COVID-19: Updated Advice from INTO

INTO Advice – Online Teaching:

Where schools wish teachers to teach lessons through an online forum or platform, schools must develop a concise and agreed set of guidelines for teachers, parents, and pupils in relation to safe and secure use of such platforms. Schools should seek guidance from employing authorities in relation to online safety when endorsing such platforms.

Cognisance needs to be taken of the limitations and the possible lack of access to the necessary hardware and connectivity to ensure that all pupils have equity of access to the curriculum offered by the school.

Members should not deliver lessons if schools have not demonstrated taking every reasonable precaution regarding teacher and pupil safety, privacy, data rights etc during and after online teaching safety.

Teachers should not deliver one to one tutorials to individual pupils at this time, whether from home or in a school-based setting.

Teachers need to be aware of the identity of all participants within learning platforms such as Google classroom. Nickname and third-party email addresses should be discouraged as teachers cannot confirm the identity of the individual. Teachers can be open to abusive comments or negative statements from individuals whom they may presume are students within their class but are unable to confirm.

INTO Advice – Contacting Parents:

Essentially, spending time telephoning pupils has the potential to detract from the time that teachers actually have to remotely engage with pupils. While this may not be a GDPR issue, INTO has always requested its members to be cautious when contacting pupils at home, especially from their own homes or personal mobile phones.  INTO members 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. INTO strongly advises its members that they should not be required to contact parents at home as a matter of routine.

Members are reminded not to engage online with requests for information from individuals who claim to be requesting this on behalf of students. Teachers can only share information with those people listed on the SIMMs system as contacts. If the contact details are not listed on SIMMS for the purpose of contact and sharing information, then teachers must not respond to these requests. This can include members of the students extended family where details have not been added to SIMMs.

Where issues are identified in relation to pastoral or child protection issues, contact should be made by the relevant professional, identified through the schools agreed management structure or safeguarding policy.