Berwick Academy – Smoothwall Filter Case Study
What’s the background?
Berwick Academy is a secondary school and sixth form in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. Since converting to Academy status in 2011, the school has been challenged with updating their IT network to meet current e-Safety requirements.
The Academy has a total of 800 students, including 180 in sixth form. They have current plans to provide a BYOD network to those sixth form students.
ICT Manager and e-Safety Officer, Eddie Jefferson, is in charge of the IT network. He ensures that it meets current security and safeguarding requirements to protect students and staff online.
What was the challenge?
The Academy was having serious issues trying to control access with their previous solution. The use of anonymous proxies was escalating and websites could only be blocked once an offending URL was manually flagged up by teachers.
With the solution draining both IT and teaching resources, the ICT department almost took serious action: “We were close to putting a blanket ban on the web and simply having a whitelist which teachers would approve.”
Eddie knew that this wasn’t the answer to meeting Ofsted’s new e-Safety requirements. He needed to find a way to showcase Berwick Academy’s commitment to E-Safety and safeguarding by protecting both students and staff more effectively.
How Smoothwall helped
After an extensive evaluation process, Eddie chose Smoothwall Filter: “With the reliability of the solution and the excellent technical support – Smoothwall came out on top.”
The excessive use of anonymous proxies has now been controlled, and Berwick Academy now have the appropriate measures in place to demonstrate they are meeting their eSafety requirements. “It has certainly done the trick with proxy bypass websites,” explains Eddie, before continuing. “Getting Smoothwall at the time we did was crucial, we needed to show we were keeping our students safe online”.
The comprehensive reporting suite further enhances their commitment to safeguarding as Eddie provides a full audit trail of web activity, on a monthly basis, through scheduled reporting. “It provides excellent reporting for pastoral staff and senior leadership.”
Smoothwall Filter has allowed the Academy to open up certain resources to aid learning, “Bandwidth Management allows us to throttle access to video streaming websites — it works well and does its job.”
As their requirements grew, and an upgrade was needed, they had the support and the result they hoped for. “The support engineers were great and the standard of the equipment is excellent.”
Overall, Eddie is happy he made the transition to Smoothwall and he doesn’t believe there’s a better solution for schools. “You’ve come up trumps for schools, the product is second to none.”
The support engineers were great and the standard of the equipment is excellent