Emergency notice

This policy is current as at 26/05/2020 07:01am, AEST. Please refer to policy library website (https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library) for an updated version.

Student use of digital devices and online services

Advice to NSW public school communities on managing student use of digital devices and online services, including restricting access.

  1. Policy statement
    1. This policy covers student use of digital devices (personal or school provided) and online services in school-related settings, specifically on school grounds, at school-related activities and outside of school where there is a clear and close connection between the school and student conduct.
    2. Every school is required to complete a school digital devices and online services procedure that aligns with this policy, as well as accepted school practices and requirements
    3. Primary school students must not use digital devices during class, at recess and at lunch unless approved by a principal or teacher. Exemptions may be granted by a principal or teacher, including allowing students to use a device for an educational purpose, or as part of a reasonable adjustment for student learning and wellbeing.
    4. Secondary school principals, in consultation with their school community, can restrict or permit student use of digital devices and online services in all school-related settings, including at recess and lunch.
    5. School staff are required to consider the needs of their students and their school community when developing their school procedure, including making reasonable adjustments and considering exemptions for individual students.
    6. Parents, carers, and, if appropriate, students themselves, can request the principal to provide an exemption from parts of this policy or the school procedure.
    7. Principals, in consultation with their school communities, can make decisions about participating in and implementation of a bring your own device program.
    8. Principals are to consult students, parents, carers and school staff when developing their school procedure. The Student Representative Council and the P&C Association may be consulted as appropriate.
    9. School staff should manage and report incidents of inappropriate use of digital devices and online services in accordance with school procedure, departmental policy and any statutory and regulatory obligations to help prevent any further incidents and provide support where required.
    10. If a student, parent or carer has any complaints relating to this policy, they should first follow the school's complaints process. If the issue cannot be resolved, please refer to the guide for students/ parents/ carers about making a complaint about our schools. The department's Complaints Handling Policy and procedures also provide information and links to other resources to support staff in managing complaints effectively.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All NSW public schools and students.
  3. Context
    1. The department provides guidelines, procedures and safe and secure technology-related resources, equipment and infrastructure to help protect students from harm and create environments where students can benefit from using technology.
    2. Digital devices and online services are an important part of everyday life, shaping the way children and young people learn, communicate, work and play. Learning environments, at school and at home, should support students to develop technological, social and emotional competencies. This support should maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of digital environments, and prepare students for life beyond school.
    3. Student use of digital devices and online services in schools is intended to enhance learning, wellbeing and educational attainment. Digital devices and online services can help students develop the skills needed for digital literacy, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal relationships and collaboration.
    4. Digital devices and online services may form part of the reasonable adjustments provided to a student to enable them to participate in school on the same basis as their peers.
    5. Digital devices and online services may cause harm if used inappropriately, such as to bully or intimidate others or gain access to and share inappropriate content.
    6. The department does what it reasonably can to provide safe and secure access to school resources, equipment and infrastructure, including internet connectivity, for students at school.
    7. This policy should be read in conjunction with other relevant departmental policies, procedures and guidelines.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Students' safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services is the shared responsibility of students, parents, carers and school staff
    2. Students:
      • use digital devices and online services in safe, responsible and respectful ways, as described in their school procedures and the Behaviour Code for Students, and support their peers to do the same.
    3. Parents and carers:
      • recognise the role they play in educating their children and modelling the behaviours that underpin the safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services
      • support implementation of the school procedure, including its approach to resolving issues
      • take responsibility for their child's use of digital devices and online services at home
      • communicate with school staff and the school community respectfully and collaboratively, as outlined in the 2018 School Community Charter.
    4. Teachers:
      • model appropriate use of digital devices and online services in line with departmental policy;
      • establish strategies and practices consistent with their school's procedures and deliver learning experiences to encourage appropriate use of digital devices and online services
      • respond to and report any breaches and incidents of inappropriate use of digital devices and online services as required by school procedures, departmental policy and any statutory and regulatory requirements
      • support parents and carers to understand the strategies that can be employed to promote their children's safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services;
      • participate in professional development related to this policy.
    5. Non-teaching staff, including volunteers and contracted staff engaged by schools:
      • be aware of the policy and act in line with the conduct described in it
      • report any inappropriate use of digital devices and online services to the principal, school executive or staff.
    6. Principals:
      • maintain a positive school culture that includes and promotes safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services
      • develop and implement a school procedure in consultation with school staff, students, parents and carers
      • inform staff, including new and casual staff, about school-based procedures
      • model appropriate use of digital devices and online services in line with departmental policy
      • respond to and report any breaches and incidents of inappropriate use of digital devices and online services as required by school procedures, departmental policy and any statutory and regulatory requirements
      • support parents and carers understand the strategies that will promote their children's safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services
      • provide teachers and other school staff with support and professional development in appropriate use of digital devices and online services and implementation of their school procedure
      • monitor and periodically review the suitability of their school procedure.
    7. Directors, educational leadership:
      • support principals to comply with this policy.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Learning Design and Development (Educational Services) and Director IT Service Operations and Security (Information Technology Directorate) are responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy and reviewing its effectiveness at least every three years.
  6. Policy contact officer
    1. Director, Learning Design and Development
      Ph: 02 7814 2327

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