Test Filtering Filtering and Monitoring Review
In July 2023, the UK Safer Internet Centre on behalf of the Department for Education carried out a series of webinars to inform and support organisations across England with their filtering and monitoring responsibilities. This was to prepare and inform schools around the new changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2023) as well the new filtering and monitoring standards introduced in early 2023. This page includes all recordings of the webinars along with supporting information, guidance, services and tools to support organisations within this field.
This checklist template has been developed as a basis to support schools and colleges in meeting the required standards.
This template contains information about filtering and monitoring along with passwords to address technical security
Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.
How schools and colleges can meet IT service and digital equipment standards.
What standards your school or college should meet on filtering and monitoring.
Guide for education settings and filtering and monitoring providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels’ of filtering and monitoring.
Guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels of filtering’
Guide for education settings and monitoring providers about establishing 'appropriate levels' of monitoring.
In short, yes. Both the Prevent duty and Keeping Children Safe in Education includes this expectation. KCSiE includes that schools and colleges should “ensure their school or college has appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place and regularly review their effectiveness.”
For all school owned devices, we would suggest that filtering and monitoring applies both inside and outside school and for all users (staff and children). Users should be accordingly clearly notified
As far back as 2010, Ofsted concluded that “Pupils in the schools that had ‘managed’ systems had better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe than those in schools with ‘locked down’ systems. Pupils were more vulnerable overall when schools used locked down systems because they were not given enough opportunities to learn how to assess and manage risk for themselves”. This said, there could be specific instances that may warrant a ‘wall garden’ approach (ie only able to access specific websites), for example an identified risk to a particularly vulnerable individual.
If you are not able to understand the reports generated by your filtering (or monitoring) system, you should
Have the provider explain the reports
Explore training opportunities
Amend the reports so you can understand them
Keeping Children Safe in Education details the organisations in England who must have regard to the statutory guidance. For other organisations (in England) who work with children and provide technology and online access, we would encourage the same standards to be adopted
Typically technology based monitoring systems (for example those listed Monitoring providers responses - UK Safer Internet Centre) monitor devices including keystroke as well as what is displayed on screens. If unsure, it is best to ask your provider the extent to which your system monitors devices. It is also important to know which type of device (windows, ios, android etc) the monitoring system operates on and if any particular installation requirements.
Managing personal devices starts with the school policy. Please see SWGfL’s published article that supports schools and colleges in Managing a BYOD policy | SWGfL.
VPN (Virtual Private Networks) are a technology that has been developed to protect the privacy of users. This can circumvent filtering systems. SWGfL published Everything You Need to Know About VPNs | SWGfL that explains more.
In 2018, UK Safer Internet Centre included aspects related to circumvention in the definitions of ‘appropriate filtering’; the extent and ability of filtering systems ‘to identify and manage technologies and techniques used to circumvent the system, specifically VPN, proxy services and DNS over HTTPS.’ Providers were invited to detail how their system manages this within their Provider Responses - UK Safer Internet Centre
Mobile devices operate differently to laptops/computers and correspondingly Filtering and Monitoring systems, typically operate differently too. It goes without saying that filtering or monitoring systems incorrectly configured (or incapable) of filtering or monitoring mobile devices, will be ineffective. In March 2023 UKSIC calls on mobile manufacturers to do more to help schools with filtering and monitoring devices - UK Safer Internet Centre.
It is imperative that filtering and monitoring provision is reviewed, with system checks conducted and documented (Standard 2), to satisfy yourself that your filtering and monitoring systems are operating as you expect.
These questions are for Governors, proprietors and trustees to seek assurance that filtering and monitoring standards are being met. Download the resource below to get the full information.
Get support with any online safety issue you may be having if you're a professional working with children and young people
A national service that has been designed to assist anyone over 13 in reporting harmful content online.
A child-friendly search engine that can support young people with taking their first steps online.
This page contains all Filtering and Monitoring webinar recordings, resources and disscussed material, as well as other supportive services that can support your approach to online safety. All information on this page will ensure that the young people in your community can safely navigate the online world.
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