Online Safety Letter

A Post-16 student pictured writing in his exercise book with his laptop open in front of him.

Dear Parents/Carers,

Leigh Academy Bexley Digital Strategy – Online Safety

As an Academy we have always worked with software providers to indicate when a device account may be being used in an unsafe manner, such as by conducting inappropriate internet searches or document creation.

With the ever-changing landscape of technology, our practice must be kept up to date as it is a key part of our safeguarding duty. We are therefore now pleased to be able to announce that we are further developing this important protective layer for our students and staff.

We are working in partnership with Smoothwall to ensure that all Academy accounts and devices, whether inside or outside of school, are appropriately monitored. Smoothwall is a real-time, digital monitoring solution that flags incidents as they happen. Smoothwall monitors both keystrokes and screen views; where concerns arise, the Academy safeguarding team are instantly alerted when users try to view or type any content that could be harmful and breach our safeguarding policies.

This is a safeguarding led remote monitoring arrangement aimed at protecting all users from risks of online bullying, and students who may be at risk of wellbeing or safeguarding concerns. Data from student accounts is never seen in its entirety, but identified risk words and phrases are reviewed and risk assessed by Smoothwall and will be passed onto the school safeguarding team if they meet set thresholds of concern or risk. This is an important strengthening of our safeguarding arrangements to protect our users as we increasingly operate in electronic forums as part of our wider digital strategy.

The safeguarding team will review the content of the monitoring and will liaise with the relevant staff. They will consider if there is a need to further educate students, undertake individual discussions, set sanctions or provide any further support that is required. If appropriate parents/carers will be contacted to ensure we are working together to support our young people.

Technology is an amazing resource that enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices. However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge.

You may sometimes feel that your child has better technical skills than you do; however, children and young people still need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online. Issues that your child may encounter on the internet will vary depending on their online activities. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approached by another person, it is vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (

If you have any concerns about your child’s experiences online or in school, please contact your child’s college via the email address in the first instance and we will work with you to address these. The Designated Safeguarding team can also be contacted with details on the school website in the safeguarding section.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully

Mr P Wilson
Vice Principal, Designated Safeguarding Lead
Head of Woburn College