Graham Lowe, Chair of the Pan-Lancashire LSCB e-Safeguarding Group (covering Lancs, Blackburn with Darwen & Blackpool Council) shared the key findings of the 2014 Annual Lancashire County Council e-Safety Live Survey at our NW Positive Head Teachers’ Event in November 2014.
From an LSCB perspective, Graham supports taking a positive approach when using social platforms for parental/community awareness.
“It’s less about locking the technology down and putting filters in place…it’s more about [user] behaviour.”
With your help, parents and school communities across Lancashire & the North West of England have the opportunity to connect up with their respective schools & harness social media for good. The people, platform and priority are already in place!
You may have received our recent email about how we already help Lancashire schools reach and educate parents regarding e-safety matters. To arrange a meeting at your school or to slot us in to an existing agenda perhaps at Cluster level to take questions, just call 0843 523 5578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the Positive Heads’ Event…
strategic cooperative working between ourselves, Blackburn with Darwen Local Authority, Lancashire County Council as well as with colleagues in Wigan & Blackpool.
If you couldn’t make it to our event (20-11-14) where Head Teachers of schools we work with shared their stories, then you can catch up with these full length videos of their talks at your convenience.
We’ll be releasing executive summaries of each video soon but until they’re ready you’re very welcome to watch the full length talks below.
This week I went on to BBC Breakfast’s famous red couch for Blippit Social. I was lucky enough to be invited on to the programme to comment and advise on the use of social media by schools and attitudes of parents to the subject more widely.
The Inflame Game
The context for the piece was the question of whether or not a primary head teacher of a school had done the right thing by sending home a letter essentially telling them not to let their children go on Facebook, they were too young etc.
When Bill Turnbull (my mum’s favourite presenter second only to Michael Palin) asked whether the school had done the right thing I essentially said yes – for that school it was the right thing. Saying anything else would have been wrong and only inflamed the story. Not knowing or understanding the school’s context and history only the Head himself could say, on reflection, anything else. Every school is different and that includes it’s community; having worked with as many schools as we have over the years there’s no doubt about that. We do know now that done right, even Ofsted inspectors see huge value in our parental engagement approach.
Viewers’ comments on the BBC Breakfast programme Facebook thread on the day show that there is no one single view when it comes down to it. Parents do share the same essential views on safety but not necessarily the same view on what should be done and how to ensure it. Check the comments out to see what I mean.
It’s pointless to make it into a blame game
It’s a fruitless route to play the blame game in my opinion. We’re all old and wise enough to know
It’s not Mark Zuckerberg’s fault
it’s not the parent’s fault
it’s not the children’s fault
it’s certainly not the Head Teachers’ fault
It’s just where we’re at in our evolution; ‘learning’ how to use tools for which there are no real rules; only arbitrary age limits and everyone’s common sense.
The End Game?
What options are there then for young people, parents, teachers and companies on the best use of social media platforms linked to education?
raise age limits for access?
increase reporting tools to expedite action?
boycott social platforms?
boycott technology like phones, tablets etc?
enforce tough technology filters for home access?
enforce and introduce new legislation?
or support, educate and make users part of the solution?
And finally. Of course being a very British thing to do I landed lots of stick for being spotted on the TV so if you can’t beat them, join them.
We find certain data that we gather (and the pretty graphs it can result in) quite interesting because it helps schools answer questions and see the patterns more quickly in the intricate field of parental engagement using Facebook.
Topics of conversation
Topics are derived from conversations that friends, fans, followers and connections are having. The two graphs here represent – top level general discussion topics categories and more specific sub categories. It’s just the tip of the iceberg and we can’t wait to dig deeper to help schools understand the impact of their engagement with parents.
Below I’ve only focused upon ‘topics & more detailed sub-topics of conversation’ across our schools. If you take a look at the graphs below we’ve created by sampling across schools we support it seems not unreasonable to say that things don’t look too bad! Have a peruse. You may feel that more information is needed to infer a degree of success on the schools’ behalf in engaging with parents and I’d probably agree.
Next week I’ll be talking about how we’re now able to more confidently support Heads demonstrate and evidence impact brought about by engaging positively with parents on Facebook. Of course data is only ever just a part of the picture like with anything, but it’s one that we believe is important.
This term we’ll be looking at different strands that open up the parental engagement picture a little to help us draw conclusions about, for example,
whether people are on or off topic & if not why not
how ‘life’ influences engagement levels
At our Blippit Social CPD event next week, “The Positive Head Teacher’s Guide to Parents & Social Media”, we’re filming the whole thing so at some point that’ll get released for general consumption here on the blog and more on the data conversation will appear then. In the meantime I hope you might find the graphs below interesting at the very least.
The LPPA is a nationally recognised Quality Award for schools committed to investing in parents for the achievement of pupils.
Blippit Social works with some schools who are already working with schools where LPPA Advisers have worked using the LPPA Framework. Heads can also use or the LPPA toolkit for schools to promote good practice in parental engagement.
If your school is working toward or has achieved the LPPA then you can can now save money on Blippit Social’s managed Parental Engagement service by quoting the code in the special flier downloadable below.
Over this last couple of months in particular, the levels of engagement between parents and the schools we support have rocketed via Facebook. We began to get a clear indication on our social barometer that things have been heating up along with the weather since June and let’s just be clear; heating up in a good way.
It seems everyone has a to-do list of biblical length at this time of year. When you’re able to interact with parents via Facebook at the relative drop of a hat it takes a high level of emotional intelligence from a Head to weigh up the landscape before updating on something that may wobble end of term families – you know, the straw that may break the camel’s back?
So when things REALLY heat up after a parent shares a lovely letter that school has sent home with SATS results (yes that letter inspired by Kimberly Hurd) it’s a real test of any school’s steel to keep control of the message and not let the meaning become skewed in the glare of the attention that comes with going viral.
Barrowford School have been in a hurricane force media mash up this week that has been full of firsts. I’m pretty sure that Rachel and Amy haven’t probably had any professional media training to help them deal with ‘live’ news interviews via satellite, telephone interviews with radio celeb DJ’s like Vaness Feltz & R4’s Woman’s hour; yet unsurprisingly they excelled even when ITV tried to begin to plant a negative seed.
As the media amplified the story it circled the globe reaching arguably millions of people who almost without exception were inspired and invigorated by the letter.
However there are always, and this is a scientific name, nutters. These people come from a dark place and share a lens on the world that you probably wouldn’t wish on anyone. It seems that it’s their job to de-rail and distract from the core message. It’s now, when these people surface with ill formed views, that the school gets the opportunity to see
it’s own parental community demonstrate their emotional intelligence as a collective
whether it’s (brand) values have been shared and accepted by the parent community
For Barrowford School, in my opinion, they had no need to worry about their parental community who have been nurtured for a number of years by the school’s “rounded and grounded” approach to, well, pretty much everything! After all it was a member of their community who inadvertently triggered the viral spread of the letter on Facebook. So, when a couple of people came along who hadn’t reckoned on the core beliefs of the school community being quite so solid it was really quite special to see those people neutralised in pretty short order by that same community while showing real composure, I think, stemming from their belief and faith in the school.
Barrowford were the second school we ever worked with on how to harness Facebook and I’m glad to say we still do to this day. I wouldn’t have missed this week for the world as I’m sure the world wouldn’t have missed their story for anything else either – not even a cabinet re-shuffle seeing Mr Gove exit stage door right.
We’ve been in a ‘few’ schools over the years and it’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway: Every single one, unsurprisingly, wants to be the very best that it can be for the children and families in their community regardless of size, budget, town, borough, county, country or continent.
So who is best placed to advise a school on, for example, how best to reach targets or how to sustainably communicate better with parents? And what does ‘better’ mean anyway?
Sustainability is the ‘biggie’ and schools rightly look to themselves first and then trusted partners second more often than not. Blippit Social a unique service to schools where we help heads reflect, focus and distill down what it is they want to see arising out of their social media engagement with parents. We call it ‘harnessing Facebook for good’.
Whether it’s a village school of 40 children, a hospital school with a fluctuating intake or a high school with 1500+ students it’s always different but we’re now seeing patterns of use, adoption and development having done it for a while now.
the biggest monsters are in people’s heads
parent’s want schools to succeed
management and monitoring works (part of what we provide)
many people don’t know what they don’t know – talk helps
fishing where the parents are brings people together as a community