YouTube is a video hosting service owned by Google. Historically, pupil access to YouTube in Cambridgeshire schools was restricted to the videos approved on a YouTube for Schools (YTFS) playlist managed by E2BN.The future of the YouTube for Schools scheme has been in doubt for some time, with new users having been unable to register for the past 18 months.
Google have now announced their intention to remove YouTube for Schools from 1st July 2016.
They have confirmed that the way they provide filtered access to content on YouTube is going to significantly change. For schools using Lightspeed filtering, it will no longer be possible to automatically provide a restricted experience for pupils, whilst leaving all content available to staff. Changes are to be made centrally by The ICT Service to enable the new Restricted Mode setting by default for all schools using Lightspeed. E2BN will also be updating the Protex filtering solution to accommodate Google’s changes; whilst there will still be distinct restricted and unrestricted levels of access, there will be a wider range of content available to pupils.
“E2BN believes that Google’s cessation of YTfS offers a very real risk to student safeguarding and places an additional burden on the technical staff who may need to manage the YouTube settings on every device.”
This change looks set to present a number of challenges in terms of implementation and providing a suitable level of access.
  • We can’t stop this happeneing.
  • We don’t believe that blocks/ firewalls/rules are the ultimate solution.
  • There is a risk, but nothing is 100% risk free - it is about managing the risk.
  • We manage risk by recognising and understanding the issues, judging the level of risk  and deciding what to do to keep safe.
  • Schools will need to be clear about the content, contact or conduct risks to these new changes.
  • All the above requires education and empowerment to stay safe online.
Pupil experience will be less restrictive.
From testing, it appears that the content available through Restricted Mode will be less restrictive than the old YouTube for Schools program. Any content that has been age-rated or flagged as inappropriate will not be available, however there is a larger quantity of age appropriate, but noneducational content accessible.
As with YouTube for Schools, video comments are disabled, and suggested videos should also be filtered.
Staff experience will be more restrictive for Lightspeed users.
As it is not possible to apply Restricted Mode per user with Lightspeed, staff will also encounter videos being filtered. Material suitable for teaching at Primary level should be available, however some Secondary level content may be blocked.
Schools can provide unfiltered access for staff by registering for Google Apps for Education (GAfE); signing in with a personal YouTube/Google account will not override the restrictions.
Schools can take responsibility for unblocking videos for pupils - this requires registration with Google Apps for Education.
Schools that register for GAfE can delegate users the permissions to approve additional content beyond that available by default – pupils would need to login with a GAfE account to view the approved videos.