Islington – Digital and Computing Strategy for schools and families

Written by Katy Potts, Computing and E-safety Lead for Children's Services, Islington Council

Katy Potts has been announced as London’s local champion 2017. Katy has worked for Islington Council since 1999, developing digital education services to schools and families. Before this she was a primary school teacher for 7 years.

Katy specialises in Online Safety  and sits on the LGFL Safeguarding and Editorial Board, has been an ICT Mark assessor and facilitated the NCSL Strategic Leadership ICT courses. Katy sits on the UK Safer Internet Centre Advisory Board.

She is a BETT Awards Judge and spearheaded the introduction of “Kids Judge Bett” event. She has supported educational projects in Romania, Nigeria, China, Portugal and Japan and every year acts as a guide for the Educational World Forum. Katy also helps run the TeachMeet event at the SEN (Special Educational Needs) TES show each year at Islington Design Centre #tmsen16 #tesSENshow

“Passionate about empowering every child and their family to be at the heart of digital transformation; to maximise the potential of technology in their learning, skill set, equipped for future career choices, as happy and successful citizens online and offline”

Katy facilitates and leads an education strategy and highly subscribed service in Islington and across other parts of London, in partnership with clusters of lead schools, a team of fantastic lead teachers and ‘digital leader’ pupils; providing weekly support in the classroom, plus resources and training for the whole school community.

The team work with leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, parents, children and young people in mainstream and special schools, PRUs and the private sector.

Partnerships are central to the strategy and Islington work closely with technology and educational orgs including BT, Microsoft, Twitter, BBC, Cas, Barefoot, LGFL, Childnet, Safer Internet Centre, Besa, Nesta, Rising Stars  and many Edtech companies. Supported by experts including Miles Berry and Maggie Philbin. For example, in 2017 Digital leaders and their parents judged Best at Bett show, #KidsjudgeBett; an Islington Lead Teacher, Donna Shah helped launch Nesta’s 1 mile rocket fund.

The key to the success of the service is the CPD and sharing good practice events, hosted in Tech City and Digital HQ e.g. Google. Regular events for pupils to showcase their digital projects (from class, code clubs and home) provides a platform to celebrate  learning, achievements and collaborate with peers and industry. E.g. Islington Computing Celebration, Emirates 2017  – 500 children from 40 schools, supported by over 30 edtech and tech orgs and supporters, #Islingtonschools.

Islington believe raising aspiration of all parents, children (including SEND) and the wider community is key to digital transformation (narrowing the skills gap) and the service delivers regular “Tech and Parenting” sessions in place of tradition E-safety parent sessions.  These promote creative and purposeful technology for use at home, as well as online safety, with digital leader pupils helping run the sessions and demonstrate tech and tips; for example, the Parent Breakfast Training “TechFast” led by Lead Teacher Dan Ferry .

Search “Islington Computing”  or #IslingtonComp on twitter and google for many articles, images and a timeline of activities.

The strategy has a core strand around young people’s resilience and understanding of digital safety and security, being a critical part of digital transformation.  The service has played a lead role (via the LGFL safeguarding group) in the development of many online safety resources, most recent Childnet’s ‘Trust Me‘, London Grid for Learning’s Counter Extremism project and Online Reputation Management guide.

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