Next is this one: Accreditation of internet services - Schools which announces the ending of the scheme and provides a link to here: Broadband - Schools the advice on purchasing broadband which in turn offers a PDF (Broadband - Schools) entitled 'What to look for when purchasing broadband'. The PDF is a good guide TBH, providing you can read 'techy'.
Of interest to us though is part 'b' in this section of the PDF:
Safety and Security 5. Secure broadband services help ensure the safety of pupils and security of school data and services. Schools will want to make sure they have adequate monitoring, filtering, firewalls, anti-virus, authentication and other network security systems. a. Managing access to online content and services including email and social networking is essential to safeguard children from exposure to inappropriate material and contact. b. Look for filtering solutions that adhere to recognised national standards (such as Internet Watch Foundation watch list and PAS74).*
c. Schools will want to consider an appropriate balance between security/filtering and allowing access to materials and applications needed for learning. d. However, technical solutions cannot replace the need to educate users about safe online behaviour. Schools will also wish to have comprehensive acceptable use, security and data protection policies.
*PAS (Publically Available Specification) 74 is the Internet Safety. Access control systems for the protection of children online. Specification. I can only find this for £120 online! If anyone can find an official 'free' download for this please post up a link. The Internet Watch Foundation is a non-governmental charitable body and you can find their site here: http://www.iwf.org.uk/
I find the wording on part 'b' too vague for my liking and simply advising to 'Look for filtering solutions that adhere to recognised national standards' and not 'You must...' leads me to think that next BETT will be filled with new companies selling filtering software to schools which are, in fact, simply rebranded open source products, so please be careful out there. We all know that there quite a few great, well supported products, available for schools, but given the special demands schools place upon filitering and internet security for the DfE to simply wash their hands of this responsibility by passing it on to a non-govenmental body (I know the IWF is very good, and no disrespect to them) and 'industry' is, I feel, not being helpful in the least.
Last edited by Dos_Box; 19th March 2012 at 09:44 AM.
We have a copy on order at the moment but it is not freely available to share. We have had this problem before with Building regs / H&S standards for installation of projectors / IWBs / speakers, etc...
As for PAS74:2008 ... from the bits of it I have looked at previously (and happy to be corrected) it really is a standard for home use and is going to struggle to be applied to a larger setting. I would also be interested in how existing folk on the accreditation list feel they compare against PAS74:2008.
I will also be interested to see how it fits in with folks using tools such as 360 degree safe - Home ... because the benefit of the accredited provider was not just the technical bit of the solution, but the advice, guidance, best practice, training that goes with it.
PAS74:2008 Annex B was mentioned explicitly within the IMLS tender that has just gone through to completion.
I suspect that this is the reason why you are starting to see it in affiliated documentation. If the DfE have adopted its use within the published tender processes tehn it would stand to reason that they would begin to include it elsewhere.
We all know that there quite a few great, well supported products, available for schools, but given the special demands schools place upon filitering and internet security for the DfE to simply wash their hands of this responsibility by passing it on to a non-govenmental body
Is this the kind of thing that could be solved by a test suite - install your chosen filtering solution, run a test suite that attempts to reach a variety of dodgy websites in various ways and see what it reports?
To be honest, for the folk doing serious products for filter then this is a full-time job and then some. The Becta list of sites that they checked was, in the end, random and very extensive. To try and duplicate that will be very hard. Some firms I can say that yes, I trust them to still do this, but I cannot honestly say that about all of them ... mainly because I can only talk about the solutions providers I have spoken with.
Having had a look at my notes on PAS74:2008 ... the categories are very minimal as to what might be required in schools, it has minimal requirement on reporting, is aimed at where it is installed on an individual machine (a licence per machine?) but I could see how it could translate to a central service (either hosted by the school, the LA / Academy group, the RBC or other provider as a central resource).
Still ... we'll see what gets said at tomorrow's eSafety Live event.
PAS74... that's what Becta based their standards on. It took them years to bend it to work for edu filtering, and non-desktop products. They were just hitting it fairly sweetly when the rug was pulled. They still hadn't managed to include proxy avoidance mind, and that should be high on anyone's list.
As for test suites.. we test our URL lists by listening to customers they're so frequently updated there's no automatic testing we do - but for our content filter rules we do stuff like pulling back previously categorised sites through the filter to see that it matches them correctly. In terms of tools we use - mostly perl/LWP and some curl/wget type stuff all home rolled pretty much.
So, the question to ask the Department is why do they think PAS74 is a suitable standard for a school environment when a lot of work went into making a more suitable version for the accreditation? Perhaps PAS74 needs to be updated in line with the work done by Becta? Who would do this? How would it be funded?
How do things like PAS74 tie in with risk management and training tools such as 360 degree safe?