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Comply with KCSIE filtering and monitoring: 10 important questions for your SLT
Experienced Senior-Level IT Professional in Education, Scott Slocombe, provides 10 questions all SLT's should have asked after the release of last year's KCSIE 2023.

The latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) was published in September last year. One of the key changes was centred around the DfE’s filtering and monitoring standards, which were published a few months prior. 

The new guidance replaced the KCSIE 2022, placing greater focus on the roles and responsibilities of education staff concerning online safeguarding.


What Do I Need to Know About Filtering and Monitoring?

As part of the requirement, the KCSIE signposted the Department for Education’s filtering and monitoring standards, which set out that your school or college should:

  • Identify and assign roles and responsibilities to manage filtering and monitoring systems
  • Review filtering and monitoring provision at least annually
  • Block harmful and inappropriate content without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning
  • Have effective monitoring standards in place that meet your safeguarding needs.

To further support schools and colleges with meeting the DfE filtering and monitoring standards, the updated KCSIE 2023 guidance highlighted particular roles and responsibilities for governors, DSLs and SLTs for keeping their staff and pupils safe online:

  • Your school should have “appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place and regularly review their effectiveness,” in blocking harmful and inappropriate content. (para 141)
  • You should ensure that “over blocking” doesn’t lead to “unreasonable” restrictions on teaching and learning. (para 134)
  • You must have a DSL (Designated Safeguarded Lead) who has an “understanding of the filtering and monitoring systems in place” (para 103)
  • “Governing Bodies and proprietors should ensure all staff undergo safeguarding and child protection training,” so they understand the “expectations, applicable roles and responsibilities with filtering and monitoring.” (para 124)
  • Your child protection policy should include your approach to “filtering and monitoring on school devices and networks.” This includes the use of school devices off campus. (para 138)
  • Your senior leadership team and relevant staff should have an “awareness and understanding of the provisions in place” and know how to escalate safeguarding concerns when identified. (para 141) 


Click here to read about Senso's all-in-on remote monitoring and management software.


What Should I Do Next? 10 Questions To Discuss at SLT

Scott Slocombe, our Deputy CTO of PSP IT leading our Agile provision for Education, as well as the Chair of Governors for a large primary academy in Bourne, is a member of the IT Management Board for a Lincolnshire Multi-Academy Trust. 

He’s shared ten questions your senior leadership should have discussed after the KCSIE was published last year.


Scott Slocombe, Deputy CTO
Scott Slocombe, Deputy CTO


1. Do we have a clearly defined role for filtering and monitoring and provide assurance to the LGB or Trustee boards?

Scott: “One of the biggest requirements that came out of the DfE’s filtering and monitoring standards last year was the requirement to have a senior leader who has a clearly defined role concerning filtering and monitoring. They should work closely with the IT team to ensure your filtering and monitoring systems meet your safeguarding needs, your policies and procedures are aligned and all staff are aware.
They should take responsibility for filtering and monitoring reports, safeguarding concerns and provide assurance to the board that the filtering and monitoring systems are fit for purpose.” 


2. Do we review our filtering and monitoring provision annually?

Scott: “Although best practice, it is now explicitly highlighted within the filtering and monitoring standard and KCSIE. 
The review process should cover a wide range of criteria, such as the risk profile of your pupils, what your systems blocks (and why), outside safeguarding concerns, the policies you have in place and how you handle safeguarding concerns.” 

You can find review templates on the KCSIE site.


3. Does our filtering and monitoring block harmful content, without impacting teaching and learning?

Scott: “Are you confident that your filtering and monitoring systems protect children, not impacting their learning?
The DfE says that SLTs, IT staff and the DSL should establish “appropriate levels” of filtering and monitoring. A key issue to address is that you are not affecting your admin teams performing their roles, and your students can still learn how to assess and manage risk independently.”

4. Are we blocking proxies and VPNs which help circumvent our filtering?

Scott: “There are ways to block common filtering bypass methods and services that hide IP addresses, such as VPNs and Proxies. When connecting to the school network via one of these, your pupil’s device usage can go unmonitored.
You must have technology in place that blocks access to your network via VPNs and proxies.”

5. How do we test and record the effectiveness of our filtering and monitoring?

Scott: “Setting up filtering and monitoring is one thing, but you must be able to prove you frequently test the effectiveness of your systems. During inspections fulfilled by OFSTED or ISI, they want evidence and assurance that you have carried out these tests and recorded their results effectively.”

6. Has our safeguarding policy been updated to reflect: our device monitoring strategy, and the owner of the process?

Scott: "Who is responsible for ensuring your filtering and monitoring has been effectively applied to all devices on your network? This also includes any personal devices which staff and pupils use as part of your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy.
Alongside your DSL and IT staff, the SLT must incorporate your online safety processes and the owner of your filtering and monitoring with your overall safeguarding policy. This ensures comprehensive protection of students from online risks and potential harm, as outlined in KCSIE 2023.”


7. Do we meet the requirements for identifying the 4Cs?

Scott: “KCSIE groups online risks into four areas: content, contact, conduct and commerce. These are also known as the ‘four Cs of online safety’.
By using the 4C’s as a framework, schools, colleges and DSLs can ensure they have the systems and processes in place to help their students stay safe online.”

You can read more about the 4Cs of online safety here.


8. What is our strategy for effective device monitoring?

Scott: “KCSIE makes it abundantly clear that the effectiveness of filtering and monitoring of all devices is required for keeping children staff and pupils safe online. The senior leader responsible for filtering and monitoring must ensure that this extends to the use of personal devices and visitors using your network.
Would you be able to see if children are typing in to google a question asking how they get help? Similar to a disclosure to a member of staff, which would lead to a safeguarding concern being raised?” 


9. Are our staff adequately trained on online safety? Do they understand their role concerning online safety?

Scott: “The KCSIE guidance states that all staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training, including online safety. As part of their training, they should understand their roles and responsibilities with filtering and monitoring.” 


10. Does filtering achieve our prevent duty?

Scott: “Although not new in the KCSIE 2023, it is an important question to ask and be able to assure the board. However you could argue this has been expanded under the monitoring requirement, which goes beyond filtering content and web browser searches, but in chat messages, documents, and possible pictures shared outside of the school’s filtering on-school platforms.” 


Want To Find Out More?


PSP partnership with Senso.cloud filtering and monitoring software


PSP is proud to be a Senso Cloud partner. We provide schools with a full suite of all-in-one web-based software that is perfect for monitoring and managing any Windows and Chrome device from a centralised web portal. 

The innovative products have created an unparalleled safeguarding platform for schools to not only comply with Ofsted and KCSIE regulations but also trust that their students and staff are safe when using school devices. 

Click here to see the full suite of Senso products.

We also offer a service to support your SLT in reviewing your current position and reviewing your technical infrastructure systems and services to provide external assurance to your leadership and governance teams. Find out more about our digital audit and review service for education.  

11th April 2024