14th June 2021Appropriate filtering and monitoring – a guide for schools and providers

The UK Safer Internet Centre (SWGfL, Childnet International and Internet Watch Foundation) recently (June 2021) updated their guides on ‘Appropriate Filtering and Monitoring ‘, as mentioned in KCSiE 2020. The aim of the following documents are to help schools and providers comprehend, in conjunction with their completed risk assessment, what should be considered as ‘appropriate’ filtering and monitoring.

Included is the updated ‘checklist’ for supplier to complete which are available for schools to review.

Schools (and registered childcare providers) in England and Wales are required “to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school, including by establishing appropriate levels of filtering” (Revised Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales, 2015).

Furthermore, it expects that they “assess the risk of [their] children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology”.  There are a number of self review systems (eg www.360safe.org.uk) that will support a school in assessing their wider online safety policy and practice.

Department for Education’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ obliges schools and colleges in England 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 will need to “be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.”

Included within the Scottish Government national action plan on internet safety, schools in Scotland are expected to “have policies in place relating to the use of IT and to use filtering as a means of restricting access to harmful content.”