• Darren O'Connor

Guidance for keeping our children safe online within an education setting



As a father of 3 intuitive and tech savvy children I'm often second guessing myself that I'm doing enough at home to protect my children online. There's also a fine balance to ensure that I'm not restricting too much and ruining their online experience. Just imagine this at scale within a secondary school where there are upwards of 1,500+ pupils all with multiple devices. Where do you start to protect these inquisitive souls?


The Department of Education (DfE) offers statutory guidance via the following document:


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/954314/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_2020_-_Update_-_January_2021.pdf


Only 5 pages are dedicated to online safety and this in turn is a little light and plagued with links to other websites and reference sources. Schools are offered an element of freedom to decide what's appropriate for their pupils but the controls implemented must conform to the Prevent Policy.


The prevent policy itself is a government strategy designed to stop radicalisation or supporting terrorist or extremist causes. Prevent covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes. Link to the policy can be found below:


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/439598/prevent-duty-departmental-advice-v6.pdf


The most useful source of information for schools for online monitoring and filtering can be found on the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) website. The guidance is currently under review but is comprehensive and a very good starting point.


Filtering:

https://d1afx9quaogywf.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/Appropriate%20Filtering%20for%20Education%20settings%202021_1.pdf

Monitoring:

https://d1afx9quaogywf.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/Appropriate%20Monitoring%20for%20Schools%20Summer%202021_0.pdf


Some security vendors have nailed the above filtering and monitoring requirements for schools, others have some wrinkles to iron out before their solutions are ready for a school environment.


Contact the team at UCcert Limited should you wish to discuss your security requirements for your school or MAT



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