DIGITAL detectives have helped lead the way in helping secure an online quality safety award for their school.

Staff and students at Beaumont Hill Academy, Darlington, part of The Education Village Academy Trust, have been presented with the South West Grid for Learning Trust 360 Degree Award for online safety.

The 268-pupil specialist academy supports children with a range of abilities from profound and multiple learning difficulties to severe and complex needs.

Beaumont Hill Academy e-safety lead Clare Steed said: “The award follows a two year project where we looked at all aspects of e-safety across the whole school and embedded them into all aspects of the curriculum.

“We launched the Beaumont Hill Facebook page this year following on from our parent and carers app last year, which helps keep everyone up to date with current online safety issues. We have strong lines of communication with the local authority, governors and the police and our students have excellent relationships with staff and always feel confident to ask for help.

“We know that our students in particular can be vulnerable, especially online, and the risks will only increase as technology advances, therefore we are delighted that we have been recognised for our hard work and commitment to keeping them safe.”

Alongside implementing online safeguarding procedures, the academy has also introduced a digital leaders group of tech-savvy students to flag up any cyber issues raised in school.

The group, which is made up of eight primary and secondary pupils, meets once a week to discuss any issues relating to e-safety.

“The group are our digital detectives,” said Clare. “They are the experts when it comes to going online and we are led by what they access to ensure staff are kept up to date on the latest trends and can access appropriate training.

“They also find out about any issues that students have online and bring them to the attention of the group where we can work together to reinforce regular safety messages and share good practice.”

Student Liam Austin, 16, added: “I was having an issue with cyber bullying and joined the digital leader team to see if it could help.

“We looked at things like changing user names and passwords and it stopped so now I can help other people if they have the same problem in the future.”