Smoothwall and e-Safe bring police-grade forensics to combat online radicalisation and grooming in schools

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2015 has seen a rise in headline-grabbing cases of young people in schools being entangled in extremism¹, groomed by predators², and victimised through cyberbullying. As provider of web filtering to over 7000 UK schools, Smoothwall are keenly aware of the new Child Protection challenges facing teachers, and the increasing priority placed on them by Ofsted, Estyn and Education Scotland.

Whilst Smoothwall's Content-Aware web filters protect children from harmful content originating on the Internet, students and staff can pose their own risks — both online and offline — to themselves and to their classmates and colleagues. In response to demand from customers around the country, they have partnered with forensic analysis and behaviour experts e-Safe.

"e-Safe is the other half of the puzzle", said Rob Wilkinson, Head of Public Sector Sales: "Smoothwall is tuned to match the technological requirements of e-Safety in schools, but e-Safe offers real personal intervention for the most sensitive of safeguarding cases. Traditional web security simply cannot replace the human element, and competing solutions can't match the Forensics Team at e-Safe. "

The Forensics Team in question are trained to spot signs of danger by CEOP, the Police's Child Exploitation & Online Protection scheme. Sexual exploitation, radicalisation and self-harm are arenas rife with euphemisms, slang, codes, and even appropriated memes. The Team's understanding of this culture, and ability to assess it on behalf of a school, is what makes their skillset invaluable.

As the Internet finds a way into every lesson, from PE to Art, the welfare of students online is no longer solely an IT matter. Schools have a requirement to observe problematic student and staff behaviour without the need for technical assistance. With e-Safe, designated Safeguarding staff will receive regular incident reports from the Forensics Team, providing an early warning for safeguarding issues. No configuration or IT intervention is necessary, and important child protection issues get one step closer to successful resolution. In situations where issues of high concern or illegality arise, the Forensics Team will contact the school immediately by phone to enable prompt mediation.

Mr Wilkinson continued: "We want schools to consider e-Safe's trained analysts as an extension of their staff. Demanding schedules make it incredibly difficult to have eyes everywhere at once, but this is the first real solution to the most complex, dangerous issue facing school IT use today."

Smoothwall is a UK-based vendor of web filtering and security solutions. Operating since 2001, their Secure Web Gateway and Unified Threat Management products protect over 7000 UK schools, and over 60 UK council networks. Market-leading innovations in Content-Aware web filtering, Chromebook Single Sign-on, and BYOD support across all mobile devices help create The Web You Want. For more information please visit our website at or contact the marketing department at marketing(at)smoothwall(dot)com.



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Jordan Holdsworth
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