20 Feb School broadband: upgrading your IT system to connect the classroom
Fast, reliable broadband is indispensable for schools. Many of a school’s day-to-day operations rely on good connectivity, and high-speed broadband allows teachers and students to access the best learning resources, connecting an increasing number of devices.
Schools need to upgrade their technology to stay current in an increasingly tech-led world, but also to meet government standards for high-speed internet by 2025.
In other words, getting your school’s connectivity right is essential. Reliable, fast broadband everywhere in your school is an investment that will pay dividends immediately and will even bring further opportunities to access cost-saving services in the future.
Upgrading broadband in schools will require a financial outlay but, fortunately for cash-strapped schools, funding help is available.
Connect the Classroom with high-speed broadband
The government recognises that getting the school infrastructure ready to support high speed internet could be difficult to fund. Connect the Classroom is a recently extended £30m initiative launched by the Department for Education (DfE) to help schools improve their broadband and achieve high speed internet even when located in rural or less privileged areas.
Eligibility for Connect the Classroom funding depends on whether your school falls into one of the regions identified by the government as needing extra support.
Faster school broadband brings costs and confusion
At a time when school budgets are already tight, getting school broadband up to speed could be a costly activity.
You have to make the right choices for your school, not just on a broadband package from a suitable provider, but also on the hardware and services to support and maintain your connectivity and security.
For a busy school leadership team, researching and understanding the intricacies of the IT options on offer requires a huge time commitment and a high level of expertise.
Where should school business leaders go to get the right quote? Is it safest to choose a big household name or business brand, or do you need to look for a specialist school broadband provider? Finding and comparing high speed internet services for schools is not straightforward. It can be difficult to interpret the alternatives on offer, even when using comparison sites, and it’s easy to be led down a blind alley by brands offering off-the-shelf solutions.
There’s so much choice in the market that finding economical solutions to meet your school broadband and other IT needs is a huge challenge.
How do you make the right choices for your school broadband?
Even with government guidance on choosing the right broadband for your school, you will face a baffling array of services and broadband providers claiming to offer the perfect solution.
If your school is yet to reach the government’s target, how should you go about putting the right technology in place?
1. Check your school is eligible for Connect the Classroom funding.
If your school qualifies, successfully applying for Connect the Classroom funding will be a huge financial advantage in helping you improve your broadband and thus enable enhanced use of online and connected educational technology opportunities.
2. Understand your current school broadband
To apply for funding to upgrade your broadband, school business leaders need to know their school’s current IT position. This is best done through a full audit of the current network, hardware, software, and services.
With a detailed school IT audit in hand, you can begin to see the kind of improvements required to achieve secure, high-speed school internet and all that it can bring.
Simply IT knows school IT needs, and can provide a comprehensive school IT audit of your current network and connectivity to give a clear picture of what you have and what needs to be improved – which can also identify areas for potential operational cost savings.
3. Apply for Connect the Classroom funding
When making an application for Connect the Classroom funding, school leaders must detail the upgrades they need. In other words, you must specify the hardware, software and services your school needs to obtain a grant.
The number of options claiming to help you achieve high speed internet in your school is overwhelming. However, most solutions will not be sold with your school’s individual circumstances or needs in mind.
Some businesses use clever marketing tactics to sell off-the-shelf IT to schools without taking the trouble to find out what they actually need to achieve high speed internet. Other brands even mimic ‘official’ providers of gigabit connectivity through their choice of web domain when they are no such thing. Pursuing such suppliers can lead to wasted time and risk effective use of school budget, without necessarily bringing the improvements in connectivity and data speeds that your school needs.
All in all, specifying the IT behind school broadband is complex and time consuming for busy school leaders. Simply IT can provide the expertise to ensure you make the right decision for your school’s broadband.
High speed internet for schools not eligible for Connect the Classroom funding
Even if your school isn’t eligible for Connect the Classroom funding, you can still improve slow broadband and patchy WiFi.
However, searching for fast, secure broadband for schools can be a minefield, and school business leaders need to know that their budget is being put to good use. Simply IT can advise on cost effective ways to get higher broadband speeds and better connectivity, even if your school is unable to access support from Connect the Classroom.
Broadband for schools made simple
To understand your school’s current IT position and how to achieve high speed broadband at a reasonable cost, let us cut through the confusion. Whether or not you fit the eligibility criteria for government funding, we can still help and advise.
Simply IT can audit your school IT system, support IT funding applications, and help you implement secure high speed internet across your school.
Find out more about Connect the Classroom and accelerate your shift to high speed school internet.