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Safeguarding notices

If you have any concerns about your child, please contact your child's form tutor, head of year or the safeguarding team at Greenshaw. 

Safeguarding updates will be posted below and on our Twitter feed @GreenshawHigh. There are also links to many useful resources about online safety here.

All safeguarding letters to parents can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


Sextortion (10th May 2024)

Important safeguarding update from Mrs Wallace, Designated Safeguarding Lead

There has been a lot of discussion in the news recently about the dangers of sexual extortion, often referred to as sextortion. The National Crime Agency (NCA) has alerted schools and advised schools to issue some guidance for parents and carers. It is unprecedented for the NCA to send such an alert to schools, which is an indication of the growing level of concern. This type of extortion is thought to be carried out by organised crime groups.

Sextortion often involves children being sent a nude picture and they are then asked to send one in return. They then receive threats that it will be shared publicly unless they meet the blackmailer's demands. As you can imagine, this can have a devastating impact on young people and their families. 

I have met with each year group’s student council to hear their views regarding safeguarding, including the receiving of nudes. This topic is also discussed in PSHE lessons.  

The message that we need to be giving our young people if this does happen to them, is to report it as soon as possible to a trusted adult and to not pay the blackmailer. Any member of staff they report it to will pass the information onto a member of safeguarding as a matter of urgency so that we can support them.  

Young people will often feel embarrassed and feel as if it is their fault if this happens to them. It is advisable that you start to have conversations with your child about this issue as this should hopefully reduce the stigma around it and help them to feel confident about reporting it if it happens. Here is a link to the NCA guidance in full NCA guidance on sextortion.


Help for the holidays booklet (March 2024)

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet here, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


24 top tips for young people

With next week being Children’s Mental Health Week (Monday 5th February to Sunday 11th February), Sutton's Education Wellbeing Service has some useful information to share with parents.

The information sheet emphasises the importance of open conversations about feelings and includes practical tips about what can be helpful and supportive. This resource has been crafted and informed by young people themselves. 

Sutton’s Information Hub which outlines the various forms of support available in Sutton for emotional wellbeing and mental health: Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health | Sutton Information Hub 


Parent Mental Health Day

Parent Mental Health Day is on Saturday 27th January 2024 and provides opportunity for parents and carers to acknowledge and discuss their struggles and share in their achievements of connecting positively with each other and the whole family, and to learn ways to connect positively to maximise young people’s mental health.

Stem4 is a charity that supports young people to build positive mental health. They founded Parent Mental Health Day in 2022. This year, they are offering a free webinar for parents and carers, focused on ‘Creating Positive Relationships’. The webinar is on Thursday 25th January at 7pm. You can sign up with this link: Webinar Registration - Zoom  

See the flier here.


Social media and gaming webinar

The NHS-in-School Education Wellbeing Service is offering a Webinar for parents and carers on teen's use of screen time, social media and gaming. You can sign up for one of the sessions by using this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/primary-parents-nhs-wellbeing-workshops-682309

See the flier here.


Beating the January blues

Monday (15th January) is ‘Blue Monday’, alleged to be the ‘saddest’ day of the year attributed to the dull/dark/cold weather and post-Christmas break lull. Sutton's Education Wellbeing Service has put together the attached resource pack with well-being advice/tips. A mindfulness pack is also available here.

The packs have been designed for students, their families, and school staff.


Help for the holidays booklet (20th December 2023)

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet here, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


Important privacy update for iPhone users (1st December 2023)

If you have an iPhone and have completed the recent iOS 17 update, they have installed a feature called NameDrop. This feature allows you to easily share contact information and photos to another iPhone by just holding the phones close together. This feature is defaulted to ‘ON’. To shut this feature off, go to Settings, General, AirDrop, Bringing Devices Together and change to ‘OFF’.


Vaping

Please ensure your child does not carry a vape on site. We will continue to impose serious sanctions for anyone with a vape on site. Mrs Wallace shared quite a lot of information about the risks of vaping last year (see below) and if you would like to find out more, there is a programme on BBC iPlayer called panorama-teenage-vaping-whats-the-harm?


Online safety update (10th November 2023)

It has been brought to our attention that a lot of young people in Sutton belong to some very large WhatsApp groups, some of which have over 1000 participants. Some parents have reported that there are sometimes inappropriate messages being circulated, so it is advisable that you talk to your child about being careful about joining large WhatsApp groups. Safer Internet Centre has lots of helpful advice for parents, including this article from last year about WhatsApp:
https://saferinternet.org.uk/blog/helping-your-child-with-whatsapp


Support teenagers' wellbeing and mental health

Our local Education Wellbeing Service is offering evening and lunchtime parent webinars across the year to help support teenagers' wellbeing and mental health. You can sign up to any of their free webinars here on Eventbrite. 


Help for the holidays booklet (20th July 2023)

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet here, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


Dangers of vaping for young people (22nd June 2023)

We contacted parents/carers recently to warn of the dangers of young people vaping and asked them to take steps to ensure that students do not carry vapes to school.  Here is the Children's Commissioners' summary of her concerns about youth vamping:  https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/resource/the-childrens-commissioners-response-to-youth-vaping-call-for-evidence/


Help for the holidays booklet (26th May 2023)

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet here, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


Vaping at school (19th May 2023)

I am writing to remind you that students are not allowed to carry vapes with them in school and we are asking for your support in ensuring that your child does not carry a vape to school.  There is increasing concern among health professionals about the impact of vapes on young people and we have educated students on these risks through our PSHE curriculum.  It is also illegal for vapes to be sold to anyone under 18 and it is illegal to purchase a vape for anyone under 18.  For these reasons we issue serious sanctions such as suspensions for anyone who brings vapes to school, and all students have been reminded of this.  

In recent years there has been an increase in teen vaping, as highlighted by the BBC and The Guardian. Worryingly there has also been an increase in vaping products not complying with UK safety requirements, for example research conducted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute with under 18s recently found that a quarter of the products they purchased should not have been on sale in the UK.  As a result of these concerns the government are launching a consultation on youth vaping as they want to gather more information; you can find out more here Youth vaping consultation
Medical professionals worried about the lack of research regarding the effects of vaping on the long-term health of children and young people and are calling for tighter rules regarding the packaging and advertising of vapes.  There can be large amounts of nicotine in vapes but it is inhaled in a vapour rather than smoke, which makes it a good way for weaning smokers off cigarettes.  They also contain other chemicals and their long-term effects on young people’s lungs, which are still growing and developing, are uncertain.   Dr Mike McKean, vice-president of policy for the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health said “If this was a medicine or a drug put in a tablet it would be incredibly regulated but it’s not – vaping should be regulated as a medicine.”  You can find out more about the risks in this Factsheet from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Teachers nationally are beginning to raise concerns about the symptoms of addiction displayed by students in the classroom and during break times, and the potential impact it may have on their learning.  We have also begun to see these signs in some of our students at Greenshaw.

Please talk to your child about the risks of vaping and take steps to ensure that your child does not have any vapes.  Please remind your child that we issue serious sanctions to anyone who brings prohibited items such as vapes to school.  

Lynda Wallace, Deputy Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead


Safeguarding letter to parents/carers (4th May 2023)

We have been contacted by the police based in Bromley asking us to pass on a message to you for your support. They are currently investigating an incident where an indecent image of a female child (not from Greenshaw) is being sent around to students at a number of schools. This is causing the victim a great deal of distress.  
 
Our students have talked in PSHE lessons about the law behind sending and possessing such images and the dangers of sharing indecent images of themselves. It would also be helpful if you could have a conversation with your child about this, reminding them that if such an image is found to be present on any student's device, the police will be involved.  
 
Taking, making, sharing and possessing indecent images of people under 18 is illegal. Here is a link if you would like to find out more about what the law says https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/indecent-images-of-children-guidance-for-young-people/indecent-images-of-children-guidance-for-young-people
 
Please also remember that we have lots of helpful safeguarding information on our website under 'care and support' – 'safeguarding', including a video from the online safety workshop that we ran for parents in January. Also www.internetmatters.org is a really useful resource.

I do appreciate that this is extremely hard to put to a stop to, and I really appreciate and value your support in helping us and the police to tackle this issue.  

Mrs L Wallace, Deputy Headteacher


Free online parenting support

Sutton has free online parenting support available to all families in the borough. The courses can be completed in short modules by families to fit round busy lifestyles. 

The feedback from families is very positive and they come away with helpful strategies and a greater understanding of their children. The courses cover a range of ages and are translated into a number of different languages.  Once a family is registered, they have access to all the courses that In Our Place has to offer. 

To take advantage of this pre-paid, locally funded offer, go to: www.inourplace.co.uk 
Use access code: TREE. Create an account (or sign in), and start learning!


Help for the holidays booklet

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet here, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


Practical help and advice for families

Together for Sutton provides support, practical help and advice for families: together for sutton


Support sessions for parents/carers

London Borough of Sutton provides informal support sessions for parents and carers. Sessions are held in Carshalton and Wallington. The coffee/information sessions offer a warm welcome, a cup of tea/coffee and a chance to sit and chat to other parents/carers. There are also guest speakers.

There are dates until December 2023.

For more information, see our website here.


Help for the holidays booklet

Please download our Help for the Holidays booklet from Frog, for all sorts of useful advice and support.


Tik Tok livestreaming age restrictions

Tik Tok has frequently been called out for its failures to protect under 18s using its service and it has been very popular amongst school aged children. This month Tik Tok is raising its minimum age for livestreaming from 16 to 18. You might already be aware that Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) and Google (which owns YouTube) have a minimum livestreaming age of 13.


‘Blackout Challenge’ on Tik Tok

There is a a Tik Tok trend that parents/carers should be aware of. Sutton Police Youth Engagement Team have contacted schools to let us know about a trend where young people are encouraged to take up the ‘Blackout Challenge’, which involves hanging themselves until they pass out live on Tik Tok, sometimes with fatal consequences. 

It is always difficult balancing the need to keep you informed of potential risks whilst also not causing alarm and anxiety, and not highlighting something to young people that they may not have been aware of.  It is not a new challenge and Tik Tok challenges do tend to disappear fairly quickly. 

Advice:

  1. Learn more by using the following website and subscribing to their newsletter: https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/esafety-news/tik-tok-app-safety-what-parents-need-to-know/
  2. Your child might have no idea about this challenge, so avoid mentioning it by name and just sensitively check in with your child and have an open conversation with them.
  3. You could suggest that you have heard about some worrying content in an online challenge and ask if they have heard about anything about that sort of thing.
  4. If your child talks to you about challenges, it is a good idea to visit https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/social-media-advice-hub2/ to learn about how to configure safety settings on the platforms they use.

Warning about the YUBO (Yellow) app

A problematic app that has recently had some media attention, YUBO (formerly known as Yellow) is being touted as a dating app for under 18s and is referred to as “Tinder for Teens”. Some of the most worrying features of the app are that it heavily promotes live streaming as the primary chat method and allows chat groups to be set up with no filter on content or topics along with features very akin to apps like Tinder, such as swiping left/right on profiles for people in your area. The Times and The Sun  have written about it. Pictured is the app logo.