Web Filtering for Schools


This guidance document is for schools and academies and was updated in June 2020.




The Internet is, without doubt, one of the great achievements of the 20th century. Created in the 1960s, the Internet initially only connected a few university computers. Later, in the 1980s, Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web while working at CERN to allow researchers to collaborate more easily. It was later given to the world with no restrictions and, since then, there has been an explosion in interconnected computers (“the Internet”) enabling users to communicate with each other. To share. To learn. To teach. To collaborate.

In 2019 there were over 4.5 billion internet users – nearly 60% of the world’s population. (See: https://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm).

There are, however, consequences of this ability for billions of people to interact. Not all internet users share the same political, moral, religious, or sexual outlook. Nor do they share the same opinions on censorship. Some think anything, however outrageous or extreme, should be available to everyone and that all filtering is censorship, which they reject. Others go to the other extreme and would censor anything which threatened their particular world view. As usual, most people’s opinion lies somewhere in the middle: exactly where depends on the users of the system being filtered.

Many organisations from small companies, to ISPs, and even whole countries use web filtering systems: this document will concentrate on what to look for in a web filtering system designed for school use.

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