The Department for Education has recently published the updated 2022 ‘Keeping children safe in education’ statutory guidance for schools and colleges in England that will become active on 1st September.
The 2022 guidance includes a number of significant changes with many related to online safety.
Specifically, aspects related to Filtering and Monitoring have been updated. Whilst the guidance already includes the duty that ‘governing bodies and proprietors should ensure their school or college has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place’, this is has been further strengthened with the addition of; ‘and regularly review their effectiveness’.
Additionally schools and colleges ‘should ensure that the leadership team and relevant staff have an awareness and understanding of the provisions in place and manage them effectively and know how to escalate concerns when identified'.
This update is an important clarification requiring schools and colleges to be confident that their filtering and monitoring solutions are operational and effective. In support of this new obligation, the guidance also includes a direction to SWGfL Test Filtering, featuring the following:
'South West Grid for Learning (swgfl.org.uk) have created a tool to check whether a school or college’s filtering provider is signed up to relevant lists (CSA content, Sexual Content, Terrorist content Your Internet Connection Blocks Child Abuse & Terrorist Content)'.
The guidance introduces the importance of schools and colleges speaking with parents and carers about children’s access to online sites when away from their education setting, and that ‘parents and carers may find it helpful to understand what systems schools and colleges use to filter and monitor online use’.
Since 2016, the guidance has referred to The UK Safer Internet Centre’s ‘published guidance as to what “appropriate” filtering and monitoring might look like’. We are intending on working with schools, providers and the Department for Education to enhance these definitions as well as provide further help and detail around what filtering and monitoring is.
The guidance also includes the following important additions:
- Detail and direction to SWGfL’s Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service - a support service for professionals in tackling harmful sexual behaviours
- A link to the Harmful online challenges and online hoaxes guidance
Related to Harmful sexual behaviour, a number of revisions have also been made to Part Five of the guidance, named ‘Child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment’.
You can find all revisions to the document by visiting the GOV.UK website.