Here in St. Joseph’s, where every aspect of school life is built upon Gospel values, we seek to create an atmosphere, supported through prayer and worship, whereby everyone who has an interest in our community can feel valued and believe their happiness is pursuit of all, as we grow closer to Jesus Christ.  

Through a curriculum that supports the holistic development of each child, by encouraging them to reach their full potential, we will maintain a high quality education within the resources available. We will seek to develop the necessary partnership links with home and parish so that all are able to participate as members in the wider community.



The Internet is an open communication channel, available to all. Applications such as the Web, email and chat all transmit information over the wires and fibres of the Internet to many locations in the world at low cost. Anyone can send messages, discuss ideas and publish material with little restriction. These features make it a valuable resource used by millions of people every day.

Much of the material on the Internet is published for an adult audience and some is unsuitable for pupils. In addition there is information on radicalisation and extremism, weapons, crime and racism that would be more restricted elsewhere. Sadly, email and chat communication can provide opportunities for adults to make contact with children for inappropriate reasons. At St. Joseph’s School, in line with policies that protect pupils from other dangers, we will provide pupils with as safe an Internet environment as possible and a need to teach them to be aware of and respond responsibly to the risks.

We will protect our school from possible legal challenge wherever possible. The legal system continues to struggle with the application of existing decency laws to computer technology. It is clearly an offence to hold images of child pornography on computers and to use Internet communication to “groom” children. However, the possession of other obscene or offensive material is not clearly defined. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 makes it a criminal offence to “cause a computer to perform any function with intent to secure unauthorised access to any program or data held in any computer”. At St. Joseph’s School we will make it clear to users that the use of school equipment to view or transmit inappropriate material is “unauthorised”. However, we are aware that a disclaimer is not sufficient to protect a school from a claim of personal injury and we will ensure that all reasonable and appropriate steps have been taken to protect pupils. Staff will be aware of many risks of Internet use, including grooming children, promoting radicalisation and extremism and will have opportunities for detailed discussion. Advice and training from advisors or child protection officers will be sought.

This policy forms part of our suite of safeguarding policies and should be read in conjunction with:

  • Behaviour and Discipline Policy
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
  • Single Equality Policy
  • Anti-Bullying Policies (both schools and that devised by the Anti-Bullying Team)
  • Preventing Extremism and radicalisation
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Whistleblowing


Why is Internet use important?


The purpose of Internet access in schools is to raise educational standards, to promote pupil achievement, to support the professional work of staff and to enhance the school’s management information and business administration systems. Internet use is a part of the statutory curriculum and a necessary tool for staff and pupils. Internet access is an entitlement for pupils who show a mature and responsible approach to its use. The Internet is an essential element in 21st century life for education, business and social interaction. Our school has a duty to provide pupils with quality Internet access as part of their learning experience.


How does the Internet benefit education?


Benefits of using the Internet in education include:


  • Access to worldwide educational resources including museums and galleries.
  • Inclusion in Government initiatives such as the DCFS ICT in Schools and the Virtual Teacher Centre (VTC).
  • Education and cultural exchange between pupils worldwide.
  • Immediate access to up to the minute news and current events.
  • Cultural, vocational, social and leisure use in libraries, clubs and at home.
  • The opportunity for staff and pupils to discuss with experts in a variety of fields.
  • Staff professional development through access to national developments, educational resources and good curriculum practice.
  • Communication with support agencies, professional associations and colleagues.
  • Improved access to technical support including remote management of networks.
  • Exchange of curriculum and administrative data with LA and DCFS



This policy applies to all school equipment at any time including any laptops signed out by staff for use at home. Visitors should seek the Headteacher’s permission before bringing their own equipment onto the premises.


Risk Assessment

As with a number of other media sources, such as magazines, books and videos, the Internet contains material unsuitable for pupils. The school will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that users access only appropriate material by using Sunderland’s filtering system and children will not be allowed Internet access without the presence of an adult member of staff. Staff supervision is paramount in taking all reasonable precautions to ensure only appropriate material is accessed.


However, even with adult supervision, it is impossible to guarantee that particular types of material will never appear on a computer terminal or station. This is due to the international scale and linked nature of material on the Internet. Neither the school nor Sunderland LA can accept liability for inadvertent access to material accessed or to the consequences of such access. The use of computer systems without permission or for inappropriate purposes could constitute a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Methods to identify, assess and minimise risks will be reviewed annually. The Headteacher will ensure that the Internet policy is implemented and compliance with the policy monitored.


Policy Decisions

  • No pupil will use the ICT suite without adult supervision.
  • Pupils must have permission to use the Internet.
  • Pupils may work independently when directed to a website which has already been vetted by the teacher.
  • Free searching (use of general search engines) is forbidden to children except recommended children’s search engines such as yahooligans or ask kids, when they will be supervised.
  • Only an adult, or children under supervision will do the downloading of files or images.
  • Children will not use or be issued with individual e-mail accounts (adult staff may set up and use their own account). They must only use approved email accounts set up on the school system.
  • Sent messages will be moderated by the teacher and must be polite, appropriate and justified.
  • Pupils must not reveal personal details of themselves (home address, telephone number) or others in e-mail communication, or arrange to meet anyone.
  • Pupils must immediately tell staff if they receive an offensive email.
  • E-mail sent to external organisations must be authorised before sending, in the same way as a letter written on school headed paper.


Social networking and personal publishing


  • The school blocks access to social networking sites
  • Newsgroups are also blocked
  • Pupils are told never to give out personal details which may identify them
  • Pupils and parents are advised that the use of social network spaces outside school is inappropriate for primary aged pupils.


Authorising Internet Access


The school agrees to Internet access based on educational or professional development needs without prior permission.


Other reasonable use of the Internet may be allowed but must be agreed to by the School Management Team before use.


The school will keep a record of all staff and pupils who are granted Internet access. The record will be kept up-to-date, for instance a member of staff or pupil may leave or a pupil’s access be withdrawn. There will be a separate access for students and supply staff.


At Key Stage 1 Internet access will only be through adult or teacher demonstration. Children may access teacher prepared files or materials rather than open the Internet.


At Key Stage 2 Internet access will be granted to the whole class based on a lesson need that corresponds to the ICT or cross curricular Schemes of Work. Children must first have been given a suitable introduction to rules for responsible use of the Internet. They must also apply individually by agreeing to abide by the Acceptable and Responsible Internet Use Statement. (Appendix 2)


Pupils will be allowed supervised use of the Internet for research or reference outside of class time (e.g. break times or after school clubs).


Parents will be informed at the beginning of the academic year of supervised Internet access relevant to their education. Parents must sign and return a permission slip allowing this access (see Appendix 1).


Maintaining a Secure Computer System

  • The LEA filters the school’s internal network via a firewall.
  • Virus protection software is installed and is updated as is reasonably practicable.
  • Security strategies will be discussed with the Local Authority as appropriate.
  • The use of CD-ROMS and memory USB sticks by children is forbidden. Staff may use them vigilantly, reporting screen displays immediately. Staff should also be mindful of viruses when using memory sticks between machines.
  • The ICT co-ordinator, with the help of the school technician, will ensure system capacity is reviewed to take the ever-increasing use of the Internet.
  • Children’s work is subject to monitor at anytime by that child’s class teacher or the ICT co-ordinator.
  • Children store any saved files within their allocated drive and folder.
  • Files not attributed to allocated areas are subject to immediate deletion.


Data Protection

Staff must only use encrypted memory sticks.


Personal data will be recorded, processed, transferred and made available according to the Data Protection Act 1998.


Procedures for Reporting Inappropriate use of I.T.


  • User reports immediately, but discreetly, to the supervising adult.
  • The supervising adult turns off the monitor but not the base unit.
  • A message is sent to Mrs Galbraith.
  • Mrs Galbraith privately reviews the nature of the material and logs the terminal number/location, the date, time and nature of material found, who found it and the user login if appropriate.
  • This information is forwarded to the Headteacher who will accept responsibility, or allocate responsibility to the Deputy Head, for dealing with the incident.


Depending on the seriousness of the incident:


i) Pupils and parents will be informed of the incident and complaints procedure.

ii) Parents and pupils may need to work in partnership with staff to resolve an issue.

iii) There may be occasions when the police must be contacted. Early contact will be made to establish the legal position and discuss strategies.

iv) A pupil may have Internet or computer access suspended.

v) If unsuitable sites are discovered the URL (address) and content will be reported to the Local Authority as the Internet service provider.


Any complaint about staff misuse must be referred to the Headteacher.


Staff Internet Use


Staff must only access computers using their own accounts. Staff use of the Internet is restricted to professional use only. The Internet on school computers should not be used for any political purposes, promoting extremism and radicalisation, personal gain or social use e.g. personal emails, booking holidays, private financial matters or social networking.  Restrictions also apply to any laptops that are booked out for use at home. Staff may book out laptops, in accordance with school procedures, but it is advisable that all school laptops should not be linked to the Internet outside of school premises.

  • Staff must only use password protected memory sticks issued by the school.
  • Random checks on Internet history and memory sticks will be undertaken and logs maintained.  This responsibility will be delegated to Mrs Smith, HLTA with responsibility for ICT support).  Any incidents will be reported to the Headteacher and subject to disciplinary action.
  • Inappropriate use of the Internet will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Staff must log off every time they leave the room.


Keeping staff and pupils aware of their Conditions of Use


All staff and adults working in school will be given a copy of the ‘Acceptable and Responsible Use of Internet Policy’ and its importance explained. Users will be required to sign an agreement indicating their acceptance of school policy before being issued with a logon account. If they feel unprepared for Internet use then the ICT co-ordinator will spend time tutoring the basics to them. Reassurance and discussion are always available from the ICT co-ordinator.


Rules for Acceptable use of IT will be posted near all computer systems (see Appendix 2).


Children will be refreshed at the beginning of every academic year of the rules of acceptable use of IT.


Parental Support


Parents’ attention will be drawn to the Acceptable and Responsible Internet Use document in newsletters and the school brochure. Internet issues will be handled sensitively to inform parents without undue alarm. A partnership approach with parents will be encouraged. Home use is increasing at possibly a faster rate than school use and parents must be made aware/reminded of the dangers of unrestricted access. Supervised use of the Internet at home is encouraged. The school is available to discuss any issues/concerns about the Internet or other IT use.


Interested parents will be referred to organisations such as PIN (Parents Information Network), Parents Online and National Action for Children.


All staff/students/volunteers are expected to comply fully with the school’s Acceptable and Responsible Internet Policy. Failure to do so may be a disciplinary offence.



The Governing body will review this policy biannually. The Governors may, however, review the policy earlier than this if the government introduces new legislation, or if the Governing Body receives recommendations on how the policy may be improved.


Date Reviewed:           18th November 2015

Date of next Review:  Autumn 2018






Appendix 1  click here to view  Parental letter Permission for Internet Access

Appendix 2  click here to view Rules for Acceptable Use of ICT

Appendix 3  click here to view Responsible Internet Use Statement Staff