Last month the government launched a consultation on the new curriculum, setting out their plans to reform the National Curriculum in England.
Significantly for those with an interest in internet safety, the consultation document outlined plans to replace the current ICT curriculum with a new computing curriculum with a greater emphasis on computational thinking and practical programming skills. This represented a change from the current non statutory ICT curriculum, with e-safety not represented in the current wording for the changes to the KS3 curriculum, although mentioned for KS1 and KS2.
We believe that information, support and advice about staying safe online are absolutely vital for children and young people. Our ‘Have your Say ‘ research which was launched on Safer Internet Day 2013, showed that young people feel they have a right to be educated about online safety and it highlighted the age groups where provision of this education drops, as well as underlining the need for e-safety education at Key Stages 1 – 4.
Childnet’s response to the consultation focused on the need for the provision of safety education and ensuring that all children and young people are equipped to be confident and safe digital citizens, drawing on the experience of Childnet’s daily work in schools and hearing from children and young people as well as teachers and other school staff.
While welcoming the opportunity for teachers to be flexible and creative in the methods used to deliver e-safety content, Childnet’s response details the need for more guidance to support teachers in doing this and to provide a reference point for others and to ensure all children and young people are properly supported. The Have your Say research underlined the importance of comprehensive and balanced programmes of education on staying safe online, reaching children of all ages. We know that teachers and school staff also need to be equipped with the knowledge and up-to-date resources to communicate these important lessons effectively and to have the confidence to do so.
We believe that the new curriculum should provide an opportunity for all children to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of online safety. It is of the utmost importance that the national curriculum comprehensively covers e-safety messages to ensure that schools and teachers consulting the document are equipped and supported in providing wide-ranging and consistent education in this important area.
Childnet’s full response to the consultation on the reform of the National Curriculum.