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15 May, 2023

DfE School Guidance – Meeting Filtering and Monitoring Standards

15 May, 2023

Is your school meeting the DfE’s Filtering and Monitoring Standards?

In January 2024, the Department for Education updated their guidance to schools regarding how to meet digital and technology standards. . This standard specifies the minimum requirements for filtering and monitoring and encourages all schools to use these standards to review their current strategy and provision.

Filtering and monitoring are both integral parts of safeguarding students and staff from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. The following 4 filtering and monitoring standards have been set out by the DfE to provide a safe environment to learn and work.

  • You should identify and assign roles and responsibilities to manage your filtering and monitoring systems.
  • You should review your filtering and monitoring provision at least annually.
  • Your filtering system should block harmful and inappropriate content, without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning.
  • You should have effective monitoring strategies that meet the safeguarding needs of your school.

The DfE set out four requirements your school needs to meet:

DfE Filtering and Monitoring Standards for Schools- Tel Group

1. Manage Systems

For effective filtering and monitoring systems to be delivered and maintained, clear roles, responsibilities, and strategies are essential. It’s important that the right people are working together and using their professional expertise to make informed decisions.

2. Review Provision

You should evaluate your filtering and monitoring provision at least once a year in order to fully understand and evaluate the shifting needs and potential risks of your school.

3. Block Content

An effective filtering system should block internet access to harmful sites and inappropriate content. However, it should not unreasonably impact teaching and learning or restrict students from learning how to assess and manage risk themselves.

4. Monitoring Strategy

Monitoring allows you to review user activity on school devices. For monitoring to be effective it must pick up incidents urgently, usually through alerts or observations, allowing you to take prompt action and record the outcome. 

When should you meet the standards?

You should already be meeting all four standards to provide a safe learning environment for your students and staff.

How can we help?

By blocking inappropriate content and websites, as well as monitoring usage, we can assist your school in adhering to DfE filtering and monitoring recommendations.

Any educational institution faces the challenge of keeping students safe without compromising their ability to access a rich and dynamic online learning environment. We can help you safeguard students by blocking harmful content in real-time without restricting their freedom to explore and learn. We can install Smoothwall’s safeguarding solutions across all school devices, providing instant alerts and detailed reporting on students activity.

The DfE set out eleven categories your school needs to meet:

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