Pebbles Pre-School staff and visiting students are all subject to this policy.

Introduction

The widespread availability and use of social networking applications bring opportunities to understand, engage and communicate in new and exciting ways. It is important that we are able to use these technologies and services effectively and flexibly. However, as Early Years’ Practitioners it is vital to ensure that we balance this with our duty of confidentiality and safeguarding matters and the need to maintain our reputation.

These policy requirements aim to provide this balance to support technological innovations, whilst providing a framework of good practice.

Rationale

  • Such contact can blur the professional boundaries between the member of staff and the family.
  • Such contact can compromise confidentiality.
  • Such contact can place both the family and the member of staff in a vulnerable position.
  • Families and children at the Pre-School may struggle to differentiate between the roles of staff member and friend. They may therefore have expectations which the staff member cannot fulfil. This would compromise the professional relationship between the member of staff and the family member.

Implementation

No member of staff, nor the Manager is to use social networking forums to link up with current families of Pebbles Pre-School. Social networking applications include, but are not limited to: Blogs, Online discussion forums, Collaborative spaces, Media sharing services, ‘Microblogging’ applications. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, MSN, You Tube.

All Pre-School staff should bear in mind that information they share through social networking applications, even if they are on private spaces, are still subject to Copyright, data protection, and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and other legislation. They must also operate in line with our Safeguarding and
Confidentiality Policies.

Staff should always be mindful they should not contact families outside the usual work context, unless this is for matters entirely unrelated to their relationship in the Pre-School. For example, they are neighbours or there is a pre-existing friendship between them. Such relationships should be made known to the Manager at the outset by the member of staff and preclude that member of staff being a key person to the Children in that family. In this situation staff should ensure that they follow the KPre-School’s policies in regard to safeguarding and confidentiality.

Staff should be cautious when using social networking sites outside of work and avoid publishing, or allowing to be published, any material, including comments or images that could damage their professional reputation and/or bring the Pre-School into disrepute. This includes not publishing Pre-School matters or issues relating to the children or their families which remain confidential.

Staff are strongly advised to set their profile as ‘private’ and not allow access to any families and or carers.

This policy cannot cover every situation. At times staff will be required to exercise their professional judgment and if they are unsure about any situation should seek guidance and support from their Manager.