Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 – Filtering & Monitoring Updates.
We’ve had lots of questions and interest in the KCSiE changes for 2023, so we feel it’s appropriate to try and address some key concerns and help you find a route for your schools.
Firstly, don’t panic; there has been a requirement for filtering and monitoring in place for several years, so this change in guidance should, for most schools, be easy to adapt to.
Schools must take a risk-based approach to filtering and monitoring, and it should be encompassed in your wider safeguarding and online safety education strategies.
It’s important to understand that what is appropriate for one school may not be suitable for another. Or even for different cohorts within the same school.
In addition to the changes in KCSiE 2023, the DFE has issued guidance on Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges
What is filtering and monitoring?
The process of protecting users from inappropriate content. This can be blanket policies. Granular user-based e.g. Staff and Student or Specific year groups; time-based, e.g. Allow a certain topic for a specific lesson or block of time.
School internet providers have different tools for implementing filtering, but they will all meet basic standards of blocking the most inappropriate content. It’s up to you as a school to regularly review categories and other content, for example, new sites as they appear online or sex education sites for particular year groups, etc.
Capturing and reporting internet traffic, creating alerts when potential policy breaches are reported and taking appropriate action based on your school’s policies.
Monitoring is undertaken by 3rd party software that sits on your device or on your network, such as Securus or Senso.cloud | Cloud-Based Device Monitoring and Management. Depending on your internet service provider, you may be able to review your firewall logs for alerts relating to inappropriate content.
What is appropriate filtering and monitoring for your school will be based on your risk assessment. Hopefully, you already have a risk assessment as part of your wider safeguarding strategy, but here is a link to a useful template produced by London Grid for Learning: Online Safety Audit | LGFL
As with all decisions in your schools, you must consider many factors, including budget, age or maturity of children, technology in your school, staffing resources etc.
You may choose a filtering policy that applies to all users, including staff; you may apply policies to children in different year groups etc. Management of these policies will depend upon your team’s skills and the time you have to dedicate to creating and amending policies.
Consider beyond the school gates:
- Are children allowed phones on-site?
- Do guests have access to your wifi? What content filtering is applied to them?
- Have you taught children how to behave online?
- Have you got an acceptable use contract?
- Do parents know the expectations of the school?
When designing your strategy, schools should protect their children from the 4 Cs.
- Content – inappropriate content, without over-blocking
- Contact – with individuals
- Conduct – they represent your school online.
- Commerce – preventing unnecessary access to e-commerce sites.
Responsibilities for DSL & Governors
The new KCSiE 2023 guidance clarifies that overall responsibility should lie with the DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead). They may delegate some activities or tasks to SLT. This doesn’t mean that your team can’t continue monitoring on your behalf as long as you have a clear process for reporting concerns and the team member is trained to spot genuine problems from false negatives.
Governors should have an understanding and overview of filtering and monitoring.
“Governing bodies and proprietors have overall strategic responsibility for filtering and monitoring and need assurance that the standards are being met.
To do this, they should identify and assign:
- a member of the senior leadership team and a governor, to be responsible for ensuring these standards are met
- the roles and responsibilities of staff and third parties, for example, external service providers
We are aware that there may not be full-time staff for each of these roles and responsibility may lie as part of a wider role within the school, college, or trust. However, it must be clear who is responsible, and it must be possible to make prompt changes to your provision.”
“DSLs should take overall responsibility for the strategy.
The DSL should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and online safety, which could include overseeing and acting on:
- filtering and monitoring reports
- safeguarding concerns
- checks to filtering and monitoring systems”
LGFL are running Webinars for SLT, which only last 30 minutes and are free to none customers: Webinar for SLT
LGFL also have lots of resources, including a short video for governors:
What does this look like in practice?
Many schools will have blanket filtering setups already; you should ask your supplier how they meet the criteria under the DFE digital standards. You may wish to consider training on how to access and amend filtering policies or design processes that you follow internally before requests are sent to your provider for changes.
For monitoring to be effective, your children must consistently log into laptops and desktops with their unique usernames and passwords.
For mobile devices (iPads and tablets), monitoring the technology hasn’t entirely caught up with the problem. Using shared devices will likely look like taking a manual register or assigning the same device to each child per session.
Bring your own device or school devices going home will need special consideration.
Review + Test Filtering
This process is not intended to be a tick-box exercise. It’s a live and changing part of your safeguarding process when amending your policies to include these changes factor in a review.
Who and how are you going to test the filtering and minoring?
Ran a test yourself with this free tool from SWGFL: Test Your Internet Filter | SWGfL Test Filtering
Further Reading and Resources for Keeping Children Safe in Education:
South West Grid For Learning publish lots of free resources for schools: Online Safety for Schools | SWGfL
London Grid For Learning also publish lots of useful material: LGfL Safeguarding – Keeping Children Safe | LGFL
360 Safe offers an accreditation scheme for schools to demonstrate commitment to e-safety and compliance with legislation and guidance. http://www.360safe.org.uk/b
National College (Subscription Required): Filtering & Monitoring: Achieving Compliance (Primary) (nationalcollege.com)
Did you know?
Get In Touch to discuss your requirements and how we can help implement solutions for your school. Contact – Evolve IT Support