The 2023 KCSIE Filtering and Monitoring Updates Every School Needs to Know

3 minute read
By Smoothwall

Essential reading for school leaders, DSLs, IT managers, Governors and anyone with a safeguarding remit within education.

The updated KCSIE 2023 guidance comes into force this September. It highlights new responsibilities for DSLs, regarding how their school filtering and monitoring systems are managed. Katherine Howard, Head of Education and Wellbeing at Smoothwall, shares the four updates to filtering and monitoring schools need to be aware of. 

  • DSLs now have a responsibility for “understanding the filtering and monitoring systems and processes in place” as part of their remit. (paragraph 103, p28)

“Previously there was a requirement for DSLs to take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection including ‘online safety.’ However, the new guidance now specifically mentions that DSLs should also have a sound understanding of ‘filtering and monitoring systems and processes in place.’ 

“Given the dependency schools now place on filtering and monitoring to keep students safer in their digital lives, it’s vital that the processes in place are appropriate and effective.  The most robust systems should provide an ‘always on’ 24/7 safety net for DSLs, to help ensure students at serious risk can be picked up.”

  • Governing bodies should ensure that all staff undergo safeguarding and child protection training. It should give them “an understanding of the expectations, applicable roles and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring” (paragraph 124, p.32).

“This update highlights the importance of educating staff not only on key areas surrounding child protection, but also roles and responsibilities in regard to monitoring and filtering.

If staff fully understand how both systems keep students digitally safer and their duties, they can also become better equipped to identify students that need help the most. Giving school staff this knowledge, also helps schools move a step closer to adopting a whole school approach to digital safeguarding. This approach empowers not just DSLs, but wider school stakeholders to become ambassadors of student digital safety and wellbeing.”

  • A school’s child protection policy should include how it approaches ‘appropriate filtering and monitoring on school devices and school networks.’ (paragraph 138, p.36)

“The new guidance specifically calls for appropriate filtering and monitoring to become part of the child protection policy. When considering any updates to the policy, it might be helpful to bring together those involved in implementing and managing filtering and monitoring systems, as well as those with any pastoral responsibilities in the school, as it’s possible they will provide helpful contributions.”

“This year’s KCSIE guidance signposts schools to the DfE’s Filtering and Monitoring Standards, updated earlier this year. Key aspects to the Standards include; identifying roles and responsibilities to manage filtering and monitoring systems, blocking harmful and inappropriate content (without overblocking) and having key strategies in place that meet the safeguarding needs of the school. 

It also advises that schools should consider meeting Cyber Security Standards. The Standards focus on key areas schools should meet regarding; cyber security, user accounts and data protection, in order to safeguard their systems, staff and learners. Your filtering and monitoring provider should be able to clearly demonstrate how their systems help you to easily meet the requirements of both standards.”

Want to find out more?

Watch our KCSIE 2023 Filtering and Monitoring Webinar Recording

Katherine Howard and Tom Newton discuss the key distinctions between filtering and monitoring, and what DSLs need to be aware of to ensure you meet the 2023 KCSIE guidance.

Download now

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