Small Schools & Moral Leadership

Inspectors across the UK well recognise the high quality of small school children's behaviour and the quality of the education they receive in terms of life and living. In today's world serious questions are arising that challenge past values and the attached news item followed the very unfortunate false claims online in the McAlpine case and with online cyber bullying increasing. We include this item because our children deserve any such information that enables them to update their values in context, and relative to their age and stage of development.

A private school in Taunton now teaches pupils about libel risks on Twitter, Facebook and other social media in a move to prompt teachers to extend teaching on social media internet use and responsibility. It falls into the personal, social, health and economic education aspects of the curriculum. The scheme, which may be extended to older pupils, began with lessons on basic internet safety. Staff then realised that actually this was becoming quite a serious issue with things like parties on Facebook, and the traps students can so easily fall into. They were very aware how much the children use it.

Staff accept that celebrities tweeting the wrong thing is beyond school matters but it highlights how easily things can go horribly wrong. It's a good opportunity to tell children that even something that starts off as a joke or something silly can actually get you into a lot of trouble. They're also being taught to not even forward anything like that- in fact to be accountable. Older pupils are reminded that there are laws regarding defamation but for younger pupils the key message is the old adage: Do as you would be done to! The school believes their pupils need to know that whatever they say may just come back to bite them.