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Torquay Boys’ Grammar School

Torquay Boys’ Grammar School benefits from a flexible web filtering gateway to protect pupils and staff from inappropriate web content on a ‘who, what, when & where’ basis.

Torquay Boys’ Grammar School was founded in 1904 and converted to academy status in 2010. It serves the needs of more than 1,100 11 and 18-year-olds. The School is one of the top 20 boys’ schools in the country with its three most recent Ofsted inspection resulting in “outstanding” judgements.

The School had been a long-term subscriber to the South West Grid for Learning’s web filtering service but had increasingly found this to be too inflexible. Furthermore, the School’s use of bring your own devices (BYOD) had tripled in the preceding months with more and more students and staff bringing in their own smartphones, tablets and laptops, and requiring access to the School’s network as a result. The School needed a web filtering service that would keep step with the demands on its network. The network manager wanted to set its own filtering policies as and when they were required without having to wait for third party involvement. The network manager wanted to use a more sophisticated filtering tool that was easy to administer in-house. He wanted to be able to set the parameters on a year-group basis rather than a “filter-on” or “filter-off” basis that may have blocked staff or older students from viewing particular content.

swcomms was already in contact with the School following the installation of a new telephone system in 2013. Therefore our account manager was in the ideal position to offer advice on its web filtering requirements and he advised them to invest in a Smoothwall web filtering gateway product. This provides protection against web-borne viruses, spyware and phishing through URL filtering and layer 7 controls that use deep packet inspection to identify 100+ different kinds of traffic. It allows the network manager to monitor and restrict access to undesirable sites and content using real-time analysis to protect pupils and staff, and to protect the School from litigious incidents. The IT team can to block websites, inappropriate search engine content and social media sites.

Giving control to the network manager
The network manager can apply “who, what, when, where” filtering policies to enable access by year group, student or staff status, time of day or location of the device used. Students are protected while staff have more freedom to browse. Protection against network downtime and disruption is aided by preventing inappropriate traffic from jamming the network. The School can limit bandwidth use too by policy, category, user, time or location. BYOD filtering for pupils, staff and guests ensures every user has to log onto the network to identify themselves before using their devices. This School then has control over what content they are accessing while on the premises. A full audit trail gives the network manager the ability to produce reports on web usage, access requests, content viewed and sent, and bandwidth utilisation.

Kevin Smith, network manager, said: “Smoothwall offers us the versatility we need with the ability to filter by age group or by staff and students.”

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