An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is an important document which governs students’ use of the internet at school and covers a wide range of issues surrounding the rights, responsibilities and privileges – as well as sanctions – connected with computer use.
Ensuring Your AUP is Current and Effective
Ideally the AUP will be drawn up by the key stakeholders; the school staff, students, parents and Board of Management. The policy should be regularly reviewed and updated. As the pace of change in technology is very rapid the school must ensure that the policy and its procedures remain effective.
When revising or updating your policy, consider:
- Is the policy linked to other school policies, for example the Child Protection Policy; Anti-bullying Policy; Homework Policy; Health and Safety Policy and Behaviour Policy?
- Does the policy address all Internet Safety issues in the school? Are smartphones, WiFi plugins and other personal Internet-enabled devices included?
- Is the policy understood by students? Is it accessible to them and in language that clearly explains their rights and responsibilities?
- Is the policy supported by all classroom teachers, Resource and SEN staff? Is it supported by the parents?
- Is the policy supported by clear procedures should incidents of misue occur?
- Are all staff Internet Safety aware? Are they aware of their individual responsiblities in responding to certain types of incident? Are they aware of best practice in regard to their own use of social networking sites?
The AUP and the students
The school needs to make the sections of the AUP which apply to students accessible and in a format and language that is easily understood. Many schools provide Responsible Use Rules in school journals or on classroom noticeboards. Students should be enabled to:
“Discuss, develop, implement and evaluate an acceptable use policy (AUP) and procedures relating to using the Internet and email and using mobile phones.”