If you are continuing to work in school with the children of key workers, you may find that you want access to websites that are normally filtered out. For example, there may be a desire to relax temporarily the access to online game sites, or you might want YouTube access to reach engaging educational videos.
The good news is that schools and settings that receive their broadband through Herts for Learning (the ‘HICS’ service) have a large degree of choice and control over the level of web filtering in place in their establishment.
On HICS we have tailored our own standard filtering polices which we call Web Factors; WF4 to WF1. Schools can think of these like sunscreen factors, the higher the factor, the more filtering there is.
What is the difference between the Web Factors?
- WF1 is the least restrictive and can therefore be regarded as our baseline policy, being geared towards trusted users such as staff. It denies access to pornography, the promotion of illegal activities and to the propagation of hatred but most other material is allowed.
- WF2 is very similar to WF3. The main difference being that games websites are accessible. After school clubs for example, may wish to deploy this policy, and it might be a choice to use this during the current situation of schools being largely closed.
- WF3 is ideally suited for primary school children. YouTube and social networking sites such as Facebook are blocked. Restrictions are in place, denying access to non-educational games websites.
- WF4 is generally the same as WF3 but it restricts access to Twitter. Twitter is available on every other filtering policy.
It is possible to have computers from within the same school to be configured to different web filtering policies. For example, schools could have staff machines on WF1 and students on WF3.
Another option is for schools to tailor their own WF1/2/3/4 policies. In this way, schools could take for example the standard WF2 or WF3 policy and modify it to meet their current needs. They could then change it back to the way it was at a future date. This is a lot more straightforward than you may think and we are happy to talk people through how to do this.
Needless to say, careful consideration should be given to changing the filtering level and the implications of doing so. This should be discussed with and agreed by senior leadership before requesting and implementing.
If you receive your broadband through Herts for Learning and would like help in modifying the filtering in your school or setting, please contact the HFL Service Desk on 01438 844777 or email@example.com.
Authored by Chris Carter and Kevin Crawley.
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