The Cherwell School Achieves Web Filtering Excellence with Bloxx
“Now we have Bloxx Web filtering we can fully support the online needs of our students and teachers, allowing them to maximise the power of educational content on the Internet whilst ensuring they are fully protected from inappropriate or productivity-draining content. In addition it is immensely reliable, it is a set up and forget type of product and requires little onoing management.”
Dennis Ma, IT Technician, The Cherwell School
The Cherwell School offers secondary and sixth form education from two sites in Oxford. The school is ‘A Centre of Opportunity’, where as a community of individuals it is committed to creating and using opportunities to the fullest extent so that students, staff and members of the wider school community enjoy success and are equipped for the future.
In 2002, the school achieved specialist status in Science and was re-designated in 2008. The extra funding that comes from being a specialist school has allowed the promotion of science education at the school and the larger community in many exciting and innovative ways.
IT is one of the core subjects taught at the school and students have access to extensively equipped ICT network rooms in order to study IT and to aid online learning.
The school previously used a Web filtering solution from Websense delivered by its local education authority (LEA) to enable students and staff to access the Internet for teaching and learning. Dennis Ma, IT Technician at The Cherwell School explains, “We continually suffered from a lack of management and control over Web filtering at the school and if we required changes to filtering policies or had support issues, it was a very slow process which caused much frustration to the IT team, teachers and students.”
In 2008, the school turned to Bloxx for help.
The school installed a Bloxx 500W Web Filter to provide better Internet content filtering and deliver superior online protection for its 1,600 students and 150 staff. The real-time content analysis and filtering provided by Bloxx’s patent-pending Tru-View Technology categorisation engine enables the school to keeps users safe and productive when online.
Dennis explains, “With Bloxx Web filtering, we now have complete control over our Web browsing activity, creating policies that specifically support the online needs of our students and teachers, and maximising the power of educational content on the Internet safely at the school.”
For nearly four years, the school has been using Bloxx Web filtering.
Dennis explains, “We wanted to provide better Web filtering at the school, that was easier to manage and maintain, and have the necessary support in place in case we had any issues that we needed immediately resolved. With Bloxx Web filtering, we have all of this and more. Our Bloxx Web Filter is immensely reliable, it is a ‘set up and forget’ type of product and delivers all the protection we need to support our students and staff when online.”
The school operates Acceptable Use Policies.
Dennis adds, “We have introduced policies for different Key Stage groups and for staff. Key Stage 3 (years 7 to 9), Key Stage 4 (years 10 to 11), and Sixth Form (years 12 to 13) have different access policies, allowing each Key Stage group to only utilise the resources on the Web they need to aid their studies. Teaching staff are supported by a different policy which allows them to bring the power of Internet-based learning into the classroom and for independent online learning and training. This ensures we keep our users on the straight and narrow and that they are only able to look at online material suitable for an education provider.”
The Bloxx Web Reporting application allows the school to ensure students and staff adhere to AUPs and to quickly identify attempted breaches.
“Unlike our previous LEA/Websense solution that provided no reports on the school’s Web usage, the Web Reporting application on our Bloxx Web Filter provides comprehensive reports and logs that we consult when there has been potential mis-use identified and we need to investigate. The reports that we gather are quickly and easily forwarded to the relevant Head of Year for them to take the appropriate action and help us deliver on our e-safety compliance,” explains Dennis.
“Another way that our Bloxx Web Filter helps us with our e-safety compliance is through Tru-View Technology. The ability to block unsuitable Web pages automatically and right away helps us a lot as we cannot maintain a URL database on our own. This fast and easy real-time Web filtering delivers the much needed Internet browsing protection our students and staff require and assures the reputation of the school,” adds Dennis.
For the first time the school is enjoying flexible Web filtering that is reliable, easy to make updates to and effortless to maintain.
Dennis explains, “Now that we have our own stand-alone Web filtering appliance, we have the freedom to filter Web content based on our requirements rather than what the county dictated. Having real-time dynamic categorisation of Web pages means that we rarely have to re-categorise a Website that is either blocked or allowed. However, when we receive requests, we can quickly and easily make that change keeping our teachers happy. It has meant that we no longer have to spend time chasing up support requests with the LEA and taking support calls from our teachers.”
“The appliance was quick and easy to set up in our network, is highly reliable and the support offered by Bloxx is superb. I have always had a fast response to the few issues I experienced as Bloxx’s engineers are on the ball and very proactive. And when it came down to getting a hardware replacement, when Bloxx said next day they meant next day. That’s what I call service,” concludes Dennis.