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16 Mar 2018

Torquay Boys’ Grammar School

Who

Torquay Boys’ Grammar School (TBGS) is a selective secondary school for boys aged 11-18 years and sixth form for girls aged 16-18 years, based in Devon, UK.

The Challenge

TBGS needed a flexible web filtering and firewall solution that allows you to apply different rulesets to different age groups.

Big Results

After implementing Smoothwall’s UTM solution, the school now provides each year group with appropriate internet.

What’s the background?

Torquay Boys’ Grammar School (TBGS) is a selective secondary school for boys aged  11-18 years and sixth form for girls aged 16-18 years. Based in Devon, TBGS currently has 1099 students. The school was established in 1904 and moved to the current, purpose-built Shiphay site in 1983.

TBGS has been identified as one of the top 20 boys’ schools in the UK and has achieved the ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted in the three latest inspections.

The solution was functional but not ideal – it’s capabilities were very rigid.

Kevin Smith Systems Manager

What was the problem?

Kevin Smith, Systems Manager at TBGS, explained that the school was previously a Southwest Grid School therefore SafetyNet was provided as the standard filtering solution.

Kevin commented, “the solution was functional but not ideal – it’s capabilities were very rigid. As students move through the school their ability to access different things on the internet changes and SafetyNet only allowed us to have one ruleset for all students. The studies of a Year 8 student differs from the studies of Year 13, so the need to have a flexible filtering solution was becoming more prominent.”

Smoothwall provides the ability to apply different filtering rules to different age groups in a superbly simple format, it’s a very useful product for me to have.

The way that it dynamically looks at users and their access, and the way I’m able to see what students are accessing in a more granular manner is great. 

Kevin Smith Systems Manager

How Smoothwall helped

After evaluating five solutions through the tender process, Kevin felt that the flexibility of the Smoothwall solution put it above the competition. He explained, “Smoothwall gives you the ability to apply different filtering rules to different age groups in a superbly simple format. For me it’s an extremely useful product for me to have.”

Kevin explained the impact Smoothwall has had on his team, “we used to get so many requests for unfiltering sites and adjusting rules – we could get up to 30 requests a week but now that’s completely dropped off. Now we get no more than 3 requests per term so it’s a massive difference and means we can concentrate on other tasks.”

“The user experience has also drastically improved – the staff and students experience of accessing the internet is a lot easier, and now we encourage them to use their personal devices, which wouldn’t have been possible with our previous solution.”

Kevin identified the reporting element as a vital tool for TBGS, “the reporting tool is fantastic, we use it a lot to maintain records and it also gives us the option to monitor a student’s access when necessary. Also the ability to manage our firewall rules is invaluable. With our previous solution I didn’t manage them myself so the process was ludicrously long, whereas now I can adapt them instantly!”

When asked if he would recommend Smoothwall, Kevin commented, “yes absolutely, the usability, flexibility and the continuing support is second to none. Smoothwall are constantly updating their product offering to keep themselves ahead of the marketplace and ensure the requirements are in place for anything that schools need.”

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Further Reading
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