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Protecting students online. Keeping Children Safe In Education – Part 1

The Corbel Blog

The new Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance that became statutory on September 5th, 2016 means that online safety is a critical safeguarding issue. In part one of this article we’ll cover the main details of the new guidance document, with part two describing a solution from one of the three firewall/content filter manufacturers that has the correct signatures in their filter to meet the new guidelines. In fact the solution presented in part two is the only one that is a complete Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution, making it easy to manage and upgrade.

Safeguarding is not a new issue for schools but the demands of keeping children and young people safe have grown significantly over the last 10 years. It used to be that abuse was traditionally focused on children in vulnerable groups but the growth in the use of the internet and widespread access to social media means that all children are now vulnerable to online abuse.

In 2015, there were several high profile cases where schoolchildren either travelled, or attempted to travel, to Syria. This raised the issue of whether young people were being radicalised whilst accessing the internet in their school or college. This is against a backdrop of frequent terrorist acts across Europe and the Middle East and the increased level of threat in the UK.

This has led to the Department of Education (DfE) to update the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance, which has been in place since 2014. This means that every school will need to consider and review its safeguarding policies and procedures, focusing particularly on how they protect students online.

Following several high profile incidents, the question has been raised as to whether young people are being radicalised whilst accessing the internet in their School or College.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 set out Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on their duty to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. The ‘Prevent Duty’ is a key aspect of the new KCSIE Guidance and states that “Schools and colleges must ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet.”

The updated guidance mandates that Schools and Colleges employ “appropriate” web filtering and monitoring, in order to safeguard children and young people from accessing harmful illegal content.
protecting-students-online-keeping-children-safe-in-education-2

 

Appropriate Filtering & Monitoring

Web or content filtering and monitoring are technical components of online safeguarding and need to be used in conjunction with an overall policy for each individual school, which is well understood by staff and students alike and is reviewed regularly.

Content filtering will provide enforcement of the online policy and monitoring can be particularly effective in drawing attention to concerning behaviours, communications or access.

Conversely, concerning content filtering, the KCSIE guidance warns of the risk of over-blocking leading to “unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.”

An appropriate filtering and monitoring strategy should ensure that access to illegal content is blocked, specifically that the solution includes the following cornerstones:
• Illegal child abuse images and content (CAIC) using the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) URL list
• Incorporates ‘the police assessed list of unlawful terrorist content, produced on behalf of the Home Office’

Appropriate filtering should control access to inappropriate and harmful content as defined above. In addition, it should flexible enough to meet the individual needs of each School or College setting and risk assessment.

 

Ofsted standards and inspection

Since the changes to KCSIE all HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate) have received updated training on all aspects of online safety in order to ensure that Schools and Colleges can now meet the requirements of the statutory guidance. Therefore, future inspections are likely to apply much more focus to this area than in previous years and the outcome will directly affect the final judgement.

Harmful content would include areas such as:

 Content Description
Discrimination  Promotes the unjust or prejudicial treatment
of people on the grounds of race, religion,
age, or sex.
 Pornography  Displays sexual acts or explicit images
 Self-Harm  Promotes or displays deliberate self-harm
(including suicide and eating disorders)
 Violence  Displays or promotes the use of physical
force intended to hurt or kill

 

Illegal content would include areas such as:

 Content Description
Drugs /
Substance abuse
 Displays or promotes the illegal use of drugs
or substances
Extremism &
Radicalisation
 Promotes terrorism and terrorist ideologies,
violence or intolerance
Child abuse
image content
(CAIC)
 Displays specifically images of child sexual
abuse including pornography
 Piracy and
copyright theft
 Includes illegal provision of copyrighted
material

 

That covers the main details of the new Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance that became statutory on September 5th, 2016. In part two of this article we’ll cover the only complete Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution that is one of the three firewall/content filter manufacturers that has the correct signatures in their content filter to meet the new guidelines.