Acceptable use of internet and social media
The internet offers a wealth of resources and services which, when used appropriately, enhance and extend teaching and learning activities in a unique way. Internet use is, however, not without very real risks. Significant criminal activity is transacted online and this is often associated with content which is either illegal or inappropriate for students. Other sites and services host content which, although not illegal, is inappropriate for student access. In addition to this, social media networks offer a free and uncensored forum for personal comments and views which are not necessarily accurate, appropriate, healthy or legal.
It is important to note that due to the immense scale and highly transient nature of online technologies it is not possible for any organisation to offer a 100% secure filtering solution but as a school we use a layered security approach to achieve the best enterprise class edge of network security and content filtering available to us.
Our internet connection is via a DfE approved education supplier Virgin TrustNet. A firewall sits between our internal network and the ISPs router and offers layer 7 application and layer 2 protocol level granular control meaning, amongst other things, traffic to and from potentially unwanted social media sites, illegal filesharing communities and content delivery networks is blocked at the edge of the network. Content and malware filtering software resides on an in line appliance inside the firewall and inspects every data packet that traverses the ISP’s link regardless of source or destination. This is driven by a BrightCloud content categorisation subscription service which offers hourly updates on new sites as they emerge and the ability to request recategorisation on demand. Granular filtering rules mean we can block or allow different types of content down to individual sections of specific sites and/or keywords on a per group and per user basis.
All traffic traversing the firewall is logged on a syslog server which records date, time, source, destination, user ID, client device ID and IP address. These logs are archived daily and a rolling 365 day window maintained for audit purposes. As well as being available for specific queries relating to user activity or a particular site the logs are also used as the basis for regular scheduled summary reporting which flags any filtering violations as well as identifying top talker and traffic and site visit trends. Any concerns from these reports are investigated by senior pastoral staff as part of the wider child protection processes in place.
All students sign an ICT acceptable usage policy during their induction into the school which clearly explains the expectations placed on them as users of the schools ICT estate.
Parents of students who use the school ipad ownership scheme are reminded that the filtering and security identified above only protects users whilst in school and that any home use is governed solely by the security features of the home network.
Any concerns or requests for advice should initially be directed to Mr I Williams, Assistant Principal.