An online safety project inspired by superheroes is to be unveiled in schools across five areas of Derbyshire as part of a joint partnership to protect children from exploitation.
Independent provider ESafety Training has been awarded the contract to deliver the I-Vengers Digital Leaders Online Safety Programme in a scheme jointly-funded by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa and Derbyshire County Council.
The initiative, which will be targeted towards children in KS2 (Y5 & Y6), will initially deliver online safety training to multi-agency professionals working with children across Local Children’s Partnerships in the county.
The I-Vengers programme will then be rolled out over two years to primary schools in the High Peak & Dales, North East and Bolsover, Amber Valley, Erewash, South Derbyshire and Dales, and Derby City areas where pupils will be selected to become I-Vengers leaders to help deliver key safety messages to their peer group as well as teachers and parents.
ESafety Training has developed a bespoke online digital portal based on the theme of heroes after consultation with children who took part in the pilot phase of the project.
The portal will enable ESafety Training Director Traci Good and her team to assist schools with their individual training needs in between school visits.
The project will run for 24 months and will be jointly funded, with the Commissioner investing £70k into the scheme across the two years and Derbyshire County Council providing £30,000. Both special and private schools have been included in the programme, which launches on September 1.
Announcing the contract, Mr Dhindsa said: “This is an exciting new project and I’m delighted to welcome ESafety Training on-board which has considerable experience of educating and empowering children, and their carers’, to make positive choices about their safety while online.
“One of the strengths of the project is the way in which it places children at the centre of the solutions and encourages them to use their voice to safeguard their peer group. We know young people respond well to other young people and through the project we aim to speak in the language and medium favoured by school pupils to ensure important messages are heard.
“The risks of online exploitation are growing however we can make a difference by arming children with the knowledge they need to avoid harm.”
Traci Good, Director of ESafety Training, added: “The I-vengers programme takes a holistic look at online safety, enabling young people to become peer educators in their schools and giving them the opportunity to educate their parents, carers and teachers. Completing tasks that are age-appropriate will allow them to think critically about how they interact with others when using online technologies.
“By moving away from the traditional ‘scare tactics’ that have sadly become common-place, we can allow children to become capable and confident explorers of the online environment. It is so important we work together in helping them become capable and confident explorers of the online environment.
“In paying attention to the little details, we can make a huge difference in families’ lives, protecting the welfare of children and young people online.”
A successful pilot of the scheme was launched in Chesterfield between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 which included face-to-face training of staff, pupils, parents and professionals from key partner agencies.
Based on the positive outcomes of the model, a decision was made to roll out the scheme to five other areas and deliver a consistent approach to online safety training across the county.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 3rd November 2020