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					 Dryclough CE (VC) Infant School

            An e-mail policy




Taken from guidance given by ITCAS Kirklees LA
            Drafted January 2008



                1
Aims of electronic mail in school

   E-mail facilities have been provided in our school with the following general aims in mind:

          To equip students and staff with a life skill which is essential for further and higher education and the
           world of work
          To improve methods of communication between schools, the LA, DCSF, parents and other partners
          To improve staff and students‟ communication skills
          To improve students‟ knowledge of their own and other cultures
          To foster students‟ moral development, for example through developing tolerance, empathy and respect
           for others
          To meet government directives as described in the national curriculum, NGfL and the Information
           management strategy
          To improve administrative and management efficiency in the running of the school



Purpose and use of e-mail in school
   Our school e-mail system can be used for:

          Any activities which support the curriculum, school administration and management
          To enable local, regional, national and international collaboration between staff and students
          To supply and share information with other schools, the LA, parents and others, such as newsletters as
           deemed appropriate
          To enable parents to contact staff at the school if appropriate
          To make contacts between Governors and Parent Force if appropriate
          To allow personal use for social interaction at designated times
          To support school administration and management by improving communications with external partners
           and enabling electronic data returns to the LA and DCSF

   Our school e-mail system will not be used for:

          The distribution or forwarding of material which could be taken to be offensive by anyone reading the
           message
          Sending material which contains any abusive or offensive language
          Sending messages which may be threatening or bullying in nature
          Sending personal details to a third party
          Sending private information about another individual to a third party without permission
          Any activities which involve personal financial transactions
          Forwarding chain letters
          Forwarding large graphics
          Sending viruses or hoax messages
          Sending attachments unless specifically agreed in the school policy
          Participating in newsgroups and chat rooms unless directly relating to educational issues

Providing a safe and secure environment

          The e-mail account naming strategy will not enable individual students to be identified; therefore
           identifiable full names and dates of birth will not be used
          Individual e-mail passwords will be issued where appropriate
          In our Infant school it is more likely that there will be more use of generic accounts such as class, small
           group or year group, to which students may not be given the passwords
          Students need to be aware that they should keep their passwords private, and that they should not use
           another student‟s password
          The e-mail accounts for the children will be restricted, through the VLE (Digital Brain) to internal use only.
          Children will not be able to change their own passwords.



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         Students should never exchange personal details such as address and telephone numbers or arrange
          meetings using e-mail
         Care should be taken with the exchange of e-mail addresses, that they will only be used for legitimate
          purposes
         School will take all measures to ensure that e-mail accounts are managed in a safe and secure manner
         E-mail messages will be filtered for content in a managed system
         All outgoing messages from the school will have a tag line or signature giving details of the school and
          who to contact if the message is offensive
         The school has a policy for ensuring that virus protection is kept up to date and that all e-mails are
          checked for viruses
         Staff and students will know that all e-mail messages are monitored and could be read by the network
          manager or posted on a notice board
         The School will ensure that potential e-mail partners come from a genuine source
         Students will be required to sign an agreement together with their parents, possibly combined with the
          Internet policy agreement, showing they have an awareness of the rules about sensible use of e-mail.
          Anyone found in breach of the agreement will have their e-mail facilities withdrawn
         The safe use of e-mail is planned into the schemes of work for ICT and PSHCE.

Procedure for dealing with complaints and breaches of conduct

         Any complaints or breaches of conduct will be dealt with promptly
         Responsibility for handling incidents lies with the Head Teacher and the Senior Management team
         Students and parents will be informed of the procedure
         Parents and students will work in partnership with staff to resolve any issues arising
         The facts of the case will be established, for instance to ascertain whether the issue has arisen through
          home e-mail use or through contacts outside school
         There may be occasions when the police must be contacted. Early contact will be made to establish the
          legal position and discuss strategies
         Sanctions for irresponsible use will be linked to the school's Behaviour Policy and will consist of the
          following actions depending on circumstances:

             verbal warning
             interview by head
             letter home to inform parent or carer
             temporary withdrawal of e-mail privileges
             referral to police in an extreme case

Equal opportunities

         All staff will be given an individual e-mail account and access to e-mail software on the school computers
         School will ensure that the children have access to e-mail facilities within the “closed community” of our
          school as appropriate
         School will ensure that all students have access to e-mail facilities regardless of gender, race, social class
          and disability
         School is aware that not all staff and students have e-mail at home and take this into account when
          setting tasks


Code of conduct for users of the school e-mail system

         Staff and students should be aware that any message sent using their school e-mail account bears the
          school's e-mail address and is equivalent to sending a letter on school headed notepaper
         A good standard of English is expected and messages should be reread before they are sent in order to
          check for spelling and typing errors
         Typing in capital letters should be avoided (this is equivalent to shouting)
         Staff should check and reply to e-mails on a regular basis
         Messages should always include the sender's name and contact details
         The subject line should accurately reflect the content of the message
         Senders should avoid expressing strong feelings of disagreement in e-mails as this can lead to
          misinterpretation

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         Ask permission before forwarding or copying other people‟s messages
         The personal details of other people should never be disclosed without specific permission
         Avoid saying anything in an e-mail that would not be said to a person‟s face
         Keep messages short and use short paragraphs as these are easier to read
         Do not send attachments except in circumstances which are specifically allowed
         Always report offensive messages or hoax messages
         Do not use e-mail to threaten or bully others
         Develop good housekeeping practices by regularly deleting or filing old messages
         Never open attachments on a machine without up to date virus protection
         Spamming (sending the same message to many e-mail addresses) is forbidden
         Replies to e-mail messages may contain the key points from the original message but not all of the
          message
         Messages should not be sent to a mailing list without permission and replies to a message sent via a
          mailing list should only be sent to the person who sent the message
         Individual passwords can be used to protect attachments which are especially confidential, assuming that
          the recipient also knows the password
         Circumstances when e-mails may be printed are clearly understood
         All staff and students are aware that e-mails will be regularly deleted and are encouraged to save
          important messages and attachments in their network working space as appropriate

Organisation and management

         The school has a policy for the use of e-mail which has been agreed and shared with staff, students
          governors and parents
         School has a system for managing the signed student contracts and ensures that only those students who
          have signed have access to e-mail in school
         Strategies are in place for routine maintenance of the e-mail system including :

             password management,
             adding and removing user accounts,
             deleting old e-mails,
             printing e-mails
             storage and archiving of e-mails

         An agreed time limit is in place for deleting e-mail
         Virus protection is kept up to date
         The school has arrangements for adequate technical support for the e-mail system
         All staff are provided with training opportunities on the use of e-mail and its particular relevance to their
          curriculum area
         Procedures are in place for dealing with e-mails on matters of school administration and management :

             e-mails are forwarded or printed for dissemination to staff
             procedures exist for dealing with e-mail received during holidays
             procedures exist for dealing with e-mail during the absence of administrative staff
             appropriate personnel in school know the passwords of all the whole-school generic e-mail accounts


Strategy for allocating and naming e-mail accounts

         School has an agreed strategy for naming staff and student‟s personal e-mail accounts which ensures
          anonymity of students




                                               4
Technical issues

(a) Attached files

        Schools need to have a strategy for attached files. In reality, there is no choice about whether or not
        attachments are allowed since they are required for many good uses of e-mail but it should also be
        understood that attachments are the main cause of e-mail problems such as locking up the system, filling up
        the e-mail server and transmitting viruses.

        (i) Types of attached file

        If the speed of communication is very fast (eg over a school-based LAN or LA-wide WAN) and the amount of
        storage space on the server is massive then attachments can be of the usual common file types such as :

                doc         : Word document
                xls         : Excel spreadsheet
                ppt         : Powerpoint presentation

        In all other cases, especially where a modem is concerned, care should be taken to only allow file formats
        which are compressed to much smaller sizes than the original. Such formats include:

                      Text files
                      Rtf                               Rich Text Format is used to preserve all the formatting
                                                        features of the Word document
                      Txt                               Only contains the text of the document. All of the
                                                        formatting information is lost but the files are very small.
                      Pdf                               Used increasingly on web sites to provide compressed
                                                        versions of desktop-published documents

                      Spreadsheets and datafiles
                      Csv                               Comma Separated Values. A very simple file format to
                                                        produces small files with each individual item of data
                                                        being separated by a comma

                      Graphics files
                      Jpeg                              Massively reduces the size of photographic images
                      Gif                               A very effective file format for diagrams and Clip Art

                      General purpose
                      Zip                               A highly effective file format which can be used to
                                                        compress whole applications or batches of files into a
                                                        single file.

                      Music files                       Not really suitable for an ordinary telephone connection
                      mp3                               MP3 gives 10-fold reduction of CD-quality sound but one
                                                        song is still 3-5 Mb in size
                      Ra                                Much greater compression but with some loss of quality.
                                                        Files are often 100k – 1Mb in size.

                      Video files
                      Mpeg                              Given the current limitations on communications systems,
                      Qtm                               neither of these file formats give enough compression to
                                                        allow video files to be attached to e-mails although they
                                                        may be used internally on school networks

        (ii) Software to read these files

        Having decided upon the list of permitted types of file, it is essential that all computers used for e-mail have
        the software necessary to read the files.

                                                  5
                     File format                                   Software
                 rtf                   Microsoft Office, Corel Office Suite
                 txt                   Microsoft Office, Corel Office Suite, Notepad
                 pdf                   Adobe Acrobat Reader
                 csv                   Microsoft Office, Corel Office Suite
                 jpeg                  Paintshop Pro (and almost every other painting program)
                 gif                   Paintshop Pro (and almost every other painting program)
                 zip                   Winzip
                 mp3                   Microsoft Media Player, Winamp, Musicmatch
                 ra                    Real Audio Player
                 mpeg                  Microsoft Media Player
                 qtm                   Quicktime


       (iii) Size of attached files

       Where a fast internal network is used within a school, or where a broadband connection is available to the
       sender and recipient, then file size is unlikely to be an issue but in all cases, especially where one of the users
       is relying on a modem and telephone connection, great care should be taken to ensure that attached files are
       not too large for the person receiving them. This can be demonstrated most clearly in the following examples :

             Size of attachment                     Time taken to upload or download
                                      14.4k modem      28.8k modem       56k modem    ISDN2 line
             10k                      6               3                1             1
             100k                     60              30               15            6
             1Mb                      600             300              150           66

       All the figures are in seconds and are based upon optimum performance. Usually performance is much less
       than this – even 56k modems are commonly only operating at around 35k – so these figures show the best
       that can be achieved in ideal conditions.

       Schools should decide upon a maximum file size for attachments, according to the limits of their system, and
       cross-reference this to the code of conduct for using e-mail. In most cases, file size should not exceed 100k
       and should generally be very much less than this. As the use of broadband connections increases, the size of
       attached files can be increased.

(b) Virus protection

       Any use of e-mail can cause the spread of viruses. For background on the different types of viruses, a very
       article is to found at : http://www.sophos.com/virusinfo/whitepapers/videmys.html. There is also a useful
       article in InterActive (see „Coughs and sneezes spread diseases‟).

       Managed services will generally take care of virus protection of e-mails for their customers. Similarly web
       based e-mail, such as hotmail and schoolmaster.net, allow for attachments to be scanned for viruses whilst
       checking the mail itself automatically. Warnings about new viruses which are forwarded to all users, provide at
       best nuisance mail and at worst are hosts for attached viruses themselves. Attachments can easily contain
       any of the common virus types.

       Recommendations

       It is recommended that virus-checking software must be used on all incoming mails. Such software should
       already exist on a network but may need configuring for an e-mail server.

                Useful addresses:
                                 http://sophos.com
                                 http://mcafee.com
                                 http://drsolomon.com
       Policies should contain statements to cover the use of attachments and also clearly prohibit the forwarding of
       Virus warnings to anybody other than the system administrator.

       Administrative staff in school must be familiar with the requirements of the policy regarding virus protection

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