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September 4, 2023

Schools warned of cyberattack threat as new year begins

  • The National Cyber Security Centre has warned school leaders that “appropriate security measures” should be put in place to defend against threats and prevent disruption as the new academic year begins. 
  • There is no indication of an increased threat, however the start of a new term means that the impact of attacks may feel more overwhelming than at other times.  
  • Vice president of the counter-threat unit at cybersecurity firm Secureworks, Don Smith, has said that creating accounts for new pupils and staff and a school’s stance on portable devices like laptops and tablets, could create vulnerabilities.  
  • Last September six schools in the same academy trust in England had their internal systems attacked.  
  • Whilst schools are not usually hit by concentrated attacks, they are seen as opportunistic targets as their defences tend to be less robust than other institutions. 
  • Mr Smith advised the need for “basic digital hygiene” to protect important data, for regular reminders to both staff and students on how to stay safe online. 
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.  

More school children to arrive in school with ‘dirty clothes and unbrushed teeth’ amid increase in hygiene poverty

  • A survey conducted on school staff in the UK for The Hygiene Bank and cleaning brand ‘smol’ has found that nearly three in four children (72%) school staff believe there has been an increase in “hygiene poverty” issues in their school in the last year.  
  • The survey findings suggest that of those who were aware of pupils experiencing hygiene poverty, 71% expect the levels to have increased by the start of the school year.  
  • 72% of school staff said they had seen pupils affected by hygiene experience low self-esteem. 
  • Dirty uniforms and PE kits, unwashed hair and unbrushed teeth were the most cited indicators of hygiene poverty by the staff questioned in June.  
  • Some school staff reported personally washing clothing for children at home and handing out laundry detergent for struggling families.  
  • For more, please visit the Independent’s website.  

The following stories may be regionalised:

Scotland facing ‘astronomical’ levels of online child abuse

  • Figures from the NSPCC showed that 3,500 online grooming crimes were recorded by Police Scotland, with 1,873 taking place against primary school children. 
  • The NSPCC says young people cannot wait any longer legislation to force tech giants to put online safety measures in place. 
  • The Online Safety Bill will be put forward to MPs next month and will have substantial impacts on children’s online safety. 
  • Regulator Ofcom will be given powers to ask messaging services to monitor users, including WhatsApp and Signal. 
  • They fear the legislation could undermine end-to-end encryption, which is a vital way of ensuring a message can only be read by the recipient and the sender. 
  • For more, please visit The Sunday Post website. 

One in five children regularly misses school, figures show

  • The children’s commissioner said some find it easier at home, such as children who play truant, experience anxiety or have educational needs. 
  • Pre-pandemic, just over one in 10 students were persistently absent. 
  • Over the last academic year, the Department for Education (DfE) reported 22.3% of pupils in England were persistently absent. 
  • Dame Rachel de Souza stated it is very important to get those children who felt anxious and “refusing on an emotional basis” back to school. 
  • There is evidence that if children miss more than a day in the first week of term, 55% go on to be persistently absent for the rest of the term. 
  • Currently, parents in England face £60 fines if their child miss school, which rise to £120 if not paid within 21 days. 
  • A DfE spokesperson told the BBC that “attending school is vital for children’s development” and they are “prioritising driving up attendance rates, including for vulnerable children”. 
  • They went on to say: “we are also increasing high needs funding by a further £440 million for 2024/5 bringing total funding to £10.5 billion”. 
  • This figure is a 60% increase since 2019/20. 
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.