1.1.The Wellington Community Office and Careers Office (WCO&CO) are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare and wellbeing of young people and staff. We believe that everyone, without exception, has a right to be safe and to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of
background and live a life free from discrimination. The WCO&CO recognise that children and young people learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure.
1.2. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective
care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. (Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2023.)
1.3. Online risk can be classified in three ways (UKCCIS Guidance):
• Content risk: children receiving mass-distributed content. This may expose them to ageinappropriate material such as pornography, extreme violence, or content involving hate speech andradicalisation.
• Conduct risk: children participating in an interactive situation. This includes bullying, sexting, harassing, being aggressive or stalking; or promoting harmful behaviour such as self-harm, suicide, pro-anorexia, bulimia, illegal drug use or imitating dangerous behaviour. A child’s own conduct online can also make them vulnerable – for example, by over-sharing their personal information or by harassing or bullying themselves.
• Contact risk: children being victims of interactive situations. This includes being bullied, harassed or stalked; meeting strangers; threats to privacy, identity and reputation (for example, through embarrassing photos shared without permission, a house location being identified, someone impersonating a user, users sharing information with strangers); and violence, threats and abuse directly aimed at individual users and/or groups of users.
1.4. Illegal contact, conduct and content (UKCCIS Guidance)
Some online risks can not only lead to harm, but also result in illegal activity such as:
• sexual grooming and sexual exploitation;
• creation and distribution of child abuse images;
• online aspects of child trafficking;
• physical and mental abuse of children;
• selling and distributing illegal drugs; and
• revenge pornography, harassment and malicious communications.
1.5. ‘Abuse/Misuse’ is inappropriate and illegal behaviour, including the social and psychological abuse of children and young people (UKCCIS Guidance).
‘Abuse’ covers a range of behaviours intended to be aggressive towards others. This may include:
• posting nasty and cruel comments to upset others;
• bullying (which includes excluding users intentionally from a group and also self-bullying)
• stealing personal information or content, and sharing it;
• impersonating someone to their detriment;
• online harassment or gossip; and
• physical or emotional abuse (such as hitting, choking, whipping, crushing, humiliating or verbally
abusing a child).
‘Misuse’ is about people deliberately using the Platform in the wrong way, often with the intention of abusing others. Examples of misuse include:
• intentionally using a service’s features to disrupt others;
• using anonymity to be cruel and unkind;
• creating fake profiles against the rules of the site; and
• hacking others’ accounts, abusive swearing, or creating multiple accounts for trolling.
1.6. This policy applies to all pupils of Wellington College (the College).
1.7. The purpose of this policy is to inform the users of Wellington Connect (the Platform) about the WCO’s additional responsibilities for safeguarding children on the platform and to enable all parties to have a clear understanding of how these responsibilities should be carried out.
1.8. The College is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all pupils in our care, and expects all staff, governors and volunteers to share this commitment. To achieve this, the College seeks to create a safe school environment and a strong pastoral system. Staff are trained to listen to pupils’ concerns, identify issues early and respond appropriately following agreed procedures. The College will consider, at all times, what is in the best interest of the child.
1.9. The WCO will take all reasonable measures to:
• ensure that users are verified before being approved for access to the platform
• ensure that pupils have received the Wellington Connect policy, code of conduct and all other important information prior to being invited to join the platform
• ensure that pupils are current members of the College Sixth Form before being granted access to the platform
• ensure that pupils have been invited to attend a session run by a Wellington Community team member/member of teaching staff outlining the expectations and standards of using the site.
• ensure that all users know how to report/flag any problem content to us
• ensure that all users are aware of the Code of Conducts and expected behavior. Student Code of Conduct and Adults Code of Conduct.
Abusive or otherwise objectional material that degrades other on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and class will be removed and if extreme will result in immediate and permanent restriction of your account.
The WCO considers abuse and disruption as using language likely to offend; harassing, threatening or causing distress or inconvenience; ‘flaming’ (posting something that’s angry and mean-spirited); bumping or creating duplicate threads; or posting in such a way as to cause technical errors.
• ensure that all users are aware that messages sent via the Platform are monitored regularly for safeguarding purposes and that any activity considered to be contravening safeguarding regulations will be flagged and dealt with as appropriate and in line with the College Safeguarding Policy.
1.10. The WCO encourages all users to connect and message one another within the Platform for safeguarding purposes. If you are planning to meet a student face to face, you should request that the student brings an adult/carer/parent with them or that the student’s parent/carer/adult has given permission to meet you via a pre-meeting call/email
1.11. In line with the College safeguarding policy, users will be removed from the platform if it has been deemed inappropriate for them to continue to be allowed access following an investigation or dismissal action at the discretion of the College.
Other Safeguarding Arrangements
1.12. Alongside the College, the WCO is committed to educating pupils about safeguarding issues. We will play an active role in working with the College on e-Safety.
This policy will be updated from time to time. Any substantial changes that affect your rights will be notified on our website and, as far as reasonably practicable, notified to you.
If you wish to discuss any of this further, then please do contact the Wellington Community Office: firstname.lastname@example.org 01344 444 023.
Updated September 2023