Do your filtering and monitoring solutions meet the required standards?

Following the consultation launched in December 2015, the Department for Education has published its response and revised statutory guidance; ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’.  This revised guidance is for schools (including academies, free schools special schools, PRU’s and independent schools) and colleges across England and will become active on 5th September 2016 (until then, the existing version published in July 2015 remains in place).

Please find links to the relevant documents below:

UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) with partners and stakeholders have published a guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing 'appropriate levels of filtering' (full detail can be accessed here) but we’ve summarised the key aspects below:

In relation to Filtering the solution must ensure that:

  • illegal content is blocked
  • inappropriate online content is managed effectively  
In addition, schools should check that their filtering solution meets their requirements in relation to the ability to:
  • vary filtering strength appropriate to age and role
  • permit or deny access to specific content
  • identify specific users
  • manage relevant languages
  • report inappropriate content for access or blocking
  • provide clear historical information on the websites visited by users
  • includes the blocking of inappropriate content via mobile and app technologies
  • be not reliant on any software on user devices
  • view the filtering policy including details of the providers  approach to filtering with classification and categorisation as well as over blocking

In relation to Monitoring, Schools should check that their monitoring solution has the ability to cover the following content as a minimum:

  • Illegal
  • Bullying
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Discrimination
  • Drugs / Substance abuse
  • Extremism
  • Pornography
  • Self Harm
  • Violence
  • Suicide

In addition, schools should check that their monitoring system integrates with their policies and meets their requirements in relation to the ability to:

  • implement variable monitoring appropriate to age and in turn define which alerts are prioritised and responded to
  • record, communicate and escalate alerts
  • inform school policy and practice
  • meet data retention requirements
  • manage relevant languages
  • make changes in keywords
  • monitor personal  mobile and app technologies
  • make users aware that their online access is being monitored
  • disseminate and capture acceptance of the appropriate use policy
  • prioritise alerts to enable a rapid response to immediate issues.

Solutions from SWGfL

SWGfL provides a range of filtering solutions including RM SafetyNet and Smoothwall, both of which provide the features outlined in this guidance.  For a detailed response, please click the links below:

If you’re a SWGfL connected school and you’d like to talk about what’s appropriate in your setting, our team of Internet Service Specialists would be happy to hear from you t. 0845 601 3203 or e. sis@swgfl.org.uk

If you are unsure about whether you are meeting these requirements, ask your filtering and/or monitoring provider whether their systems provide the features outlined in the guidance.  

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