Three female Leigh Academy students sitting at a table, working together.

Dear Parents/Carers,

At The Leigh Academy we pride ourselves on the behaviour and conduct of our students both in the academy, in the community and online. You may or may not be aware that there is a national trend on TikTok encouraging students to post short videos about their academies. As always seems to happen, when something trends on social media it starts with fairly good intentions and then becomes more and more derogatory – mainly because the more horrible you can be the more ‘likes’ you will receive.

Whilst we do have kind, caring and thoughtful students here, there is sometimes a disconnect when it comes to social media. There are examples of positive videos that have been posted but I am aware that there are videos on TikTok that have been created by our students, and have been ‘liked’ by our students, that are defamatory and very personal. We strongly believe this type of harassment is harmful and upsetting for teachers with a number of staff being targeted in a detrimental way. I am asking parents to support the academy by discussing appropriate use of social media with their children. Consider also using parental software to restrict what they can access and monitor where appropriate. We would also advise consideration to not allowing your children to have access to social media in their bedrooms so that this remains a safe space and reduces the opportunities to misuse social media.

The Safer Schools Police Team have asked us to share the following with our parents/carers.

“Can you please remind your child that this is a criminal offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988:

Where a person sends a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys a message which is indecent or grossly offensive, a threat or information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender.

So even if a child writes something about a member of school staff which is false or grossly offensive ‘just as a bit of fun’ or as a rumour and then posts it on social media – they commit a criminal offence.
The student may then be at risk of being excluded and/or subject to a criminal investigation.”

The Leigh Academy will also be launching its anti-bullying fortnight of activities from Monday 15th – Friday 27th November 2021. Once again, students will be participating in a variety of activities via their Healthy Mind lessons, Tutor Time sessions and assemblies. We will endeavour to discuss this type of online issue and the impact bullying or unkindness can have on the lives of those targeted.

The academy will take a robust approach to this matter and, where necessary, will hold those who bring the academy into disrepute, by wilfully targeting teachers, to account through The Leigh Academy behaviour policy.

Thank you for your support with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Lindars
Head of College