Kelly Vaughan, Vice Principal
Work on bullying needs to happen as children are unsure what actually constitutes as bullying.
“We needed to find a way for the children to report”
We had some parents come into school saying their child was being bullied online but it hadn't been reported to us. We knew we had to do something different to what was already in place in school. We needed to find a way for the children to report what was happening but in such a way that they felt safe. We use Commando Joe's and they have links with tootoot, which is how we initially heard of tootoot.
Michael Brennan contacted our Principal - Jennie Westley - to explain a little about tootoot and ask if she was interested in a demonstration. We had a demonstration, really liked what we saw and implemented it as quickly as we could.
Every child in school has their own login - at present we have only distributed logins to KS2, with Y2 receiving their logins later in the year. Children have opportunities to access tootoot throughout the school day and they also use it at home. The set up was so easy! Tootoot did most of the hard work and we just had to launch it and give the children their logins and show them how it works. This was also a great opportunity to reiterate to our students the importance of being safe online and keeping passwords secure.
To launch to our students we dedicated a small number of assemblies to it and teachers used IT lessons to demonstrate it to the children but these were what we considered to be vital arrangements. The set up was also very quick! The part which took the most time was when a number of children (in their initial excitement) logged on just to say ‘hello’ and there were a number of cases to respond to which weren't actual cases. This was a natural response to something new being launched in school as we asked our students to do a test case.
“The support for set up and on going is excellent.”
There's always been someone at the end of a phone or an email who has been willing to help as and when we have had questions. The support for set up and on going customer service is excellent.
From our experience, our children are able to report anything that's happened as soon as they can - without feeling the pressure of peers or potential bullies seeing them talk to an adult. We can see patterns of behaviour - any particular names that crop up - and address them as necessary. It has also resulted in several safeguarding disclosures, which then enabled us to put in place the best courses of action for those children concerned.
“Tootoot saves us so much time.”
Tootoot saves us so much time. Children are able to share their worries much more quickly which means we can deal with them before they develop into a more serious problem. As a result of this we have recommended tootoot to a number of schools already. It's a really valuable tool for our children to combat bullying. Bullying - by it's nature - relies on secrecy and often the complicity of others. Tootoot means anyone can expose bullying behaviour in a way that feels safe. The anonymity aspect of it means people speak up when they might not have otherwise.
This case study involved a year 6 girl who was a high achiever had no behavioural concerns previously. We've anonymised it to protect those involved.
Student message on tootoot
“I really need to speak to you because lately I've been thinking about life and how I just hate mine and how I just want to die”
This became a safeguarding concern and mum & dad were advised. Mum came into school to talk about next steps and between us we identified areas of worry for the pupil which we are working closely with the family on. Her worries were around family illness, year 6 SATs, moving to high school.
The year 6 pupil meets with myself daily for 5 minutes to talk through what’s gone well and mum has put in quality time at home. She has also been referred for play therapy which is accessed in school to support her emotional well-being.
The family are also seeking advise via their GP but what this has done essentially is opened up communication within the family and the year 6 pupil has presented much more positively in school and at home. Whilst this isn’t a bullying case the pupils mum has expressed her thanks that we have such a system in place for children to access not just in school time.
Hannah Plews, Head Peer Mentor
Every school has bullying and safeguarding issues. If they say they don't, they are being untruthful.
“I believe in tootoot and it's effectiveness.”
We have an excellent history of dealing with safeguarding issues here yet we can't always know about everything. As a Peer Mentor co-ordinator, I believe in tootoot and it's effectiveness. I see how students love to use their phones and tablets to communicate and this provided an easier way to communicate concerns.
I have a team of 4 staff and 8 student Tootoot mentors who have been selected from my Peer Mentor team. I oversee the system and assign cases to people. I have all the Heads of Year uploaded as well so we can work with them on dealing with cases.
We use topics from cases studies as discussion points in my weekly meeting with the full Peer Mentor team and we plan intervention workshops or assemblies to help alleviate some of the problems students are facing. When setting up tootoot I had my ICT support assistant help me with the set-up.
“It was very easy and straightforward.”
She already had all pupils on an excel spreadsheet and she used that to upload everyone. She said it was very easy and straightforward to do and the continual ongoing support has been fantastic. I have found the video tutorials helpful on the website.
“My senior leadership team thought it was an excellent idea from the outset”
Also, any technical issues have been dealt with very swiftly and efficiently by Tootoot themselves. There was no disruption to school life at all. My senior leadership team thought it was an excellent idea from the outset.
Tootoot is helping us uncover issues before they are left to fester and turn into bigger problems. For example, there is a lot of anxiety around Year 7 transitioning to senior school. Many fret over homework, tests, new friendships. We have seen great success at nipping these in the bud before they develop into full blown anxiety and stress.
Also, cyber bullying has been addressed much quicker before that escalates. As a result of this it has saved us a lot of time dealing with incidents compared to that of face-to-face because a lot of the low level stuff was just not being reported. Witnessing a physical attack can be reported anonymously and dealt with swiftly.
Tootoot, in my opinion, will help schools uncover issues which otherwise may go undetected and, as I said above, allows concerns to be addressed before they become big problems in the mind of the young person.