Aston Fence Junior and Infant School is a mainstream primary school located between Sheffield and Rotherham. Already a long-standing Impelling IT support customer, we listened intently when the staff shared their frustrations about their existing broadband and internet filtering provider.
With the feedback we received from Aston Fence and our other school clients, we set about designing and building an e-safety solution of our own. The staff at Aston Fence explained they needed a system that would address the following issues:
Lack of control
Teaching staff told us they were dissatisfied with the inability to make changes to the system. In addition to being reliant on the supplier to alter the configuration for them, there was a significant amount of time spent waiting for each change request to be actioned.
By contrast, Impelling’s filtering system, Studysafe, gives users a great deal of control to customise the system as required. Because our coders build software and web applications from scratch, our products are inherently more flexible than templated solutions from resellers.
The previous filtering system wasn’t very user friendly in many respects. For example, the system required two different logins. Most adults would agree that’s not ideal but when you consider you’re asking primary school aged children to do that, it becomes even less practical. Students were finding themselves locked out if too many incorrect logins were attempted. This led to sharing generic passwords, which effectively negated the intended security function. So we gave them a more user friendly interface with single sign on access that was more age-appropriate.
The school’s previous filtering system was unreliable and prone to going offline on a weekly basis, too. This was intensely inconvenient for teachers who had planned a lesson they could not then deliver. Students would be sent back to their classrooms, disappointed and with learning objectives not met.
Another complaint from the staff at Aston was around areas of poor coverage when accessing the internet via a tablet device. Luckily, our experienced IT team knew exactly how to solve this problem and set about installing a multi-access point Wi-Fi system designed to provide strong wireless signal to even the furthest corners of the school.
The roll out and soft launch of our filtering system began at Aston Fence, and within the first couple of months another two schools signed up, with more being continually added. We’ve had feedback from several schools that the system works well, blocking every bit of inappropriate material on the web. This combined with the flexibility and control over what gets blocked gives staff confidence that their IT based lessons can be conducted safely and without any safeguarding issues.