Secondary school teachers across the county will this week (from Tuesday, 18 October) become the first in England to receive the latest training to help them better manage incidents of sexting in school.
The County Council already works closely with schools to deliver e-safety training and support for staff and parents and welcomes Nottinghamshire being the first county to roll out the training.
Council anti-bullying co-ordinator Lorna Naylor said: “This is a first for Nottinghamshire and will put our teaching professionals at the forefront of knowledge for this important area.
“We know that sexting – exchanging self-generated sexually explicit images and messages over text, social media or webcam – is a major issue in probably all our secondary schools and is creeping into primary schools too, which is clearly worrying.
“Correspondingly schools need to be armed with increasingly more effective strategies for preventing and managing incidents.”
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 online safety into their safeguarding policies.
“From our own schools cyber survey last year, we know that many of those involved in sexting were blackmailed or pressured into doing it once or twice while some said this happened to them more often,” added Mrs Naylor.
And just last month the NSPCC published a warning after figures showed the number of children seeking help over online sexual exploitation nationally shot up by 24 % last year.
One of the authors of the new national advice, Charlotte Aynsley, who is director at E-safety Training and Consultancy will be delivering the training to over 50 Nottinghamshire teachers – chiefly those also responsible for safeguarding and/or pastoral care at county secondary and special schools. She said: “It’s great that Nottinghamshire is the first to receive specific training on this very important issue.
“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.
“The training is turning the national advice into something practical for teachers in schools so that they are 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.”