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Social media policy

Social Media Policy

Dear Parents/Carers, 

It has been said many times before, but we are living in unprecedented times and we are all having to adapt in more ways than one. For many of us this includes having to adapt to new school rules and procedures that have been put in place for everyone’s protection during this pandemic.  

Whilst we all understand the why, the how is sometimes harder to come to terms with. For those of you who have been part of The Hills family for a few years, you will have grown accustomed to the open-door policy and sociable sense of community of the school, being used to exchanging daily pleasantries with your child’s teacher and other members of staff around school, and asking a quick question or voicing a concern. This easy, informal way of communicating has sadly come to an abrupt halt and is no doubt missed immensely by many. It can feel rather impersonal to drop your child off at the playground gate rather than the classroom door, although we all understand why we have to keep our distance at this time. It is not a decision that has been made willingly by the school, it has been imposed to reduce the risk of transmitting or catching Covid. 

Unfortunately, one of the by-products of having to socially distance in this way is that once the children are escorted into the building, it is easy to forget about the human interaction that happens inside. Some parents may not even have met their child’s teacher in person yet, which no doubt makes them feel even more detached from the situation and quick to jump to conclusions about what happens in the classroom, particularly now that remote learning is having to take place for some.  

It is natural in the first instance to turn to friends and other parents to question things or air grievances, and there are clearly many benefits to using social media to keep in touch while we have to socially distance, but it is important to remember that issues about your child’s learning can and should primarily be raised with your child’s teacher and/or headteacher. 

Unfortunately, it appears that what sometimes starts out as a legitimate concern or query on a WhatsApp group, for instance, can quickly turn into unfounded claims and false impressions. This can be hurtful to the staff concerned and can also damage the school community as a whole by fuelling misconceptions. 

The majority of these concerns are in fact easily resolved, and if brought to the school’s attention in the appropriate way will be addressed and dealt with correctly. The school still operates an open-door policy, albeit a virtual one at the moment, and there are several ways of contacting and communicating with your child’s teacher or the school office.  

While the current situation, including remote learning, is not ideal and therefore raises many more concerns than usual, the school has gone above and beyond to put several measures in place and to find solutions which are constantly kept under review and adapted as necessary. 

You can be assured that none of the decisions the school has had to make have been made lightly, they are not slapdash, although many are borne out of necessity. And while it is 100 percent right for them to be questioned by all concerned (governors, staff and parents) it is also right for us to put our faith in the school’s professional insight.  

As many parents no doubt realised while trying to educate their own children at home during lockdown, teachers do an incredibly hard job that most of us are unable to replicate. They are professionals in their field and because of this we should put our trust in them that they know how to educate our children and get the best out of them, whatever the circumstances. At the very least they should be given the benefit of the doubt and a chance to prove themselves before being condemned on social media.  

There isn’t a single member of staff who does not want what’s best for their pupils. The current situation is testing them to the limit and yet they continue to adapt and rise to the challenge during these uncertain times. School leaders continue to draw up various scenarios and balance them against just as many constraints to come up with workable solutions which are constantly reviewed. It is an endless task which they, for the most part, take in their stride. But we must all remain mindful of staff wellbeing and the impact that negativity on social media can have on everyone, which is why as governors we are supportive of the introduction of a new school social media policy.  

Teachers have been likened to superheroes in the media recently. They are key workers for a reason. And yes, they are capable of incredible things, but at the end of the day they are human just like the rest of us and they too are finding things hard at the moment. Let’s do them the courtesy of addressing any concerns through the appropriate channels. At the end of the day they want what’s best for every child.  

Yours sincerely,

The Board of Governors