Accessibility Skip to main content

Pupils become the teachers for trailblazing safety campaign

 17 December 2014  |  

Murray Kerr and Mary Kirkpatrick won special awards for their outstanding contribution to the project!

Murray Kerr and Mary Kirkpatrick won special awards for their outstanding contribution to the project!

For the last twelve weeks, it's been a case of back to school for parents, grandparents and carers of young people at Kyle Academy in Ayr, as pupils became the teachers in a course aimed at increasing awareness of online safety and cyber security.

Developed by a computing teacher at Kyle Academy in partnership with Police Scotland – and currently being delivered by the Computing Science Department of Kyle Academy – the groundbreaking project covered topics such as online personal security, cyber bullying, online grooming, social network safety and many others.

And, recognising that many parents, grandparents and carers do not understand the modern virtual world in which young people now live – and the dangers they can face while online – the young people were also encouraged to raise these issues with their parents, grandparents and carers as homework assignments.

The idea had a double benefit – not only did it help increase awareness of what the young people were doing, who they were talking to and what they were sharing, it also helped their parents, grandparents and carers understand some of the virtual dangers they might face themselves, helping to reduce their own vulnerability when online.

Over the last three months, the school's younger generation has led from the front, helping to educate mums, dads, papas, grannies and carers – introducing them to social media and email – as well as online shopping – just in time for Christmas!

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said: "Modern technology is second nature to our young people and plays an increasingly important part in the school curriculum.

"This initiative is an excellent way of harnessing all that is good about the online world, in a way that keeps young people safe and secure.

"By then making them the teachers for the generations above, for whom the technology can seem new-fangled and daunting, family members get a much better understanding of how best to use it in a constructive and meaningful way."

Detective Superintendent Steven Wilson, Head of Cybercrime for Police Scotland said: "Police Scotland's key objective is to keep our communities safe. We recognise that individuals spend a large proportion of their time in the online world and it's critical that children are made aware of the risks.

"Instilling good practice at a young age will make children less vulnerable to some of those risks, and at the same time, empower them to share this knowledge with members of their family who may also be vulnerable.

"We are proud that the course we helped develop has been successfully trialled byKyleAcademyand hopefully many more pupils and their families will benefit from it in the future."

To mark the success of the a special assembly took place at Kyle Academy where all young people who completed the programme were presented with a "Police Scotland Cyber Security Certificate" as a record of their achievement.

Councillor Toner concluded: "What a fantastic initiative the cyber safety programme was and the support from Police Scotland has been outstanding.

"The feedback has been superb with many adults telling us it was refreshing to be taught by a young person, especially when it was a member of their own family.

"It's been a brilliant success and I'm keen for the impetus it has generated to be maintained at Kyle Academy – and possibly rolled out to other schools across South Ayrshire – and beyond."


Weekly newsletter

Follow us