Penrice headteacher defends use of iPads folowing grooming concerns
THE PRINCIPAL of Penrice Academy in St Austell has defended the school's online security policy following concerns that students may be at risk from online grooming on iPads issued by the school.
Last week the Cornish Guardian reported fears raised by a concerned parent that iPads, which are issued to all students at the school, do not have any parental controls and subsequently put children in danger.
David Parker, principal at the academy, said he has confidence in the measures in place to protect children at the school.
"Penrice Academy takes the safeguarding of its students very, very seriously and has a national reputation for the effectiveness of its safeguarding and child protection procedures," he said.
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Mr Parker said the school has a range of methods in place to monitor any student's use of the devices and urged parents to take steps to help keep their children safe while at home.
"We take the iPads in regularly for random checks to monitor students' use," he said.
"We see the iPads every day in lessons and above all we clearly say to all parents, 'if you don't want your child to use the iPad out of school they can be left in school overnight; do not give your children the wireless internet key for your home network, or simply, take the iPad away from your child when they are not used for school work at home'".
He added: "iPads do not need to be connected for students to carry out homework. Our iPads only have wireless capacity, not 3G."
The principal said the school was committed to ensuring children remain safe online and the best tool to do this was through educating both parents and students.
"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that our students and their parents are well educated about e-safety and that our iPads are not misused in any way," he said.
"To eliminate risks to children from online devices such as iPads would also mean banishing, from every home, the TV, games consoles, mobile phones, laptops, PCs and tablets. Simply banishing iPads will not make children safer."