Mount Saint Michael, Rosscarbery

Acceptable Usage Policy

Mt St Michael Acceptable Use Policy


This policy states the commitment of Mount Saint Michael to comply with the EU GDPR as a Data Controller and with other relevant legislation. It applies to the use of school supplied electronic devices, software and wifi systems at the school.

Legal Obligations:

In addition to our obligations under GDPR, the implementation of this policy takes into account the school’s other legal obligations and responsibilities in the Public Interest. Some of which are directly relevant to data protection:

  • Under Section 9(g) of the Education Act, 1998, the parents of a student, or a student who has reached the age of 18 years, must be given access to records kept by the school relating to the progress of the student in their education;
  • Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must maintain a register of all students attending the School;
  • Under section 20(5) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, a principal is obliged to notify certain information relating to the child’s attendance in school and other matters relating to the child’s educational progress to the principal of another school to which a student is transferring;
  • Under Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must record the attendance or non-attendance of students registered at the school on each school day;
  • Under Section 28 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the School may supply Personal Data kept by it to certain prescribed bodies (the Department of Education and Skills, the National Education Welfare Board, the National Council for Special Education, other schools, other centres of education) provided the School is satisfied that it will be used for a “relevant purpose” (which includes recording a person’s educational or training history or monitoring their educational or training progress in order to ascertain how best they may be assisted in availing of educational or training opportunities or in developing their educational potential; or for carrying out research into examinations, participation in education and the general effectiveness of education or training);
  • Under Section 14 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004, the school is required to furnish to the National Council for Special Education (and its employees, which would include Special Educational Needs Organisers (“SENOs”)) such information as the Council may from time to time reasonably request;
  • The Freedom of Information Act 1997provides a qualified right to access to information held by public bodies which does not necessarily have to be “personal data” as with data protection legislation. While schools are not currently subject to freedom of information legislation, if a school has furnished information to a body covered by the Freedom of Information Act (such as the Department of Education and Skills, etc.) these records could be disclosed if a request is made to that body;
  • Under Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children(2011) published by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, schools, their boards of management and their staff have responsibilities to report child abuse or neglect to TUSLA -Child and Family Agency (or in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of TUSLA, to An Garda Síochána).

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The following pieces of legislation have relevance to internet safety:

  • The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998.

This Act legislates against anyone who knowingly produces, prints, publishes, distributes, exports, imports, shows, possesses or sells child pornography.

  • The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Regulation Act, 1993

This Act stipulates that telecommunication messages can be intercepted for the purpose of an investigation of a serious offence.

  • The Video recordings Act, 1989.

This prohibits the distribution of videos which contain obscene or indecent material which may kead to the depravation or corruption of the viewer.

  • The Data Protection Act, 1988 & 2003

This Act was passed to deal with privacy issues arising from the increasing amount of information kept on computers about individuals.

Details of these Acts can be obtained from:

School’s Strategy:

The Board of Management & Staff at Mount Saint Michael, Rosscarbery believe in the educational value and opportunities offered by the schools I.T facilities and recognise their potential to support the curriculum. Every effort will be made to provide quality experiences to students and teachers using these information services. However, inappropriate and/ or illegal interaction with any information service is strictly prohibited.

The use of technology in Mount Saint Michael should be in accordance with the ethos of the school. At no time is it acceptable to use any technology for the purpose of bullying, intimidation or hurting others.

The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the internet. These strategies are as follows:

General Guidelines for students:

  • The use of electronic services must be in accordance with the school’s educational goals and objectives.
  • All computer usage must be authorised and supervised by a teacher.
  • Students are advised that using their own devices in school are governed by this policy. In addition the unauthorised connection of a personally owned device to the school network is strictly prohibited.
  • Filtering software is provided in conjunction with the school’s broadband package supported by the NCTE, in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate school material.
  • The school will regularly monitor pupils’ network usage.
  • The distribution of any information through the Internet/ Intranet (this includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and any other web2 technology), email and any messaging systems through the schools network are subject to scrutiny by appropriate personnel.
  • The use of all I.T. systems, resources and associated applications are subject to Irish and European law and any illegal use will be dealt with appropriately through the school disciplinary process.
  • Uploading and downloading of any software (programs, images, music, videos, games and any .exe files etc.) is not permitted. If in any doubt a student should seek the teacher’s permission before any such activity.
  • Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
  • The use of personal devices, memory sticks, CD-ROMs, mp3 or other digital storage media in school requires a teacher’s permission.
  • Students are responsible for backing up their own work; the school; does not accept responsibility for any loss of material exam related or otherwise.
  • Students will observe good “netiquette” i.e. etiquette on the internet at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
  • Students are not permitted to play games.
  • Students may not enter the Computer Room without the permission and presence and students are not to in any way interfere with a staff device which are in most class rooms.
  • Food or drink is not allowed in the Computer Room.
  • Students must log off their online accounts correctly when they have finished using a computer.
  • Any behaviour or language deemed inappropriate during school applies online and after established school times. The consequences for such behaviour will be the same as if the student was in school as they are involved in prescribed schoolwork, on a school platform using a school log-in and which has been directed by school personnel.

Student allocated IT equipment by DES/SENO

  • Laptops provided to students by the Department of Education remain the property of the school and will be available for allocation to subsequent pupils with similar educational requirements.
  • All allocated IT equipment must remain on school premises during the holiday period.
  • The allocated IT equipment must not be personalised and is to remain with the original bag or case – which is only to be used to carry said IT equipment.
  • Any problems must be reported immediately, delay in reporting issues may result in unnecessary costs for students.
  • Breakage/damage caused by the misuse or manhandling of IT equipment will result in students’ bearing the cost of repair/replacement.
  • Only two accounts will be created on IT equipment – an Administrator account, only to be accessed by the schools IT team and a student account, protected by a password.
  • All IT equipment will be purchased only after consultation with the IT team. The IT team shall in conjunction with school management decide on the operating system to be used. Written submissions are required.
  • See circular 10/2013 on the DES website, for more information about the appropriate use of IT equipment allocated to students.

Personal Responsibilities:

  • As a representative of the school, each student must accept responsibility for reporting any misuse of the schools network to a staff member. Misuse may come in many forms, but it is commonly viewed as any messages sent or received that indicate or suggest pornography, unethical or illegal requests, racism, sexism, inappropriate language, any use which may be likely to cause offence and other issues described in this document.
  • Students must also take responsibility to keep a printed copy of work completed using IT equipment, it is not sufficient for students just to keep an electronic copy as physical evidence of work is required by the inspectorate.
  • Students will treat others with respect at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute, either within the school day or outside school hours.

Security and Monitoring:

  • It is school policy that all students have a designated online user account i.e. their own username and password criteria assigned by the school.
  • Students are required to keep this information confidential as they alone are responsible for activity which takes place on their account. Students found disclosing passwords to friends or using another student’s login information to gain access will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • A student identifies a security problem should notify a member of school staff immediately.
  • Any user identified as a security risk may be denied access to the system and be subject to disciplinary action.
  • The schools IT department reserve the ownership rights of individual student folders and as such may access these folders without seeking prior permission and may delete content if use is not in keeping with this policy.


  • It is defined as any malicious attempt to harm or destroy any equipment or data of another user or of any other networks that are connected to the system, this includes but is not limited to the uploading or creation of computer viruses, the wilful damage of computer hardware, whether connected to the network or not, the deletion of data from its place of storage.
  • Each student must report any damage to the class teacher at the beginning of class.
  • Should students cause damage to the IT system, they are required to bear the cost of repairs/replacement.

World Wide Web:

  • Students will not intentionally visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
  • Students will report accidental accessing of inappropriate materials in accordance with school procedures.
  • Students will use the Internet for educational purposes only.
  • Students will not copy information into assignments and fail to acknowledge the source (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
  • Students will never disclose or publicise personal information.
  • Downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
  • Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/ or network management reasons.
  • Any student found deliberately trying to bypass the schools web filter will be subject to serious disciplinary procedures.
  • IT facilities should not be used to make or post indecent remarks, proposals or any material which may bring the school into disrepute. Users are advised that any form of cyber abuse against the school/ another member of the school community is not tolerated. Any incidents of cyber abuse/ bullying should be reported to the Deputy Principal/ Principal and will be subject to disciplinary actions as set out by the Code of Behaviour.
  • Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/ or network management reasons.
  • Student use of Internet social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok etc. both inside and outside the school, must not bring the good name of Mount Saint Michael, any teacher, any staff member or student of the school into disrepute.
  • Students are advised of the permanent and public nature of posts made on social media and the potential consequences for the future career prospects which inappropriate material may represent.

Personal Safety:

  • Students will not post personal contact information about themselves or other people. Personal contact information includes addresses, telephone, school address, work address, photograph etc.
  • Students will not agree to meet with someone contacted online.
  • Students will not sign a ‘guest book’ on a web page on behalf of Mount Saint Michael Secondary School, Rosscarbery.
  • Students will promptly disclose to the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head any message received that is inappropriate or which makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Students will not use artefacts associated with our school (e.g. the school crest / logo) on personal web spaces/ pages.
  • Students will not use photographs or visuals of any school member without their express permission.


  • Students can only use email accounts using school addresses for school business
  • Work to be sumbitted only through a school approved platform, such as Firefly.
  • Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene and defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
  • Students shall note that sending and receiving email attachments (ony submissions that are subject work related are to be sent) is subject to permission from their teacher.

Internet Chat

  • Students are not permitted to access internet chat rooms or instant messaging while on the school premises.
  • Students may not create, access or sign guest books, message boards or bulletin boards.
  • Students may not create, access or contribute to weblogs (blogs) unless facilitated by a teacher.
  • The use of VoIP (Voice over IP), e.g. Skype, by students is prohibited unless accompanied by a teacher.


For protocols around Zoom, please refer to the school’s Policy for Remote e-Learning.

Mobile Phones

For protocols around Mobile Phones and other personal Digital Devices, please refer to the school’s Mobile Phone/Digital/Audio Device(s) Policy.

Online Ordering Systems

  • It is strictly forbidden for students of Mount Saint Michael Secondary School, Rosscarbery to use the school internet or school time for ordering goods or services online regardless of their nature.
  • In addition it is also forbidden for students during school time or using their school email to subscribe to any newsletter, catalogue or other form of correspondence via the internet, regardless of its nature, unless under the supervision of a teacher.

School Website –

  • The school website is controlled by the school authorities. The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher.
  • The school will endeavour to use digital photographs, audio or video clips focusing on group activities.
  • Personal pupil information including home addresses and contact details shall be omitted from school web pages.
  • Students shall not be identified in correct order in any school pictures.
  • The school will ensure that the image files are appropriately named – student names will be not be used to save image files or ALT tags if published on the web.
  • Students will continue to own the copyright on any work published.

School Learning Platform:

‘Firefly’ is our teaching & learning package and students will engage with this site for learning. Work can be uploaded to teachers through this platform and some communication bewteen teachers and students will take place via Firefly.

Personal Devices

  • Pupils using their own technology in school, such as leaving a mobile phone turned on, sending nuisance text messages, or the unauthorised taking of images with a mobile phone camera, still or moving is in direst breach of the school’s Acceptable Usage Policy.


  • Misuse of the school computer facilities in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour, sanctions may include verbal warnings, written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges and in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities. The use of the schools IT resources is a privilege and inappropriate use may result in that privilege being withdrawn.

School Strategy for Teaching Staff

Various technologies are provided and managed by the school and made available to staff to further their professional development and the education of the students in the school. Access to the school’s supplied technologies is a privilege and not a right. Any staff member or visitor who abuses this privilege will be immediately excluded from accessing and using the computing facilities. Exclusion from using school technologies will prevent the user from recovering files and using the facilities. The Board of Management may change this policy to include changes in the law or in the acceptable practice of internet use and reserves the right to make such changes without notice and whenever required. All users are responsible for ensuring that they have read and understood the current policy.

Use of Networks & the Internet

Users must not use the service for the transmission of illegal material. The user agrees to refrain from sending or receiving any materials which may be deemed to be offensive, abusive, indecent, hard-core or paedophile pornography, defamatory, obscene, menacing or otherwise as prohibited by current and future statutes in force.

  • The user agrees to refrain from sending or receiving any material, which may be in breach of copyright (including intellectual property rights), confidence, privacy, or other rights.
  • If you are in any doubt as the legality of what you are doing, or propose to do, you should either seek independent legal advice or cease that usage.
  • Pupils’ work should never be shared on social networking sites or websites other than on the school website. Sharing or making references to a student’s work, especially if it could undermine the student, is not acceptable.
  • Users should be aware that the storage, distribution of, or transmission of illegal materials may lead to investigation and possible prosecution by the authorities.
  • Users may not gain or attempt to gain unauthorised access to any computer for any purpose. In addition to being in breach of this AUP.
  • Users must not send data via the internet using forged addresses or data which is deliberately designed to adversely affect remote machines (including but not limited to denial of service, ping storm, Trojans, worms, and viruses).
  • Users must not participate in the sending of unsolicited commercial or bulk email, commonly referred to as ‘spam’.
  • Users are prohibited from running ‘port scanning’ or other software intended to probe, scan, test vulnerability of or access remote systems or networks except in circumstances where the remote user has given express permission for this to be done.
  • Users may not divulge their computer network passwords to third parties and must take all reasonable steps to ensure that such information remains confidential.
  • Access to the computer network should only be made using the authorised logon name and password.
  • The use of USB Sticks / Hard Drives for storage of personal data is prohibited.
  • The use of the network to access and/or store inappropriate materials such as pornographic, racist, or offensive material is forbidden.
  • In the interest of protecting the network from potential virus activity, the downloading of programs, games, screensavers, and wallpapers from the internet or uploading the same from disc or CD-ROM may only be carried out by the ICT Coordinator. This does not prevent users from using images taken and/or saved by them to set their desktop backgrounds.
  • Use of the computing facilities for personal financial gain, gambling, political purposes, or advertising is forbidden

.•Copyright of material must be respected, particularly with regard to the download and use of protected images for further use.

Note: Social media sites e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Hangouts, WhatsApp and other non-approved digital sites should never be used to communicate with students - and teachers have been advised accordingly unless to demonstrate examples of good work to parents and the wider school community but these will not be used for the conduct of teaching and learning. Any such activity will only be on the official school social media account (Facebook, Instagram).

Use of School Platforms (Vsware & Firefly)

  • In order to protect the information that is accessible on VS Ware, users must not divulge their logon details to third parties. Any concerns or queries must be forwarded and dealt by a member of the IT Team with Administrator rights on the VS Ware system.
  • Staff are to follow GDPR protocols.
  • Please refer to the following policies:
  • Policy on the Use of Technology for remote e-learning during times of unavoidable school closures.
  • Mobile Phone/Digital/Audio Device(s) Policy
  • Digital Learning Plan 2018/2023
  • GDPR Policies


  • Teachers will use approved school email accounts for all communications.
  • Teacher’s use of email is facilitated strictly in an educational context and access to personal email and/or social networking accounts is prohibited.
  • Users must not send any emails that are likely to cause distress or any material which is offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing, or in any way unlawful.
  • Users must not use the school network, or VS Ware software to send messages or emails to any user who does not wish to receive them.
  • The school network must not be used to send or distribute unsolicited commercial mail, commonly known as ‘spam’, in bulk or individually
  • Users, as senders of emails, must not use false mail headers or alter the headers of mail messages in such a way as to conceal the identity of the sender.
  • Where emails and attachments contain sensitive personal information, staff are required to encrypt these emails. Attachments including sensitive personal information should be password protected i.e. ensuring only the recipient(s) with a password can open and access the contents of the email.
  • Staff will not save copies of personal data to school-supplied equipment, eg computers, phones, tablets, USB sticks, Hard Drives.

The Board of Management & Staff at Mount Saint Michael, Rosscarbery strongly believe in the educational value and opportunities offered by the schools I.T facilities and recognise their potential to support the curriculum.

The Board of Management Reviewed and Ratified this Policy.

Date:----14th Feb 2022---------------

Next REVIEW DATE: Spring 2024

THURSDAY JUNE 20th 2024 from 930am-1230pm with Parents Information Session at 12 noon
Best of Luck to our 2 teams participating in the BT Young Scientist Competition!
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