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Protocol

THE STEVE SINNOTT FOUNDATION

PROTOCOL

for the operation of the Foundation's worldwide online community




Background to the Protocol

1. The Foundation’s stated objective is to promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for education. One of the principal methods by which the Foundation pursues that objective is by the establishment of an internet based worldwide community in which people and organisations, in particular teachers and educators, can share their knowledge, experience and expertise.

2. We wish to make access to the community widely available. We have made registration on the community website open and we welcome active participants from many different points of view. The Foundation itself has no religious commitments. We welcome contributors from all faiths and none.

Values and Rules

3. We do however work to a set of values. They are the values of Steve Sinnott himself shared by the founding directors of the Foundation. We reserve the right to deny access to the site to anyone who appears to us to reject those values and we will not support or promote projects which appear to us to be inconsistent with those values.

4. The following rules will therefore be applied by the Foundation in its management of the online community. The list is not exhaustive. We may refuse access to the community to any person or organisation for any reason which the Foundation directors think justified. We may remove registrations and we may delete PROJECT entries and Forum comments at our discretion.

a) The Foundation will not accept material which itself constitutes criminal behaviour nor material which constitutes incitement to crime The Foundation will not support or promote any organisation or project which engages in behaviour which would be regarded as criminal within the framework of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights or which incites or condones such behaviour.

b) The Foundation may remove from the website any material which appears to the directors to be libellous. In exercising their discretion in this area, the directors will be fully conscious of the values of freedom of speech and the necessity at times to be critical in the interests of achieving desirable goals. The Foundation will not, however, accept gratuitously insulting comments nor accusations which cannot reasonable be substantiated

c) The Foundation will not accept material which the Foundation’s directors, in their discretion, consider to be offensive or unacceptably discriminatory, for example by reference to race, religious belief, gender, disability or sexual orientation. The Foundation will not support or promote any organisation or project which appears to the directors to be promoting, supporting or condoning offensive or unacceptable discriminatory conduct or opinions.

d) A core value for the Foundation is the belief that education has a close relationship with peace. We cannot allow the website to be used to promote, support or condone the use of violence in the resolution of disputes.

e) The Foundation has been established in the name of Steve Sinnott, the leader of a teachers’ union in England and Wales and a strong believer in the value of trade unionism. The founding directors, all of whom were close to Steve, have no lesser commitment to these values. It is through the reputation of Steve amongst organisations of teachers around the world that the Foundation aims to make a unique contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for education.

5. Steve made much of his contribution to education internationally through the world body of organisations of teachers and educators, Education International (EI), and the Foundation is now working closely with EI. EI for its part accepts into membership only those organisations of teachers which are able to establish their constitutional and practical independence as representatives of teachers and educators. EI rejects organisations which lack that independence whether by reason of the influence exercised on them by governments or by other persons or bodies.

6. We will therefore consider it essential that participants in the Foundation’s online community should be prepared to acknowledge and recognise EI affiliated teachers’ organisations in countries and territories in which the organisations concerned are operating or promoting projects. The Foundation reserves the right to carry out checks with and through EI in any case in which it may have concerns and to refuse membership of the community to any organisation not satisfying this criterion. It will not be expected that a contributor organisation should have already been in contact with a relevant EI affiliate prior to contributing to the site, but where there appears to be cause for concern, the contributor organisation may be asked to establish contact with the EI affiliate.

Focussing Resources

7. Also the Foundation’s directors must limit the Foundation’s support within the community to organisations whose aims include a significant contribution towards the achievement of educational goals. We know that there are of course many organisations with very worthwhile objectives to which the Foundation’s directors are very sympathetic. However to maximise the value of the contribution which the Foundation can make to the achievement of the MDGs for education, we must focus our attention on educational goals.

8. We may therefore deny the Foundation community’s facilities to organisations which cannot demonstrate practical educational values in their own objectives consistent with the Foundation’s own principles.

9. Potential contributors must also be aware that the website is not merely an advertising space for charities whether they are charities whose work advances the MDGs or not. The Foundation is looking for contributions adding substance to the global effort to achieve the MDGs and a genuine willingness s on the part of contributors to give or receive knowledge and experience. Contributors may therefore be asked by email to identify what they are seeking or offering.

Educational principles

10. Further, the Foundation’s education team has developed a set of educational principles which the Foundation has adopted as a guide to its work. These can be viewed on the website. We think it unlikely that they will be considered controversial by teacher and educator participants in the community. We do, however, need to point out that, whilst we are very happy to see these principles debated in the website forums, we will be unable actively to promote projects which are not consistent with them.

Project Selection

11. The opportunity is available on the website for individuals and organisations to post details of projects which they believe may be of interest to the Foundation and to the worldwide community. They may be seeking help themselves, they may be offering to share their experience or they may just be bring their project to the attention of other community members. The Foundation’s commitment is to allow open access to post contributions.

12. Posts will be regularly monitored by Foundation officers for compliance with the Foundation’s rules. Material which contravenes these rules may be removed from the site by the Foundation’s site administrators without notice. In cases in which the breach appears accidental or where there seems to be good reason for a discussion o the problematic item, an explanatory email will be sent to the contributor(s) concerned. It will be difficult for the Foundation then to engage in protracted correspondence but reasonable efforts will be made to reconcile differences of opinion over an item email. In particular if the matter of concern is the recognition of an EI affiliated teachers organisation, the Foundation will try to assist the contributor in establishing contact with that affiliate.

13. In the event that the Foundation feels it necessary to remove details of a project from the website for a reason described in paragraphs 5 or 6, this will be explained by email to the contributor concerned. The Foundation will be pleased to hear further from that contributor, if they wish to post amended material explaining the educational content of their work and/or their acceptance of the Foundation’s educational principles..

14. The Foundation may itself invite selected organisations whose work comes to our attention to post project details on the website and to offer their knowledge, expertise and experience to others.

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