Engaging in the safe use of Social Media platforms

Thee students sat having coffee in the school canteen

Dear Parents and carers 

As parents and carers are aware, Strood Academy invests a significant amount of time reinforcing and reminding students of our high expectations of them. This extends to students’ use of social media. We use our pastoral support alongside the Personal and Social Development Curriculum, with Themes of the Fortnight such as anti-bullying and Internet Safety to educate our young people about the appropriate use of social media, including any risks and dangers. We know that as parents and carers you also devote time to ensuring your children know the dangers and possible consequences of the choices they may make when using technology. 

We also ask our parents and carers, via the Home school agreement to support the academy on the following points: 

  • Support the academy’s Behaviour policy by ensuring their child behaves appropriately at all times.
  • Maintain a smooth and effective communication dialogue with the academy ensuring contact information (phone number and email) is maintained and up-dated.
  • Monitor and promote the safe use of online platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
  • Take an active role in the education of your child
  • Support your child in adhering to the code of conduct

We would expect parents to support the Academy further by

  • Not engaging in discussions on Academy policies or procedures on social media
  • Questions about the Academy should always be directed towards the Academy 
  • To not report, speculate or discuss Academy topics on social media, nor comment on individual staff or other members of the Strood Community

The academy expects parents to use messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, for purposes beneficial to themselves and the academy. We ask that parents support our policies by not engaging in the following behaviour: 

  • Sending abusive messages to fellow parents
  • Sending abusive messages/emails to members of staff
  • Sending abusive messages about members of staff, parents, students or the academy
  • Sharing confidential or sensitive information about members of staff, parents, students or the academy
  • Bringing the academy or its staff into disrepute through the use of social media or messaging apps. 
  • Never misrepresent the academy online through social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

We are aware that there have been some unsubstantiated social media posts made relating to the Academy, from a very small minority of parents/carers of the Academy. This is disappointing and does not model using social media in a positive way to our students.  Using social media as a forum to share information can cause wider unintended consequences and unnecessary harm to individuals, groups or the operations and reputation of the Academy that your child or children attend. 

This use of social media does not fall in line with our Parental Agreement that you agreed to when sending your child to the academy. I appreciate that parents/carers have received significant amounts of information since their children started secondary school and you may have forgotten this element of our parental agreement.

The same expectations exist for our students in terms of using social media positively,  persistent cases of the inappropriate use of social media, will result in students facing a sanction, such as a Fixed Term Exclusion, if it is evident that the use of social media has been aggressive, derogatory or discriminatory in terms of content shared. 

To give reassurance to all our parents, carers and community members, the Academy will always support any occurrences both within and outside the Academy that may lead to the harm of any community member. If any reported incidents are substantiated we will act in line with the Academy’s behaviour policy. It is crucial therefore that social media is not used as a tool for reporting, sharing or speculating on any events that are alleged to have happened, as this can lead to inaccuracies, speculation and rumour-mongering that is harmful to establishing the facts of any events. 

We are very thankful that our community members continue to share information with us that allows us to best support our young people and our community members; this is highly impactful when it is shared directly with us. The sharing of information must be undertaken in a way that gives the Academy opportunity to investigate and respond appropriately. We would urge any parent or carer or indeed community member that needs to raise an issue connected to the Academy, to make contact directly.  We have organised coffee mornings previously which were attended by parents/ carers as a forum to raise concerns and we will continue to offer these throughout the academic year. 

As always we thank all our community members for their ongoing support of the Academy. 

Yours faithfully

Mrs Anwar