$1.5 million extends Alannah and Madeline eSmart program

Victoria’s leading approach to cyber safety in schools has been extended for another three years, thanks to a $1.5 million investment from the Napthine Government.

Minister for Education Martin Dixon today announced the extension of the Victorian Government’s partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to June 2018.

Mr Dixon said the agreement would ensure the more than 1800 Victorian schools which have signed up to the eSmart cyber safety program will continue to receive support.

“The Napthine Government’s partnership with Alannah and Madeline Foundation has ensured Victoria is leading the way in Australia, with more than 1800 Victorian schools so far signed up to the eSmart program – which is far more than any other state,” Mr Dixon said.

“Young people are spending more and more time online, and our partnership provides schools with the tools to educate the entire school community, and ensure students use digital technology in a safe, smart and responsible way,” Mr Dixon said.

CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Dr Judith Slocombe thanked Mr Dixon for the Government’s ongoing support.

“This $1.5 million investment from the Napthine Government will allow us to continue supporting schools which face the challenge of the changing online environment. It will ensure they have access to the latest information and advice to support their students,” Dr Slocombe said.

“We know eSmart is working, with our independent evaluation results showing 98 per cent of principals would recommend eSmart to other schools. Already, a third of students in eSmart schools report that they now feel safer at school than they did a year ago.”

One of the key elements of eSmart is better connecting schools with the wider parent community and the Foundation is doing this by developing an online portal for parents seeking advice about online safety.

Since the launch of the $10.5 million eSmart initiative in 2011, Victorian schools currently completing the program include:

 1431 Government schools;

 80 Catholic schools; and

 313 Independent schools.

“The eSmart initiative has been a key part of our $14.5 million Bully Stoppers campaign and the Napthine Government is committed to continuing to share the important Bully Stoppers message – make a stand, lend a hand – with the whole Victorian community,” Mr Dixon said.

“Through Brodie’s Law, the Victorian Coalition Government has put in place the legal framework to protect young people; and through our continued support of eSmart and other initiatives we will continue to ensure young people are confident in the fight against bullying.”

For more information about the Alannah and Madeline Foundation eSmart program go to:

www.amf.org.au/esmartschools