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Dear Parents/Carers,

As parents/carers you will understand that our role in supporting children is to help them understand how to use the internet safely and to build the interpersonal skills that allow them to flourish as active and responsible global citizens. In line with guidance that is in place to protect and safeguard children, Finham Park School would again like to take this opportunity to remind all students and their parents/carers that the minimum age for all social media platforms is 13 years, with the exception of WhatsApp, which has a higher minimum age requirement of 16 years in response to data protection legislation.

Across all of our year groups we are increasingly concerned by the number of incidents happening in and out of school hours on social media platforms. We see cases of bullying, discrimination, prejudice and unkindness; all of which are distracting pupils from their learning, causing upset and in some cases leading to serious behaviour consequences. We continue to speak to pupils about the dangers and recommended age requirements around social media. This is done in assemblies, lesson time, PSHE and mentor periods. Our strong recommendation is that parents/carers also discuss the dangers around social media and remove social media accounts from their child’s phone as appropriate, whilst also monitoring closely their interactions online where they are above the legal age.

Below are some websites that may help parents/carers in giving advice and support:

In addition, attached you will find two online safety guides – one for 11-13 year olds and one for 14+ year olds – I do hope you find them useful.

We do hope this will limit the number of discussions that contain highly inappropriate language, discriminatory language and inappropriate images. Instances of racism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination are considered serious incidents under our behaviour policy and, as such, does lead to severe consequences. We will continue to deal robustly with incidents of this nature where they spill over into the school day and where appropriate will advise parents to report hate crimes to the police, especially where they are taking place outside of school hours.

We are planning a session with all of our students on Tuesday 8th February (Safer Internet Day) but also appreciate your support in ensuring we are safeguarding the children in our care and urge you to revisit the social media platforms and online access that your child has.

Finally, can I again encourage parents/carers to share their views via the parent questionnaire link below so that your feedback can inform our decision making on policy and practice within our school

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Morey

Deputy Headteacher