Frequently Asked Question

Below are some of the questions we get most often. If you have a question that is not anwered here, please contact us at enquiries@swgfl.org.uk.

You can also view FAQs by service section:

Schools Internet Service    |    Online Safety Services    |    Education Services   |   General SWGfL


Can anyone join the South West Teacher Network?

Membership to the South West Teacher Network is free to all teachers from SWGfL schools throughout the South West. You'll find that most CPD opportunities and resources are FREE of charge to members and events are hosted right across the region bringing a wide range of opportunities to you, locally. Find out more.


What do you mean by electronic communications?

Electronic communications encompass internet technologies such as: The World Wide Web, Chat rooms, E-mail, Instant messaging, Blogs, Social sites.

Digital photography, video and sound recording can also be captured and copied to portable players (MP3 players, iPods etc). Mobile phones provide similar functions through texting, taking and sending photos and video clips. Handheld computing devices also combine many of these technologies.

All of these technologies make a positive contribution to the world and education, but all are equally capable of being abused.


What are the risks that pupils face?

If precautions are not taken, these technologies can expose pupils to hostile individuals, including sexual predators, who can form relationships with pupils, sometimes using false identities or posing as a child. This is known as grooming.

The technologies can expose pupils to pornography and pornographers, to materials extolling violence, drugs or prejudice hatred. The technologies can also enable bullying.


What are the risks for school staff?

There have been cases reported of adults being bullied or harassed at work through these technologies.

It is also the case that the school environment can provide some adults with the opportunity to exploit the technologies for their own inappropriate purposes. These include downloading or publishing offensive or illegal materials and initiating improper contacts with young people.

Staff are also vulnerable if they are singly responsible for the administration of passwords and filtering.


How can the headteacher tell if the filtering has been changed in their school?

The SWGfL Filtering system, based on RM SafetyNet Plus, provides each school with a powerful set of tools to manage the filtering experience of each school. Whilst this power and capability empowers schools to make changes to support the delivery of any web resource, this requires careful use.

SMT can review the settings via a window into the filtering administration environment. This provides network administrators with support, insofar as the responsibility is shared.

You should discuss the following points with your network manager:

  • How is this power currently managed and governed within the school?
  • Who has the passwords to manage the network?
  • How is the filtering currently configured?
  • What policies and procedures operate to support them in their role?

An alternative would be to discuss with the SWGfL Managed Service Team (0870 908 1708), they can advise you of the current school filtering configuration.


What should I do if I suspect or discover illegal activity on the web?

Discovery of indecent material within the school's network is a very serious situation, and must always be reported to the police.

It is important that the material is not downloaded, printed or sent by email, because doing so will be an offence in itself. If at all possible, do absolutely nothing to the suspect computer or computers, including turning them on or off. It may be necessary to shut down the whole network, but do not do this unless instructed by the police.

Ensure that everyone is kept away and that nothing is touched. Under no circumstances should the internet safety co-ordinator, network manager or headteacher attempt to conduct an investigation of their own, or bring in an outside 'expert' to do so, as this may compromise the evidence if a legal case were to result. In some cases this may constitute a criminal offence in itself.

It is essential that evidence is preserved.


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