2nd April 2020
Schools should not ask staff to contact pupils who appear not to be engaging with online activities, with the exception of those who may be penalised in terms of examinations if they do not engage.
- Essentially, spending time telephoning pupils has the potential to detract from the time that teachers actually have to remotely engage with pupils. This additional workload could prevent them from fully carrying out the tasks to the required standards.
- While this may not be a GDPR issue, INTO have always requested its members to be cautious when contacting pupils at home, especially from their own homes or personal mobile phones. Normally there are specifically nominated home/school liaison teachers who are assigned this duty and INTO would expect that this continues.
- INTO must also be mindful that this practice of telephoning pupils at home, coupled with the perceptions of both pupils and parents, may have child protection issues.
- There could also be a potential security breach for teachers using their own phone numbers, computers/ devices and IPS addresses to contact students from home.
- INTO always advises its members to be aware and sensitive of pupils’ family circumstances which may not lend themselves to affording remote learning equipment. This will avoid embarrassment for parents/ carers where access to online materials may be limited or non-existent.
- In addition to the above point INTO always advises it members that in some situations parents and carers may have difficulty helping young people with the work set.
- During this stressful time INTO members are advised to be careful not to knowingly add to family pressures that may exist in some of our isolating households.
However, INTO does, because we represent a professional body whose main aim is educational achievement, accept that a gentle reminder to the parents of pupils, who may suffer a detriment if they are not engaging, be needed. This contact should only be with prior school approval. INTO would prefer this duty to be carried out by email.