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Headmaster launches #parentsdecide initiative
The headmaster of Solihull School, West Midlands, has launched a joint initiative with parents in
a bid to stop ‘tweenage’ pupils accessing inappropriate social media content.
David EJJ Lloyd began the academic year by speaking out about the “very real” angst
pupils suffer from the relatively new phenomenon of Fomo –
Fear of Missing Out, the digital equivalent of keeping up with the Joneses, along with restricting the use of mobile phones during the school day.
Now, Mr Lloyd has teamed up with parents to provide a united front against what he calls a “very modern syndrome driven by technology and instant communication”.
Since launching #ParentsDecide, a campaign to empower parents to say ‘no’ to their under-13 child accessing social media, Mr Lloyd said: “I am delighted the response from our parents’ body has been so hugely encouraging. We have also seen a significant drop in
social media-related problems with our under-13 pupils but there is still much work to be done.
“We have, for example, been made aware of some of our younger pupils regularly playing online games with violent and sexualised content deemed inappropriate for children of less than 15 and 18 years of age.
“We are, therefore, reaching out to help parents feel emboldened in dealing with issues which many felt were slipping beyond their control.
“By taking the stance we did, we did little more than give a voice to parents’ concerns, encouraging them to trust their instincts and feel less anxious about policing their children’s Fomo.
“My colleagues and I are regularly made aware of the constant tensions parents experience between not wanting to be the only ones who say ‘the answer
is no’ and acquiescing to their under 13-year-old child using social media platforms designed for older users.
“Our initiative is simply to provide a conduit for parents to feel
they can say ‘no’ secure in the knowledge many others in our school community are also saying no for the right reasons – and not saying yes for the wrong reasons.
“By voluntarily signing up to #ParentsDecide, parents’ voices will become part of a collective – they will feel less alone when harangued by their pre-teen and more comfortable saying no.”
At the start of the 2017-18 academic year, Mr Lloyd and Solihull School told pupils that, while they were allowed to take phones into school, they were not allowed to use them during the school day – apart from A Level students within the Sixth Form Centre.
Mr Lloyd said: “Importantly, pupils have embraced the mobile phone changes at school, in many cases with relief.
“We can already see more face-to- face interaction as they get used to spending less time on their phones during the school day.
They also feel less peer pressure to have the latest phone.”
The lack of mobile phone usage
at Solihull supports the social media issues which the school is addressing. And it is not alone, earlier this year the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed his concerns about the impact
of social media on the nation’s youngsters and warned social media firms they could be hit by new laws if they didn’t do more to protect children online.
 Pupil Climbs Kilimanjaro
 A Moulsford Prep School, Oxfordshire, Year 6 pupil has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Moulsford’s school charity 2018/19.
During the Summer holidays and after many months of training, Max De Morgan undertook the enormous challenge to raise money for Moulsford’s school charity for this academic year, The Whale Company.
Kilimanjaro sits within the Kilimanjaro National Park, which stipulates a minimum climbing age of 10 years old (without special dispensation). Max was 10 years and 25 days old when he and his father commenced their 7 day journey to the highest point in Africa.
For the forthcoming academic year, Moulsford are supporting
a soon-to-be-registered charity called The Whale Company. An environmental organization,
the Whale Company’s mission
is to work with schools and communities towards developing a more sustainable world, with
a specific aim to find innovative solutions to the world’s plastic problem.
Max has set up a Just Giving page and has so far raised just under £8,000 for the Whale Company. If you would like to donate, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving. com/crowdfunding/christian- demorgan
Independent Schools Magazine 49

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