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New statutory guidance for school web filters

By Jo Jerome, Schools Broadband

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | September 18, 2016 | Business

The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education document, which came in to force on 5th September 2016, includes specific actions schools and colleges are required to take, in order to make their online safety Ofsted compliant, and as part of their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. 

The revised KCSIE document now stipulates that schools and colleges should have “appropriate filtering and monitoring in place.” Whilst the document states “appropriateness is down to individual establishments, it points us in the direction of the UK Safer Internet Centre, who has published a guide as to what “appropriate filtering” might look like.

The UK Safer Internet Centre’s Appropriate Filtering and monitoring self-assessment form is published on their website www.saferinternet.org.uk  and has been produced to help schools assess the compliance of their filtering providers. Schools can send the self-assessment forms to their provider, who should complete the forms to prove their compliance.

The key areas for compliance specify that all school web filtering providers need to be members of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)  and must block internet access to illegal child abuse images and content (CAIC). Filter systems must subscribe to the Home Office Terrorism block list and in addition must provide: age appropriate, differentiated filtering, including the ability to vary filtering strength appropriate to age and role.

The Schools Broadband Lightspeed Systems filter has built-in proactive suspicious search alerts and reporting, allowing schools to monitor and report on all users in real time

Filters should have the ability to: filter mobile devices, identify users, be easily self-managed by school staff with the ability to block specific content if necessary. Filters must be applied at network level and offer reporting and storage of historical search data with the ability to filter relevant languages.

The Schools Broadband Lightspeed Systems web filter is an example of a filtering platform where filters categorise web sites, imagery and language, making it fully compliant with the Government’s statutory guidance. Daily updates are made to over 1 billion categorised URL search entries and schools can allow or block activity depending on the school’s policy. They also offer mobile device management which can provide the same level of protection as schools receive for their on-site devices.

The Schools Broadband Lightspeed Systems filter has built-in proactive suspicious search alerts and reporting, allowing schools to monitor and report on all users in real time. It is this feature that helps towards achieving outstanding in the Ofsted online safety school audits.

For more information please call 01133 222 333 or for full details on the Schools Broadband web filtering system please visit www.schoolsbroadband.co.uk/e-safety-filtering 

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