In May 2016 (to be enacted from 5th September 2016) the Department for Education published the revised statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) for schools and colleges in England. KCSIE identified a number of key issues for schools and colleges to be aware of regarding online safety. The updated guidance identifies that schools are required to “ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place. Children should not be able to access harmful or inappropriate material from the school or colleges IT system” however, schools also need to “be careful that “overblocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.” Schools (and registered childcare providers) in England and Wales are also required under the Prevent Duty 2015 “to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school, including by establishing appropriate levels of filtering”.
The UK Safer Internet Centre has published two documents to help schools understand what may be considered as ‘appropriate’ filtering and monitoring.
- Appropriate Filtering – Guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels of filtering’
- Appropriate Monitoring – Guide for education settings and filtering providers about establishing ‘appropriate levels of monitoring’
The UK Safer Internet Centre has also invited filtering providers and Integrators to self-certify their filtering systems using a checklist.
A self-certified checklist response for EIS and Lightspeed can be found on the UK Safer Internet Centres website. For education settings outside of Kent or those using alternative providers, a full list of current Filtering Integrator Responses and Filtering Provider Responses are also available on the UK Safer Internet Centres website.
Please be aware that the accuracy and integrity of the information contained within these responses is warranted by each provider. School leaders should make informed decisions when consider the most appropriate filtering and monitoring solution to meet their school’s needs.
We would urge Kent schools and settings to explore these documents so they are aware of how these systems can or cannot meet their specific needs and requirements with regards to KCSIE 2016.