Social Media Policy

This guide has been created for staff, parents, carers, guardians and students who access or use any social media to either promote the work or achievements of Stairways Music School and/or in a personal capacity.

IMPORTANT: We expect all students and staff to be full engaged during sessions and forbid the use of social media application usage during lesson or performance time. This ensures teachers and students remain focused and engaged. Students and parents are forbidden from posting any content filmed at Stairways Music School Limited on any social media platform. Please refer to our photography and filming policy. 

https://stairways.school/pages/social-media-and-media-waiver-policies

This policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, at least once a year by Stairways Music School limited who will amend this policy, following consultation, where appropriate.

What is social media?

Social media is the term given to web-based tools and applications which enable users to create and share content (words, images and video content), and network with each other through the sharing of information, opinions, knowledge and common interests. Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. 

Why do we use social media?

Social media is essential to the success of communicating Stairways Music School's work. It is important for some staff to participate in social media to engage with our audience, participate in relevant conversations and raise the profile of Stairways Music School's work.

Why do we need a social media policy?

The difference between a personal and professional opinion can be blurred on social media, particularly if you're discussing issues relating to Stairways Music School's work. While we encourage the use of social media, we have certain standards, outlined in this policy, which we require everyone to observe. Publication and commentary on social media carry similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary in the public domain.

This policy is intended for all staff members of all levels, parents, guardians, carers or students alike and applies to content posted on both a Stairways Music School device and a personal device

Before engaging in work-related social media activity, staff must read this policy.

Setting out the social media policy

This policy sets out guidelines on how social media should be used to support the delivery and promotion of Stairways Music School, and the use of social media by staff in both a professional and personal capacity. It sets out what you need to be aware of when interacting in these spaces and is designed to help staff support and expand our official social media channels, while protecting the School and its reputation and preventing any legal issues.

Point of contact for social media

Director or Business, Marketing and Communications - Mr John Bushell is responsible for the day-to-day publishing, monitoring and management of our social media channels. If you have specific questions about any aspect of these channels, speak to the Mr Bushell either in person or through email john.bushell@stairways.school

No other staff member can post content on Stairways Music School's official channels without the permission of either John Bushell 

Which social media channels do we use?

Stairways Music School uses the following social media channels:

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. Links can be found at the bottom of http://stairways.school

Guidelines:

Using Stairways Music School's social media channels appropriate conduct

  1. Mr John Bushell is responsible for setting up and managing Stairway's social media channels. Only those authorised to do so by the The head of Communications will have access to these accounts.
  1. Be an ambassador for our brand. Staff should ensure they reflect Stairways Music School’s values in what they post and use our tone of voice. Our brand guidelines as set out in our Business Policy sets out our tone of voice that all staff should refer to when posting content on Stairways Music School's social media channels.
  1. Make sure that all social media content has a purpose and a benefit for Stairways Music School, and accurately reflects Stairways Music School's agreed position.
  1. Bring value to our audience(s). Answer their questions, help and engage with them
  1. Take care with the presentation of content. Make sure that there are no typos, misspellings or grammatical errors. Also check the quality of images.
  1. Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.
  1. If staff outside of Stairways Music School wish to contribute content for social media, whether non-paid for or paid for advertising, they should speak to Mr John Bushell - Head of communication about this.
  1. Staff shouldn't post content about supporters or service users without their express permission. If staff are sharing information about supporters, service users or third-party organisations, this content should be clearly labelled so our audiences know it has not come directly from Stairways Music School. If using interviews, videos or photos that clearly identify a child or young person, staff must ensure they have the consent of a parent or guardian before using them on social media (photographs and video policy)
  1. Always check facts. Staff should not automatically assume that material is accurate and should take reasonable steps where necessary to seek verification, for example, by checking data/statistics and being wary of photo manipulation.
  1. Be honest. Say what you know to be true or have a good source for. If you've made a mistake, don't be afraid to admit it.
  1. Staff should refrain from offering personal opinions via Stairways Music School's social media accounts, either directly by commenting or indirectly by 'liking', 'sharing' or 'retweeting'. If you are in doubt about Stairways Music School's position on a particular issue, please speak to Mr John Bushell.
  1. It is vital that Stairways Music School does not encourage others to risk their personal safety or that of others, to gather materials. For example, a video of a stunt or any risky behaviour that could end in potential injury.
  1. Staff should not encourage people to break the law to supply material for social media, such as using unauthorised video footage. All relevant rights for usage must be obtained before publishing material.
  1. Staff should not set up other Facebook groups or pages, Twitter accounts or any other social media channels on behalf of Stairways Music School. This could confuse messaging and brand awareness. By having official social media accounts in place, Stairways Music School can ensure consistency of the brand and focus on building a strong following.
  1. Stairways Music School is not a political organisation and does not hold a view on party politics or have any affiliation with or links to political parties.
  1. If a complaint is made on Stairways Music School's social media channels, staff should seek advice from Mr John Bushell head of communications before responding. If they are not available, then staff should speak to Mr John Bushell director of communications instead.

If any staff become aware of any comments online that they think have the potential to escalate into negativity, whether on Stairways Music Schools social media channels or elsewhere, they should speak to the Mr John Bushell - head of communications immediately.

Use of personal social media accounts appropriate conduct

This policy does not intend to inhibit personal use of social media but instead flags up those areas in which conflicts might arise. Stairways Music School's staff are expected to behave appropriately, and in ways that are consistent with Stairways Music School's values and policies, both online and in real life.

 

  1. Be aware that any information you make public could affect how people perceive Stairways Music School. You must make it clear when you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Stairways Music School. If you are using your personal social media accounts to promote and talk about Stairways Music School's work, you must use a disclaimer such as: "The views expressed on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent Stairways Music School's positions, policies or opinions."

 

  1. Staff who have a personal blog or website which indicates in any way that they work at Stairways Music School should discuss any potential conflicts of interest with their line manager. Similarly, staff who want to start blogging and wish to say that they work for Stairways Music School should discuss any potential conflicts of interest with their line manager in the first Instance.

 

  1. Those in senior management, and specialist roles where they are well known in their field of expertise, must take particular care as personal views published may be misunderstood as expressing Stairways Music School's view.

 

  1. Use common sense and good judgement. Be aware of your association with Stairways Music School and ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to the general public, colleagues, parents, carers or students .

 

  1. Stairways Music School works with several high profile people, including Nandi Bushell. Please don't approach high profile people from your personal social media accounts to ask them to support the school, as this could hinder any potential relationships that are being managed by Stairways Music School founders. This includes asking for retweets about the School.

If you have any information about high profile people that have a connection to our school, or if there is someone who you would like to support the school, please speak to the Head of Communications Mr John Bushell to share the details.

 

  1. If a staff member is contacted by the press about their social media posts that relate to Stairways Music School, they should talk to Mr John Bushell immediately and under no circumstances respond directly.
  1. Stairways Music School is not a political organisation and does not hold a view on party politics or have any affiliation with or links to political parties. When representing Stairways Music School, staff are expected to hold a position of neutrality. Staff who are politically active in their spare time need to be clear in separating their personal political identity from, and understand and avoid potential conflicts of interest.
  1. Never use Stairway Music School's logos or trademarks unless approved to do so. Permission to use logos should be requested from Head or Director of Communications.
  1. Always protect yourself and the School. Be careful with your privacy online and be cautious when sharing personal information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so do consider the content carefully. When you are using social media sites at work, it is important that you do so safely. 
  1. Think about your reputation as well as the school's. Express your opinions and deal with differences of opinion respectfully. Don't insult people or treat them badly. Passionate discussions and debates are fine, but you should always be respectful of others and their opinions. Be polite and the first to correct your own mistakes.
  1. We encourage staff, parents, carers and students to share tweets and posts that we have issued. When online in a personal capacity, you might also see opportunities to comment on or support Stairways Music School and the work we do. Where appropriate and using the guidelines within this policy, we encourage staff, parents, carers and students to do this as it provides a human voice and raises our profile. However, if the content is controversial or misrepresented, please highlight this to the head of communications who will respond as appropriate

Further guidelines 

Libel

Libel is when a false written statement that is damaging to a person's reputation is published online or in print. Whether staff are posting content on social media as part of their job or in a personal capacity, they should not bring Stairways Music School into disrepute by making defamatory comments about individuals or other organisations or groups.

Copyright law

It is critical that all staff abide by the laws governing copyright, under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Never use or adapt someone else's images or written content without permission. Failing to acknowledge the source/author/resource citation, where permission has been given to reproduce content, is also considered a breach of copyright.

Confidentiality

Any communications that staff make in a personal capacity must not breach confidentiality. For example, information meant for internal use only or information that Stairways Music School is not ready to disclose yet. For example, a news story that is embargoed for a particular date. 

Discrimination and harassment

Staff should not post content that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual, on either an official Stairways Music School social media channel or a personal account. For example:

  • making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief
  • using social media to bully another individual
  •   p   posting images that are discriminatory or offensive or links to such content 

Protection and intervention

The responsibility for measures of protection and intervention lies first with the social networking site itself. Different social networking sites offer different models of interventions in different areas. For more information, refer to the guidance available on the social networking site itself. For example, Facebook. However, if a staff member considers that a person/people is/are at risk of harm, they should report this to the  ADSL's Mr John Bushell immediately.

Under 18s and vulnerable people

Young and vulnerable people face risks when using social networking sites. They may be at risk of being bullied, publishing sensitive and personal information on their profiles, or from becoming targets for online grooming.

Where known, when communicating with young people under 18-years-old via social media, staff should ensure the online relationship follows the same rules as the offline 'real-life' relationship. Staff should ensure that young people have been made aware of the risks of communicating and sharing information online, and given guidance on security/privacy settings as necessary. Staff should also ensure that the site itself is suitable for the young person and Stairways Music Schools content and other content is appropriate for them. Please refer to our Safeguarding Policy.

Responsibilities and breach of policy

Everyone is responsible for their own compliance with this policy. Participation in social media on behalf of Stairways Music School is not a right but an opportunity, so it must be treated seriously and with respect. For staff, breaches of policy may incur disciplinary action, depending on the severity of the issue. Staff who are unsure about whether something they propose to do on social media might breach this policy, should seek advice from the the Communications Manager or Director of Communication.

Thank you for complying with this policy.

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