Investigation launched after children saw pornography on Padstow School computer
SHOCKED staff at a primary school are investigating how pornographic images appeared on a classroom computer during an ICT lesson.
Pupils at Padstow School were innocently researching information about rivers when the images came on to the screen.
Head teacher Phil Banks said the school was working with the pupils and parents affected and would be offering them advice and guidance.
He said the school was also taking advice from the child psychology service and the local Safeguarding Children Board.
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The school says rigorous online filtering measures should have been in place, and the company which provided the school's information technology service had apologised.
A parent of one of the children who saw the images on the school computer said: "For a child to see those images is absolutely disgusting.
"Some of the images were just terrible. There are many parents I've spoken to about it and we can't believe this has happened at the school."
Mr Banks said: "The school is shocked and disappointed that this has been allowed to happen.
"We use a top-end, education-specific filtering service from South West Grid for Learning. This is the same service used by nearly every school in the South West. We rely on their expertise to ensure that our pupils don't have access to this kind of image through our in-school systems.
"They have issued a full apology to the school, and are now investigating the cause of this incident."
He said the school took internet safety very seriously and only a few weeks ago had run an internet safety week, where pupils were taught about staying safe when online with e-mails, Facebook and mobile phones.
"During the week parents were invited into school to discuss how to keep their children safe," said Mr Banks.
"During this particular ICT lesson, the teacher couldn't have done more to protect her children from these images. She had carried out the search herself prior to the lesson and not seen the images; they were quite a long way down the search results.
"She had also begun the lesson by telling children that if they did come across anything unpleasant, they should switch the screen off immediately and tell a teacher.
"At the end of the day, she was relying on the filters we have in place to keep her class safe.
"We obviously feel hugely let down by our provider and angry that our pupils were exposed to this risk."
Neil Roberts, who is the chairman of directors at Padstow School, said: "I'm no IT expert, but am at a loss as to how this can happen.
"Clearly we've been badly let down here by 'experts'.
"We take our children's safety very seriously and have purchased the top-level safety filter available to us.
"We will vigorously pursue how this could have happened and how we can ensure that it never happens again, in any school."