Email services for schools
The OWL (Outlook Web Link) service is a fully managed email service designed for headteachers, admin officers, chair of governors and other nominated school staff. Hosted centrally from Winchester all inbound email is automatically scanned for viruses and unsolicited mail (spam) before delivery.
An email service specifically for pupils and teaching staff. It is normally administered locally by the school, administrative access is requested by the school through the normal support route. Schools that connect to the internet via HPSN SWAN are entitled to sufficient hosted email addresses to cover all pupils and teaching staff as an inclusive part of their HPSN contract provided that they administer the accounts locally. If your school requires more addresses than those currently provided additional accounts can be requested from the IT Help Desk . please contact the IT Help Desk for advice.
An online guide to using the web-based email service is available and assistance is also available for local school administrators. Additional support is available from the IT Help Desk.
For schools choosing to maintain their own email servers and systems. Hampshire County Councils’ SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) feed allows email to be delivered to an organisation's own mail server, giving the customer flexibility on how to manage their mail, for example by using Exchange. The service is provided to any HPSN SWAN customers who requests emails to be directed to locally hosted email servers.
Other email services
Some Hampshire schools (mostly secondary) host their own email servers to provide staff and students with alternative email accounts. These schools are responsible for maintaining the integrity of these services to their schools.
A project is currently underway to investigate an alternative email solution for all Hampshire schools (staff and students) and further information will be available in due course.
We recommended that you do not set up email to redirect to an external email account because:
- emails will be sent unencrypted with the potential to be intercepted by a third party
- emails containing personal data/sensitive personal data are subject to the Data Protection Act (1980) - if this type of data was disclosed as a result of automatically forwarding your 'hants.gov.uk' email, you would be held personally accountable for the loss
- some remote mail systems will not have adequate controls in place to protect the information (ie weak password reset procedures)
- when you reply to forwarded emails, the reply will come from the external email address not a Hampshire County Council account
- Hampshire County Council will not have copies or backups of replies from the external email address and they cannot be recovered in the event of a loss
- if the external account rejects email, or has an Out of Office set up, there is the potential for a mail loop to occur which can lead to a loss of the corporate email service.
If you need to access work email ...
If you simply want to redirect mail so you can check it while you're on leave or out of the office, there are alternative ways you can do this:
- Outlook Web Access allows you to view work email from any internet browser.
- Staff with a compatible personal smartphone can request access to Hantsnet Mobile Services to connect to their work email 'on the move'.
If you have a business need for redirecting emails ...
In exceptional cases only (and subject to Headteacher / senior leader approval) you may be able to arrange for your email to be redirected. You will need to follow these steps to do this:
- Complete the auto-forwarding application form (submission of this form demonstrates you have read, understood and agree to all the implications of automatically forwarding your work emails to an alternative external email address).
- The IT security and access team will contact your senior leader for authorisation and confirmation of the business need.
- Once authorisation has been given, an email will be sent to your external destination email which must be replied to before the process can be completed. The request should be implemented within 10 working days after the approval.
Security and protection services
All Hampshire County Council provided inbound email is scanned for viruses and unsolicited mail (spam) before delivery to the user. Schools hosting their own email server are responsible for providing this service to their users.
Schools should be very wary of allowing staff to download their private email at work as it is a potential source of virus attacks.
Schools should implement a policy of deleting email accounts when staff leave their employment at the school. Failure to do so would mean the user could still access the email system from any internet connection.
Centrally Managed Virus Protection is an automated service providing updates for McAfee AV software for schools subscribing to the anti-virus element of the Hampshire IT SLA and who are connected to SWAN / HPSN2.
The majority of Hampshire schools purchase the McAfee virus protection licence via the Hampshire IT SLA and are responsible for ensuring they remain current with relevant McAfee software updates. This is not an ideal situation with no guarantees that schools are fully protected.
To participate schools must subscribe to the virus protection element of the Hampshire IT SLA and be connected to SWAN / HPSN2. To sign up to the virus protection element of the SLA please call IT Help Desk.
Unsolicited emails, referred to as spam, accounts for a huge proportion of email being sent and received over the internet. This mail can be annoying, but more often it contains malicious content. Hampshire County Council provides an email service which scans inbound mail for spam and rejects mail deemed inappropriate.
For OWL users, any spam that the system identifies will be held in quarantine and a notification email sent to users. Users can then choose to accept the email if they recognise the source, or to delete it before delivery. It is not possible to send quarantine notices to @Mail users - this system is used by pupils who may release potentially unsuitable emails.
Some software, spam or viruses can ‘spoof’ email addresses which mean that they might appear to come from someone you know. This means that viruses can spread more quickly as you trust the email source. Always be suspicious of the content of an email, and don’t rely on purely on the sender.
Cyber bullying via email
The growth of email is making cyber bulling a real threat (especially to children) and schools should build this into their anti-bullying policy. There is further information on the internet and e-safety page.
Email addresses can be set up with a large degree of control over what pupils can do. For example, pupils’ addresses may be set up so that they cannot send or receive external mail. It can also be very beneficial to set up class or subject email addresses to protect anonymity (eg, email@example.com for instance).
All emails sent from schools should contain relevant disclaimers in the signature area. Two suggestions are provided below:
Staff email suggested disclaimer
This email may contain information which is confidential, legally privileged and/or copyright. This email is intended for the addressee only. If you receive this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from your computer.
Pupil email suggested disclaimer
This email is personal. It is not authorised by or sent on behalf of [SCHOOL NAME]. It represents personal views, which may not coincide with those of the school.
Unfortunately it is not currently possible in @mail to have automatic email signatures set up.
It is quite common to receive virus hoaxes via email that contain bogus warnings usually intent on frightening or misleading the recipient. They may even ask the user to delete certain files. Some simple advice is to:
- Delete all suspected hoax email.
- If you are unsure visit a well respected site such as Symantec to check.
- Do not open attachments in suspect emails as these can sometimes copy viruses and other threats onto your network.
Please note: the terms 'OWA' and 'OWL' are interchangeable. OWA 2003 is the same as OWL 2003 for schools.
For urgent issues, call the IT Help Desk on 01962 847007. For anything else, see our contact page.