Websites accessed on the Schools Broadband Network go through a level of filtering to try to ensure that inappropriate sites are excluded. Schools have a range of content filtering levels to choose from and a summary of each level is provided below.
This level is the same as Level 2 but blocks websites belonging to the ‘Internet Communications’ category.
This level is the same as Level 3 but blocks websites belonging to the ‘games’ and 'personal storage' category.
This level is currently used by the vast majority of schools. It gives access to millions of websites including games but blocks 'YouTube', websites belonging to the 'personal websites' category and websites such as Facebook belonging to the 'Social Networking' category.
This level allows access to the same websites as Level 3, but also allows access to ‘YouTube’.
This level allows access to the same websites as Level 4, but also allows access to ‘personal websites category’, and other similar types of sites, such as blogs.
This level allows access to the same websites as Level 5, but also allows access to Social Networking sites, such as Facebook, and other similar types of sites.
The Schools Broadband Network operates two different filtering solutions
- Websense is deployed in the 100Mbit/s High Speed 2nd Level Schools.
- BrightCloud is deployed in the rest of the schools on the broadband network.
These are hosted services designed to provide Web URL filtering for schools, libraries, government agencies and enterprise businesses of all sizes.
Websites are put into categories, which in turn are divided across the filtering levels. Access to a website depends upon on its category, and the filtering level that a school has applied for.
Despite having millions of websites categorised it is possible that a website may be uncategorised or may have been categorised incorrectly. Where this is the case it is possible to suggest a category for this website to the filtering system.
Checking the category of a website
To ensure the website is available in all schools each filtering system should be checked.
The system is automated and usually responds within 24 hours. Once the website is categorised, and assuming it does not come under the blocked categories, it should be possible to view the website on the Schools Broadband Network.
Details on the Categories allowed within each Filtering Level
Good Practice and Internet Safety
While the Schools Broadband Network filters inappropriate and harmful web content and materials, each school will have to consider Good Practice especially in relation to Internet Safety including how to manage pupils own Internet enabled personal devices.
Changing Filtering Levels
Schools wishing to change their filtering level can download and return the Content Filtering Level (CFL) Form .
Adult Content Filtering
There is an Adult Content Filtering Level which can be switched on for a couple of hours to facilitate adult classes especially those for teachers or parents. Certain content categories will of course still be blocked during these periods e.g. ‘Pornography’ and ‘Malware’. NCTE reserves the right to block other content as required. Schools wishing to avail of this filtering level can download and return the Adult Content Filtering Application Form . Completed forms must be returned to the NCTE Service Desk (address details are included on the form) a week in advance of the class.