As a small school with strong community values, Hodge Hill Girls’ aims to meet the needs of each member of their school community, celebrating diversity and always striving for equality in the school family and the wider world.
With “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (KCSIE) setting out the legal duties schools must follow to safeguard children and young people, Hodge Hill Girls’ School take their responsibility to ensure the safety of all pupils, very seriously. Their forward thinking in this area has been driven by the combined efforts of the Headteacher, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and the Strategic ICT Manager, Patrick Shaw. The school has always had an effective relationship with Link2ICT’s safeguarding team and was one of the first schools to trial and implement Policy Central (now known as Futures Cloud) many years ago. In using Futures Cloud, the school had six members of staff trained to respond to email alerts generated by the monitoring software. We spoke to Patrick about the school’s experience of before and after they subscribed to the Monitoring Service.
“Hundreds of emails would be generated per week, per staff member, with the vast majority being false positive1. There was no way of quickly identifying a genuine concern without following up every email alert. This demanded huge amounts of dedicated staff time to be effective, reducing its value for the school.”
“We were contacted by Link2ICT’s Andy Pyper (Safeguarding Lead), about an ambitious plan to add value to Futures Cloud by offering a managed monitoring service. On paper, the Link2ICT Monitoring Service seemed to offer solutions to many of the problems we were experiencing with Futures Cloud and the staff workload required to fulfil our monitoring obligations. Link2ICT offered us a free 3-month trial of the service. We provided feedback throughout this period and Link2ICT were able to adjust the service to our needs. At the time, we looked for alternative solutions, but we found that Link2ICT’s monitoring service was unique in merging a technical monitoring product with an independent, managed service.”
From the outset, Hodge Hill Girls had a clear vision of what outcomes they expected from using a service like this. They wanted to ensure they were:
- doing everything they could to keep pupils and staff safe when using digital technology
- fulfilling their safeguarding/monitoring responsibilities as detailed by Ofsted
- making the most effective use of staff time when discharging monitoring responsibilities
“Effective implementation was dependent on training, support and setup. Link2ICT provided this, and we have continued to invest in internal staff training to improve the value we receive from the service.”
“The latest Ofsted framework and KCSIE guidance has placed a greater emphasis on effective monitoring. We are confident that our use of the Link2ICT Monitoring Service helps us to fulfil these obligations, alongside the wider safeguarding policy, practice and systems we use in school.”
Hodge Hill Girls’ has now been using the Link2ICT Monitoring Service for two years, which has brought a number of significant benefits, including:
- independent monitoring
- audit trail of timely action
- reduction of staff time spent on monitoring
- focusing staff time on dealing with REAL incidents, rather than false positive alerts
The school feels the service provided by Link2ICT has highlighted issues that otherwise, may not have been picked up.
“There was one particular case where word captures might have flagged this as a Grade 2 risk2, but the human monitoring element of the managed service could see and understand the context around the capture to identify it as a more serious Grade 4 risk for the school to investigate. Automated word captures alone would not have flagged this risk. Therefore, the human monitoring and intervention was crucial.”
“With pupils researching so much more online, this service has enabled us to quickly pick up on areas that could be a potential concern. At times, items flagged have resulted in pupils gaining additional support from relevant agencies and being effectively safeguarded.”
The school has the reassurance of an effective safeguarding solution in place and is recognised and appreciated by the Headteacher…
“The Link2ICT Monitoring Service has provided a consistent level of monitoring which reduces staff intervention to where it is most needed. It also avoids the stress caused to staff when trying to monitor a large number of captures, especially when other competing priorities get in the way e.g. safeguarding disclosures. We are very happy with the service provided by Link2ICT and would certainly recommend it to other schools.”
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1 A false positive is a potentially inappropriate word being used in an appropriate way e.g. “cut” is a captured word as it relates to self-harm. However, in the phrase, ‘cut the paper’, it would identified as a false positive.2 Incidents/captures are graded according to severity of risk – see www.link2ict.org/monitoringservice.
Watch the video about Kings Heath Boys' School using the Link2ICT Monitoring Service