Sixth formers are trained to give internet safety lessons

  |  Published: Feb 12th 2015
Highcrest Academy pupils discuss internet safety
Sixth formers at a Buckinghamshire school are teaching younger students about the dangers of the internet thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with the County Council.

Pupils at The Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe have been trained since late last year to deliver presentations on how to stay safe online.

During the next few months, they will show the potential risks of the internet and will try to impress upon fellow students how their  ‘online behaviour affects their offline world’.

Alison Watts, a project officer from the Council’s Youth Service, has run the E Safety awareness training at Highcrest for 17 staff and 14 Sixth Formers. This helped the youngsters gain the AQA Level 1 - a nationally accredited award - in ‘Using the Internet Safely’.

“This is the first school the youth service has worked with to do this and we will look to roll it out if it’s successful to all schools across Bucks,” she said. “We have been extremely impressed with the way it worked at Highcrest, where the students were very engaged and enthusiastic. Internet safety is of paramount importance to our authority and every parent in this county needs to be aware it is an issue that simply cannot be ignored.”

On Tuesday, the academy marked Safer Internet Day by
showing online safety messages on plasma screens around the school

Students who are in the scheme told how pleased they are to be involved.

Head Boy George Carter, 18, said: “It feels good to get our perspective on the situation. We are there to promote the safety of the younger years.”

Khayam Salim, 16, said: “We live in a cruel world. There are lots of dangers on the internet. It will be good to help children understand these dangers.”

Petrina Prata, 16, said: “It helps you understand that not everyone is nice in this world and you don't have to put up with it.”

Mehek Junaid, 17, said the training had impressed upon students a valuable message when faced with peer pressure online. “Don’t be afraid to say no,” she said.

Jackie Dean, Network Manager at the academy, said: “The training has been great, as has been the fact the students receive a qualification from doing it. This has made internet safety easier to relate to for other students."

Paul Shaw, Head of Sixth Form at Highcrest, said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity for the Sixth Form students to use their knowledge and experience to help the younger students in the school in dealing with any issues that they may encounter online."

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