Notts primary school teachers offered training to help manage sexting incidents

Primary school teachers across the county are next week (Tuesday, 27 June) set to receive the latest training to help them better manage incidents of sexting in school.

Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s children and young people’s committee, Councillor Philip Owen said: “Following the success of training for secondary and special schools last autumn when they became the first in England to receive the latest available advice, we quickly decided to extend and tailor this to the needs of primary schools.”

The first sessions earlier this year, attended by 60 primary school teachers, were heavily over-subscribed so next week’s extra workshop has been set up to respond to demand.

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“Sexting – exchanging self-generated sexually explicit images and messages over the internet  – is an issue in most secondary schools secondary schools, but we know that it’s now crept into primary schools too, which is clearly worrying,” added Coun Owen.

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“Correspondingly schools need to be armed with increasingly more effective strategies for preventing and managing incidents.”

Figures out earlier this year showed that 40 per cent of children get a mobile phone before they leave primary school. The same study also showed that young children are even more likely to be given tablets, with 400,000 nationally owning one by the age of ten.*

The County Council already works closely with schools to deliver e-safety training and support for staff and parents, so welcomed Nottinghamshire being the first county across the country to roll out new training last autumn.

Council anti-bullying co-ordinator Lorna Naylor said: “Given how tech savvy younger children have become, this obviously raises concerns about the dangers they are potentially exposed to online. Children can very easily share images and videos with one another sometimes quite innocently without realising the full implications.

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The new advice for schools is an update from the previous version – Sexting in Schools, what to do and how to handle it’, bringing it into line with national police advice.

It aims to support schools in making effective decisions about how to manage incidents and when to refer incidents to external agencies like the police or social care. And the update also supports Government guidance around schools incorporating their response to incidents of sexting into their safeguarding policies.

One of the authors of the updated national advice, Charlotte Aynsley, who is director at E-safety Training and Consultancy is delivering next week’s training to 30 more Nottinghamshire teachers – chiefly those also responsible for safeguarding and/or pastoral care at county  primary schools and academies.

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She said: “As this new advice developed, I spoke to many schools which were struggling to manage these incidents.  I also spoke to the local police and the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub in Nottinghamshire to ensure that the training is reflective of the local area and that we can support teachers and schools in dealing with these incidents. Obviously we are very concerned where younger children are generating and exchanging these kind of images and it’s crucial that children and their parents are effectively supported.

“The training is turning the national advice into something practical for teachers in schools so that they’re able to apply it to their local context. This, in turn, will give them the confidence to deal with incidents in-house, if appropriate, or refer them out to local police.”