Schools Commissioner suggests schools should teach all pupils ‘digital citizenship’ – Friday 6 January 2017

Welcome back!  This week I report on the publication of the Children’s Commissioner’s Growing up Digital Taskforce Report on equipping children and young people with adequate skills to negotiate their lives online, provide information on a SCHOOLS NorthEast Regional Governance Conference and congratulate those who were recognised in the New Years Honours  for their services to education.

Schools should teach all pupils ‘digital citizenship’, says Children’s Commissioner
Yesterday the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield said schools should teach ‘digital citizenship’ to all pupils aged 4 to 14 to help keep them safe online. In a report from her Growing up Digital taskforce, the Commissioner calls for 3 key interventions:

  • creation of a digital citizenship programme to be compulsory in all schools from age 4-14 (this would include what it means to be responsible online, how to protect your rights and how to respect those of others. It would also cover how to disengage and engage with the digital world);
  • implementation of the intent of the General Data Protection Regulation by introducing simplified Terms and Conditions for digital services offered to children;
  • a new Children’s Digital Ombudsman to mediate between under 18s and social media companies.

This follows confirmation by the Government in December that it is considering its position on compulsory PSHE as it attempts to get the children and social work bill passed.

The Commissioner is also supporting a proposal to review the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and bring the articles up to date for the digital age.

SCHOOLS NorthEast Regional Governance Conference – 30 March 2017
SCHOOLS NorthEast is holding a conference at Durham County Cricket Club in Chester-le-Street on Thursday 30 March to support those in school governance roles in carrying out their duties confidently and effectively. The event is also aimed at senior leaders who want to make sure they have a high performing governing board and those looking to recruit new governors. Belita Scott HMI, Ofsted’s National Lead for Governance will be a keynote speaker and key themes will include:

  • Ofsted and compliance: what is expected of governing boards and how to make sure you are inspection ready (including feedback from schools that have recently been inspected).
  • Selection and recruitment of governors: what makes a good governor and how can schools attract the right people.
  • The changing education landscape: helping governors and school leaders horizon scan the changes to come (including changes planned in the National Funding Formula and how schools will have to cope on ever tightening budgets)
  • The future economy: the Government is focusing on the destination outcomes for young people.
  • Pushing for excellence: best practice in governance (how leaders and Chairs can work more effectively together; the importance of external support; training and development for governors).

The cost is £40 per delegate with SCHOOLS NorthEast Partner Schools attracting a half price discount at £20 per delegate and you can get a third free delegate when you book two places. To book your place at this event, please email

New Years Honours 2017
Four people from the North East received an award in the New Years Honours for their services to education.  Many congratulations go to Tracey Booth, Chair of Governors at Churchill Community College who was awarded an MBE. She’s been Chair at the College for the past 15 years and is also a National Leader of Governance.