Laptops for Schools
I want to explain something about the laptops that have gone out to homes, to avoid any future embarrassment or confusion. The devices have the same monitoring software installed on them as all other school devices do. Basically this means that the internet activity on these devices is monitored in the same way that any internet use at school is. Children and staff are used to this at school, but may not expect it at home. Obviously the devices are intended for use by the children for their school work. Whilst it is fine to use them more generally within your family, please bear in mind the Acceptable Use policy which you signed when you received one.
All devices in Birmingham schools are monitored as part of the policy on keeping children safe online. Harmful content such as swear words or searches for anything inappropriate are flagged. A screen shot of the activity is automatically taken and is sent to the school by the local authority. This activity can then be traced to the laptop and/or user. This even applies to emails that are written on the device- if a swear word is used, school will receive a screen grab. Chrome books are online all the time- so if you write anything inappropriate it will be flagged.
I have already received several screen captures from the devices that have gone out to families, which is why I am writing to you all. Sometimes it is because a child has made a spelling mistake which looks like a swear word, or because a word has been taken out of context. Once the screen grab is reviewed, it is obvious that no harm was intended and no further action is taken.
Children know that if they type anything offensive or search for anything inappropriate at school, we will be alerted. They might not realise that if they are on a school device at home, the same thing happens.
Obviously if we receive screen grabs which contain offensive or inappropriate material, we will alert you, and in some cases, where the Acceptable Use policy has been breached, we would have to ask for the device to be returned to school. Similarly, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of using a device with monitoring software on, you will need to return it to us.