About the STAR Toolkit

 What is the Childnet STAR Toolkit?

The Childnet STAR Toolkit is a new online safety resource that offers practical advice and teaching activities to help secondary schools explore internet safety with young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

Developed in partnership with Leicester City Council’s Building Schools for the Future Programme, Childnet’s STAR Toolkit aims to increase the online safety knowledge of educators and empower them to support their learners to use the internet safely and positively.

The aim of the Childnet STAR Toolkit is to assist teachers in educating their pupils with ASD about the internet and safeguarding them against online risks. 

The four sections SAFE, TRUST, ACTION and RESPECT all feature the concept of friendship and emphasise the importance of finding the balance between online and offline interaction. At the same time, the resource is continually promoting a positive, fun and safe experience for young people with ASD.

The Toolkit has been developed with input and support from three schools in Leicester. We want your help to further develop this toolkit to better provide for young people with ASD so we would encourage you to share your experiences using the toolkit and any adapted resources or ideas that you have used.

 Hear from people involved in the project

Carrie Grant, celebrity vocal coach and TV presenter, is supporting Childnet’s project. She said:

“As a parent of two children with autism spectrum conditions, I know the huge potential that technology offers for communication and learning, but also the challenges that young people with ASD can face when trying to navigate the internet safely. My daughters love to use the internet, but I do sometimes worry that they could be too trusting with people online. With the launch of the Childnet STAR Toolkit comes the reassurance that educators now have a resource that will help young people to develop online safety strategies for school and for home, something which is essential in today’s digital world.”

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet, said:

“The Childnet STAR toolkit is designed to give schools the building blocks they need to develop a tailored approach to online safety for their pupils with ASD. By working with Leicester City Council and three fantastic schools in Leicester we have been able to develop a practical online toolkit that addresses the online risks faced by young people living with autism spectrum disorders, such as cyberbullying, contact by strangers and exposure to inappropriate content. Importantly, this resource is available to all UK schools free online. Through the teaching activity ideas and forum we want to encourage educators across the country to use these resources, and also to feedback and share their ideas and materials so we can collectively and collaboratively provide excellent e-safety education for young people with ASD.”

Jill Moult, a teacher at West Gate School, who were involved in the development of the Toolkit along with Nether Hall School and Ellesmere College, said:

“Teaching internet safety to young people with autism spectrum disorders can be a real challenge. This toolkit will really empower school staff to support young people with ASD to make good choices and keep themselves safe online.”

Leicester’s assistant city mayor with responsibility for children, young people and schools, Councillor Vi Dempster, said:

“I’m really pleased to be launching this innovative resource as part of our commitment to transform learning through the Building Schools for the Future programme. It’s vitally important that we keep young people safe online. This resource will help to tackle some of the challenges involved in ensuring young learners who could be more vulnerable are aware of the risks. It will help make sure that all our learners get the chance to benefit from the many positive learning opportunities the internet can offer.”