. These lay out actions for education leaders to consider in relation to staff understanding and knowledge of safeguarding in schools.

Stephen O’Connell, Managing Director of Gateshead-based Advantex, which provides broadband advice and e-safety services to dozens of local schools, said: “The loss of Northern Grid for Learning’s services will have a far-reaching impact for education leaders and managers who aren’t prepared. The DfE makes it clear that children have to be safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. The responsibility is on governing bodies and proprietors to ensure that not only is appropriate web filtering in place but also the correct monitoring.”

Advantex will be holding an education technology workshop on the 8th February at Hardwick Hall featuring expert speakers.

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