Safeguarding

Online safety

I am hyper-aware of the importance of online safety and have undertaken a great deal of training in this area. All of my tutoring sessions begin with a unique, one-time generated meeting link, shared directly and exclusively with you via email on the day of the session. When working with children I do not use the recurring meeting feature, nor do I use my personal ID.


Many tutors use the same link with every single tutee. Doing so means that every contact they make - past, present and prospective - potentially has access to the same online meeting as your child; it also means that this same link could potentially have been shared with anyone (either accidentally or maliciously) over time. While the use of the "waiting room" feature grants the tutor control over who can join each meeting at any one time, students and/or their parents often request to join under a generic username, which can be difficult to verify. For me, that simply isn't good enough.  It is not secure or indeed practical to rely on the waiting room as your sole vetting process for who is trying to enter an online meeting when working with children.


Using a uniquely-generated link for each of your child's online sessions minimises the risk of their meeting link being accidentally shared with or otherwise available to unsolicited parties. Scheduling sessions individually in this way takes up some of my time each week, but it's worth every minute of it. I take safeguarding and my duty of care very seriously, and safety online means doing everything in my power to prevent a child's session from being interrupted by anyone but you. 

The use of Zoom

Following the huge increase in Zoom's usage for educational purposes when schools were asked to switch to online learning in 2020 and 2021, there has been some anxiety on social media about its safety. During the two periods of lockdown, a large number of teachers and institutions who were unfamiliar with the platform started to make use of it very quickly, with little to no training or guidance and - inevitably - problems occured; the most concerning issues arose as a result of links being accidentally or deliberately shared on social media and are the very reason behind the policy that I have outlined above. As someone who has been tutoring online since long before the pandemic and who prides themselves on their knowledge of online safety for children, I understand all of the risk factors and how to mitigate against them. Your child will be 100% safe working with me online.

 

Zoom enables screen-sharing, which means that I can show presentations, past papers, quizzes and other resources to your child. It does not, however, grant me access to or control over your machine. Unless you advise me otherwise, I will always invite you to the Zoom meeting along with your child (via your email address), which means that you can join the meeting and check on us at any time. Alternatively, or in addition, you are welcome to record any of the sessions so that you can view them at a time that is convenient to you; I will never record sessions myself as I do not believe that any tutor should be saving recordings of your child on their system; however, I am more than happy to advise you on how to record a session should you wish to do so. Finally, rest assured that I work in a private room and I use in-ear headphones; this means that there is no risk of any other householders either hearing or viewing your child during the session.

 

Data Protection and GDPR

Any data that I hold on you is password-protected and will be destroyed on request. Both my iPhone and my computer are protected by a complex pass-code and each file containing personal information is individually password-protected. My computer is protected by up-to-date anti-virus software and our WiFi connection is also protected by a unique password (not the standard manufacturer's code). I keep no physical records of your personal details. I will not share your data with anyone else except at your own request (for example, if you would like me to put you in touch with another tutor).

 

Unlike many tutors and most tutoring companies, I will not bombard you with email marketing: your email address is for me to contact you about your child's own tutoring sessions and/or their progress: nothing else.

 

I am registered with the ICO as a data controller, as any professional tutor should be in accordance with the law. I have also completed online training in this field with EduCare.


Safeguarding and child protection
As someone who is fully committed to safeguarding and child protection, I complete regular training in these areas and update my qualifications every year. I have held an enhanced DBS disclosure since I began teacher-training in 1999 and have signed up to the government's update service, meaning that this is automatically reviewed every year. I follow the guidelines published by the NSPCC on safeguarding advice for tutors and access high-quality resources through a training package called EduCare, which is used in most state schools. I have recently undertaken further training with Qualified Tutor Ltd, have been certified by them as a tutor operating at Mastery level and am on their directory of tutors, evidenced here. I am a member of The Tutors Association and signed up to their Code of Practice; I was also one of the members involved with designing and building their CPD platform. All of this ongoing training and practice ensures that I stay alert to and aware of the latest information regarding young people's safety, including online.