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Pupils: Internet

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance he has issued on technical means of restricting pupils' access to inappropriate content via the internet at school. (188391)

Advice on how to filter internet access in schools is provided by the British Educational and Communications Technology Agency, Becta. Advice is available on Becta's Schools site at http://schools.becta.org.uk under e-safety. Schools are also encouraged to ensure that their ICT facilities meet the requirements of Becta's functional and technical specifications for institutional infrastructure.

With regard to internet access, schools are encouraged to employ content and email filtering systems. The above specifications recommend these are managed by local authorities and/or regional broadband consortia (RBCs) as appropriate, in discussion with schools. Becta also maintains an accreditation process for providers of internet services to education. This is open to local authorities and RBCs as well as commercial providers. Becta strongly encourages all organisations providing internet services to education to put their service forward for accreditation.

Becta also publishes a range of e-safety guidance for schools. The following are freely available from Becta's publications website at http://publications.becta.org.uk:

Safeguarding children online - a guide for school leaders (published January 2008)

Safeguarding children in a digital world (published February 2006)

E-safety (revised): Developing whole-school policies to support effective practice (published February 2006)

In addition to Becta's own advice, the Department and Becta have provided support to Childnet to produce two CD ROMs in the ‘Know IT All’ series. The first provides advice and guidance to parents to promote safe use of the internet in the home by children. ‘Know IT All For Schools’ is aimed at secondary schools.