ICT Services 4 Education


School ICT News Bulletin No. 214 - 22/01/2013

Published by ICT Shared Services

Smoothwall Internet Filtering

In December 2012 we advised schools via the ICT ebulletin that we were holding the first joint project meeting with BT and Smoothwall in early January to discuss the proposed implementation plan and said we would update schools after the meeting.


The main objective of the project rollout is the like for like replacement of the existing Bluecoat filtering solution with Smoothwall to improve the quality of internet performance. This means the main focus of the project will be to complete the replacement and then offer schools options to access the greater flexibility and granularity of filtering that Smoothwall offers. The project plan and timescales are as follows:


Technical installation of the Smoothwall infrastructure

BT and Smoothwall have arranged to complete the technical installation of the Smoothwall solution by 8th February ready for user testing.


Pilot with schools

We will pilot with a number of schools across all sectors and different filtering profiles from11th February with completion of user acceptance testing 1st March. We have selected schools to participate based on their filtering changes utilisation history and we will contact them by 26th January.


Main rollout

Subject to successful user acceptance testing, the phased roll-out will commence from 4th March with the aim to complete by the end of March. Secondary schools including secondary academies will be the first priority.


Initially the main rollout will be on the basis of migrating schools from their existing filtering profile to the equivalent Smoothwall profile. This is to avoid unexpected impacts to users in school in maintaining a safe environment. More information about the current Bluecoat filtering profiles is available here


More details on the main rollout will follow as the project develops.  We will be informing you in February of your migration date. We expect this will be a rapid transition of migration during March.


Smoothwall product options

As mentioned above schools will migrate from their current profile to the equivalent filtering profile. This means that for all schools (except those with their own local server filtering solutions) that you will be in the “Help Desk “ administered category in the diagram below. Your users should not experience any difference when accessing the internet. Your school can continue on this managed profile and contact ICT Shared Services for us to block and unblock sites on your behalf as before.

Levels of control with Smoothwall filtering systems are best defined on a scale of low to high control, as follows:


How can I get more flexibility and local control?


Option 1 Swurl – on-line portal

Later this term we will  ask you to register an interest in moving to Swurl, the middle block

of the diagramme above.  Training is required for 1 member of school staff to administer the Swurl on-line portal on behalf of your schools. This is a 1 hour session and access to Swurl will be provided after the training is completed.

Access to Swurl and the one hour training offered in the summer term for registered schools will be at no charge. More information and booking details will be advertised later this term.


Option 2 Local on-site device

Some schools might wish to move to Smoothwall Local On-site device, with a range of server solutions at a special  pricing for schools on Norfolk Schools Broadband. This is a chargeable option to the school for the box only including support, warranty and training. The cost of licences are included in your Norfolk Schools Broadband contract.


As an example, one High school considering a 1000 PC server solution with Smoothwall will pay a one off cost of £5100 for the local box, compared to £17200 for a 3 year contract, a saving of £12000 through the Norfolk Schools Broadband contract.


Help with choosing a Smoothwall solution

To help your school decide whether you want to use Swurl or a local on-site  solution for your school we will be holding two workshops on Thursday 14th February in mid- Norfolk to show you the functionality of Smoothwall options. Jill Duman, ICT Adviser will also cover an e-safety session at both workshops. 

There will be a Primary and Special school workshop in the morning and Network Managers Group in the afternoon. Times and booking details will be available shortly.


In addition Smoothwall will be attending the ICT Conference on Thursday 14th March.


Schools and Academies with existing Smoothwall local on-site filtering solution.

Gavin Logan from Smoothwall is contacting existing customers with pricing based on the Norfolk contract for those schools on Norfolk Broadband. This will save you the annual cost of the service as part of your contract with Norfolk Schools Broadband. More information is available on our website .


Schools with existing alternative school based filtering solutions

You will migrate to the core filtering on your existing profile at no additional charge. You can stay exactly the same on your existing arrangement or consider moving to the Swurl on-line portal or Smoothwall local on site device described.


More information is available on our website but if you have a particular query please log it with the ICT Shared Services Service Desk and we will respond to you. The Service Desk is available via email ict@norfolk.gov.uk or telephone 0845 303 3003 or you can log a call via our website http://www.ict.norfolk.gov.uk/LogCall.aspx.


We will continue to update you via the ebulletin and the website as the project develops

Author: Lynn Parvin

Encrypted emails from Norfolk County Council

You may have started to receive encrypted emails from Norfolk County Council departments to your schools Generic email accounts.


When Norfolk County Council send an email to a generic email account in a Norfolk school the email is encrypted during transit but arrives unencrypted. If the email is then forwarded over the public internet to a personal email account, or a Norfolk Schools Google NSIX account, it is not protected from unauthorised access.


This also applies if you are sending sensitive information to Norfolk County Council (@norfolk.gov.uk) email addresses.  Emails sent from generic email accounts are secure when sending sensitive information to Norfolk County Council accounts because they do not traverse the public internet, whereas the Google NSIX email accounts are safe but not secure because they do traverse the internet.


More information about sending emails from school is available here


Given the frequent sensitive nature of emails sent from Norfolk County Council departments to Norfolk schools we often use Norfolk County Council's secure email service (SPX) so that the email is still protected even if forwarded on.


The link below will take you to a user guide which explains how to use the encrypted mail service should you receive an encrypted email.


Norfolk County Council encrypted email user guide


Please remember that care must be taken when forwarding any email to Norfolk Schools Google NSIX or personal email accounts that the data within the document is not sensitive.  The below link takes you to the 8 key principles of data protection.




If you have any queries with regards to any of the above please contact ICT Shared Services Service Desk ict@norfolk.gov.uk or 0845 303 3003

Author: Rob Price