Working in a school there’s so much interesting news going on it’s tempting to focus entirely on sharing it as widely as possible. However it’s also very important that you take all possible steps to ensure the safety of students and indeed staff.
Here are our answers to the most common questions we're asked on our training courses – but please make sure you read your own organisation’s policies and take advice from experts if you’re unsure about anything.
- Do I need permission to use student images and names? It’s important that you gather explicit permission from parents to use any image of their child in school marketing. This should be done as part of the admissions process, and they should be given a regular reminder that they can then revoke this permission. The list of students who have not given permission should be shared with those who communicate externally – check for example that teachers taking a camera on a trip and sharing photos on social media are aware.
- What information should I share about students? Our advice is that in general website and social media posts don’t need to include student names. If a student or students achieve something significant such as winning a national competition, discuss how you (and perhaps the organisers!) would like to publicise this with the parents. You should take the same approach with exam results – selecting students in advance to publicise and seeking specific permission. Another similar issue is identifying the location of students outside of school. For example it is better to take photographs on a trip to London and share them at the end of the day than to announce live on social media that you are just about to arrive at a particular location
- Are there any particular issues with social media? One of the problems with safeguarding is that once your publish information online (and of course this is as true of websites and e-newsletters), others can and will share information (and of course you want them to!). But you need to be careful that those sharing the stories don’t add back information that you’ve removed. It’s therefore important to keep reminding parents and staff not to tag pictures with student names.
- Who else do I need to safeguard? As well as students, don’t assume that you have the right to share staff details - there are reasons why some of them might want to be anonymous. It’s also worth (for your school’s reputation) reminding staff as well as students of the importance of protecting their reputation online.