Cyberbullying: Advice for headteachers and school staff

Who is this advice for? 

This is non-statutory advice from the Department for Education for headteachers and all school staff on how to protect themselves from cyberbullying and how to tackle it if it happens.


All forms of bullying (including cyberbullying) should be handled as a community issue for the whole school. It is important that schools take measures to prevent and tackle bullying among pupils. But it is equally important that schools make it clear that bullying of staff, whether by pupils, parents or colleagues, is unacceptable. Evidence indicates that one in five (21%) teachers have reported having derogatory comments posted about them on social media sites from both parents and children.

School leaders, teachers, school staff, parents and pupils all have rights and responsibilities in relation to cyberbullying and should work together to create an environment in which pupils can learn and develop and staff can have fulfilling careers free from harassment and bullying.

Schools can offer support to parents on how to help their children engage safely and responsibly with social media, perhaps through a parents’ evening, advice in a school newsletter or signposting to other sources of support and advice. Creating a good school- parent relationship can help create an atmosphere of trust that encourages parents to raise concerns in an appropriate manner. Part of this is making sure that parents and carers are aware and understand how to communicate with the school. Schools should also make clear that it is not acceptable for pupils, parents or colleagues to denigrate and bully school staff via social media in the same way that it is unacceptable to do so face to face.

Schools should encourage all members of the school community including parents to use social media responsibly. Parents have a right to raise concerns about the education of their child, but they should do so in an appropriate manner.

Read the full guidance document here

UK gets new computing curriculum advice body

Architects of ‘computing’ for English schools extend reach with UK-wide curriculum outfit

Chair of UKForCE Chris Mairs

The UK has a new body to provide curriculum advice, qualifications and assessment on computing education. The UK Forum for Computing Education (UKForCE) has been set up by The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), which co-authored the new computing curriculum for English schools with the British Computer Society (BCS) for the Department for Education (DfE).

The UKForCE says it will also supply and train computing teachers, but its relationship with the DfE or other UK governments on this is unclear – it is an independent organisation.

The RAEng has set up the new forum to fulfil a recommendation in the report it co-produced with the Royal Society, Shutdown or restart: the way forward for UK schools. This called for the formation of “a lasting UK Forum for joint working and co-ordination between the many computing bodies”. Its purpose is to help implement the recommendations of Shutdown or restart and regularly report back on progress. One of its intended roles is to advise awarding bodies on “appropriate assessment methods for qualifications in digital literacy, information technology and computer science”.

‘Improving computing education across all education sectors of the UK’

UKForCE says it aims to “bring together representatives from across the communities of education, computer science, digital media, IT, engineering and telecommunications”. The press release announcing the venture also said it “will be independent of government and awarding organisations and will work towards improving computing education across all education sectors of the UK”.

Royal Academy of Engineering

“The new computing curriculum, which comes into effect in September 2014, is a most welcome step change in computing education,” says the chair of the new organisation, Chris Mairs, who is the chief scientist at Metaswitch Networks. “There are many amazing initiatives springing up to build upon this bold move both inside and outside the classroom.

“UKForCE will be the connective tissue between all these initiatives, central government and other relevant bodies. With a coherent voice and government commitment, our children will be the world’s most savvy digital citizens and a tremendous asset to the UK economy.

“As well as providing a springboard for great software engineers and computing specialists, effective delivery of the new curriculum can literally improve the life chances of an entire generation. UKForCE will help make this happen.”

‘We may soon see another Alan Turing emerging from our schools’

Simon Peyton Jones

One of the authors of the new curriculum and chair of Computing at School is Microsoft’s principal researcher Simon Peyton Jones. A passionate supporter of computer science, he hopes that “we may soon see another Alan Turing emerging from our schools”. He added, “We need to generate the same enthusiasm for computing that the BBC Micro brought about in the 80s and that got so many people into programming and brought the UK to the forefront of computer science.”

However, there are those who feel the computing curriculum for English schools has too strong a focus on computer science and programming, and that the same people who steered that through will also effectively control the new organisation. Observers will be looking for educators and known experts in teacher and learniing, rather than a controlling group of computer scientists on the board (see below).

‘We must ensure that young people of all abilities have opportunities to learn’

One UKForCE steering committee member who is an advocate for the wider understanding of   computing education is Bob Harrison. A Toshiba education advisor who also chairs the computing expert group set up by the DfE, he said: “Computing, in all its incarnations, is today one of the pillars of business and society; whether it’s digital literacy and basic software use, management of data and networks or advanced coding. We must ensure that young people of all abilities across the UK have opportunities to learn and be inspired by all aspects of computing education in schools.

“For UK businesses to flourish and for the UK to be an IT innovation leader not a follower, we need a fundamental change in the way that computing is taught in schools. Through UKForCE, we want to make sure the delivery of computing education in UK schools does not become mechanical and uninspiring, causing pupils to shun the subject when they move into work or choosing further education.”

Naace has welcomed the new body (it has two members – Mark Chambers and Bob Harrison – on the board) and says it is pleased by the wilingness to include messages of balance “not only in the curriculum”. Mark Chambers commented: The importance of computing in its widest sense to the UK  economy cannot be understated; it is imperative that we achieve  identification with this from the wider UK community and that learners  are offered a real and a relevant experience of computing throughout  their schooling.”

Computing in the National Curriculum – a Guide for Primary Teachers

The new national curriculum, due to launch in September 2014, includes a brand-new programme of study for computing (previously called ICT).

Computing at School and NAACE, with the support of the Department for Education and the involvement of the Hsis Computing and ICT Team, have produced a guide to help your school deliver the new computing curriculum with confidence and enthusiasm.

The guide has been written to explain the aims and content of the programme of study in more detail, and to give school leaders expert guidance on what is expected and how best to plan for implementation of the curriculum from September 2014.

Download a free digital version of the guide and share with colleagues.

The use of 3D Printers in the classroom

In 2012 to 2013 the Department for Education looked to explore new and innovative ways of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and design subjects that realise the full potential of 3D printers in the classroom. 21 schools participated in the pilot project to explore the potential benefits of using the device in STEM teaching. Some of the key findings from the project are:

  • early work with the printer was often a necessary trial and error process
  • the schools all relied on strong levels of in-house technical support
  • teachers emphasised the need for non-contact time as a crucial factor – it took some a few months for inexperienced teachers to become familiar enough with the printer and associated software to use it successfully and confidently in teaching
  • the printers had a highly motivational effect on pupils and most schools reported a greater interest in STEM subjects

To read the full report click here.

My first reactions to the new national curriculum – Miles Berry, Chair of the Naace Board of Management

Miles Berry, the Chair of the Naace Board of Management gives his first reactions to the new national curriculum, as posted on his blog today…

“Thursday saw Mr Gove publish the draft of a new National Curriculum for English schools. Not all English schools, of course, which means that the ideal of ‘entitlement’ which underpinned the whole project from Kenneth Bakers’ has been lost somewhere in the drive to academies. Independent schools, academies and free schools have autonomy over their curriculum and thus can opt in to the proposals. Indeed, some progressive heads may see Gove’s work as so reactionary that the price of giving up local authority support no longer seems too high for the freedom to create a curriculum around a love of learning and the attitudes, skills and understanding appropriate to a third millennium, rather than 19th century, education. A cynic might think that this was part of some Machiavellian hidden agenda…”

Read the article in full here… 

Move with the times. With a new curriculum for ICT Havering schools are leading the way…

The disapplication of the ICT programme of study was a gift to some, but not everyone has been in a position to embrace the new freedoms.  Luckily for schools in Havering, an updated curriculum was ready and waiting…

Read more about this in an article featured in this month’s TeachPrimary magazine:-



Thank you to TeachPrimary magazine for the permission to reproduce this article.  Subscribe to TeachPrimary here

For more information on Switched on ICT visit 

Fact – ICT is still a National Curriculum subject and maintained schools will still be legally required to teach it.

The following statement was issued on the Department for Education website on 6th September 2012.

“Myth: ICT is being removed from the National Curriculum.

Fact: ICT is still a National Curriculum subject and maintained schools will still be legally required to teach it. Ministers have already confirmed that ICT will continue to be a National Curriculum subject at all four key stages when the new National Curriculum comes into force in September 2014. However, the legal requirement on schools to adhere to the specific National Curriculum Programmes of Study, Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements has been removed. The existing Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets are still available. The difference is that from September 2012 schools can choose not to follow them and instead teach an ICT curriculum that is more appropriate for their pupils.

As part of our commitment to clarifying the activities schools are required to undertake, this myths and facts document addresses a number of common misconceptions and provides factual information on changes happening during the 2012/13 academic year.

The myths included in this document are based upon common questions received in letters to the Department and feedback from school practitioners. The myths cover a wide range of areas including: curriculum and assessment; inspection; health and safety; school trips; and staffing.

This document was last updated in September 2012.”