Acceptable Use Policy
The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet.
These strategies are as follows:
● Students are expected to follow the same rules for good behaviour and respectful conduct online as offline – See Code of Behaviour Policy
● Internet sessions will always be supervised by a teacher.
● Level 4 “Fortiguard Filtering Software” provided by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) is used through the school in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material. This level is currently used by the majority of schools in Ireland. It allows access to millions of websites including interactive educational games and 'YouTube', while also blocking access to websites belonging to the 'Personal Websites' category and the 'Social Networking' category. Therefore Websites, Blogs and Apps such as MySpace, Snapchat and Facebook are not accessible within the school. The school and teachers will regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage.
● Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted.
● Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
● The use of personal external and or portable memory devices in school requires a teacher’s permission.
● Students will treat others with respect at all times, observe good “netiquette” (i.e., etiquette on the internet) and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
● Students and teachers will be provided with training in the area of Internet safety.
● Students will be educated on the benefits and risks associated with using the internet.
● The children at St. Columba’s N.S. will be made aware of the importance of keeping their personal information private.
● The students will learn about the importance of informing and telling someone they trust if they feel unsafe or discover something unpleasant.
● The children will learn about the importance of treating ICT equipment with care, consideration and respect.
World Wide Web
● Students will not intentionally visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
● Students will report accidental accessing of unpleasant material to help protect other pupils.
● Students will use the Internet for educational purposes only.
● Students will learn not to copy information into assignments without acknowledging the source or author of the original work (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
● Students will never disclose or publicise personal information.
● Downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
● Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
● Students may be taught how to use email.
● Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
● Students will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
● Students will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or the internet.
● Students will note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.
● Students will only have access to chat rooms, discussion forums, messaging or other electronic communication that have been approved by the school and sanctioned by the class teacher.
● Chat rooms, discussion forums and other electronic communication forums will only be used for educational purposes and will always be supervised.
● Usernames and passwords will be used to avoid disclosure of identity.
● Face-to-face meetings with someone organised via Internet chat will be forbidden
Netiquette may be defined as appropriate social behaviour over computer networks and in particular in the online environment.
● Students should always use the internet, network resources, and online sites in a courteous and respectful manner.
● Students should be polite, use correct language and not harass others or provoke fights online.
● Students should also recognize that among the valuable content online, there is unverified, incorrect, or inappropriate content.
● Students should use trusted sources when conducting research via the Internet.
● Students should not post anything online that they wouldn’t want parents, teachers, or future colleges or employers to see. Once something is online, it is out there – and can sometimes can be shared and spread in ways you never intended.
THINK before you post
T - is it true?
H - is it hurtful?
I - is it illegal?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?
School Website –
● Pupils may be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the school website.
● The website will be regularly checked to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety of pupils or staff.
● The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher.
● Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on Web pages.
● Digital photographs, audio or video clips will feature groups of children only.
● The school will endeavour to use digital photographs, audio or video clips focusing on group activities. Content focusing on individual students will not be published on the school website.
● Personal pupil information including home address and contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
● The school website will avoid publishing the names of individuals in photographs.
● The school will ensure that the image files are appropriately named – will not use pupils’ names in image file names or ALT tags if published on the web.
● Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.
Students are allowed the use of the iPad exclusively for instructional use. The purpose of the iPad program is to enhance classroom learning.
Students will practice extreme care when using their iPad. The iPad will be transported exclusively within its appropriate case and handled with care.
Disabling, bypassing, or attempting to disable or bypass any system monitoring, filtering or security measures is not allowed.
Taking pictures of/adding filters to pictures of other children is not allowed.
Cyberbullying (See school anti bullying policy)
Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical conduct by an individual or group against others. Bullying is always wrong and is unacceptable behaviour which should never be overlooked or ignored.
Cyberbullying refers to bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile phone or other technological devices. Cyberbullying generally takes a psychological rather than physical form but is often part of a wider pattern of ‘traditional’ bullying. It can take the form of:
(taken from St. Columba’s Anti-bullying Policy)
Denigration: Spreading rumours, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for her safety
Silent telephone/mobile phone call
Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
Abusive text messages
Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
Abusive posts on any form of communication technology
● Any form of harassment using electronic devices, commonly known as cyberbullying is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
● Students are encouraged to report an incident or any communication that constitutes cyberbullying to the school or any member of staff.
● The school will take any report of cyberbullying seriously and will investigate credible reports immediately.
Students who make a report are requested to preserve evidence of cyberbullying, e.g. a screenshot or a copy of an email, text message, picture or any other electronic form.
● Staff will take appropriate action and will bring it to the attention of the principal when students report an incident of cyberbullying.
● Staff will attempt to preserve evidence of the cyberbullying and will submit any evidence to the principal.
● Bullying will not be tolerated and parents will be expected to co-operate with the school at all times in dealing with instances of bullying in accordance with the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.
Misuse of the Internet, including bullying or discrediting others, may result in disciplinary action, including written warnings, withdrawal of internet access privileges and, in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion (as outlined in the Code of Conduct booklet). The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.
Aim of the AUP
The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Previous versions 2011 and 2015.