Award Resource Area – Social Media Policy
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All schools need to have a social media policy in place and backed by the governing body. A social media policy ideally should aspire, like an acceptable use policy, to take a positive approach to embracing the opportunities while providing a safe professional framework in which the school can operate.
School communities are often complex things with some people, employed by the school, often also fulfilling other roles such as parents. In other school communities the students are of the required age limit use social media themselves. Scenarios where students and adults my cross paths professionally need to have been clearly and demonstrably thought through. Realistic policy guidance should recognise how social media often shortcuts hierarchical and societal structures by accepting that negative actions, that bring the organisation into disrepute, will still trigger HR Policy measures recognising the issue is the person(s) not the technology.
Schools where mobile devices will in their policy want to recognise the benefits, risks and measures in place to pre-empt community members finding themselves in a precarious situation privately or personally
The Social Media Policy in school is often based upon a document that was based upon another document that was written by another person in a very different setting to the school. The policy my well be a model document handed down via a local authority.
One challenge, within the limitations of time and resources, that every school faces is making sure that their policy actually reflects the school setting.
Every school is unique and should try to avoid simply adopting the policy handed to them – this is a rare nowadays. The policy should aim to be promoted and owned fully by your school with clear reference to the unique context it has and the associated school policies it cross references such as HR.
The Social Media Policy is more than a box ticking exercise these days. To show that your community is engaged in the policy, keeping pace the change, it would be useful to also include appendices that deal specifically with the school’s policy on, for example, Facebook or Twitter use by the community.
School should ideally seize the opportunity to align with, reinforce or improve existing practice through it’s Social Media Policy. For example, if it is school policy for parents to report sickness and absence via a particular channel, social media can also play an active role in improving or reinforcing business processes.