Better education for all with Connect the Classroom funding upgrades
As a Connect the Classroom partner, we’re helping the West Derby School Trust to transform their wireless and network infrastructure, eliminating outdated technology and connectivity constraints.
While the number of wireless devices in schools have rocketed, tablets and laptops are only as effective as the WiFi they connect to. As part of government’s levelling up agenda, the Department for Education (DfE) is investing £150m in their Connect the Classroom initiative, aimed at upgrading the technology in thousands of schools across the UK where education outcomes are weakest.
Liverpool’s West Derby School lies within a DfE priority education investment area. The single academy trust (SAT) was struggling with decade-old infrastructure and slow bandwidth speeds. This meant that the existing laptop and tablet usage was inefficient and ineffective, bottlenecks were common, and pupils and teachers were unable to rely on wireless technology to enhance learning experiences. Due to the age of the hardware there was limited scope for improvement, so a complete refresh was needed, with funding from the government’s Connect the Classroom scheme.
However, this came with a tight deadline as the project had to be implemented, approved and invoiced before the end of the financial year, in order to receive funding back from the DfE to cover costs. In addition, because it was a full refresh of West Derby’s wireless and network infrastructure, it required system downtime that had to be worked in after school and on weekends to complete on time. It was imperative that the system remained fully functional throughout the process, with minimal interruptions to its users.
New generation solutions
With over 25 years’ experience supporting schools with innovative edtech services, we were called in to help. We provided a full Ruckus network, including new core switches, edge switches and powerful WiFi 6 connectivity, to comply with the strict requirements of the DfE and address the Trust’s capacity crunch. Since the implementation, West Derby has seen a huge improvement in terms of WiFi speed and network reliability and functionality. From an IT administration perspective, Ruckus is robust and very easy to use, while giving the school far better management capabilities, especially over WiFi. Access to cloud services has also resulted in maintenance and IT support cost savings, as teachers can now go paperless and hardware such as servers, have been decommissioned.
Interactive learning experiences
Besides delivering on the Trust’s infrastructure requirements, the new technology is also helping to deliver exceptional learning experiences for both pupils and teachers. Learning is now more interactive, placing the benefits of modern technology directly in the hands of all students. There are no more limitations as to where technology can be used - pupils can link up with peers, experts, and specialists in countries from around the world via live video calling, and entire classes can simultaneously surf the internet on tablets together, as part of structured lessons. For the first time, students can study technology as a subject, and teachers are spending more time doing what they do best - teaching - as opposed to staring at never-ending loading screens.
Levelling up left behind areas
As a popular and oversubscribed school, West Derby aims to challenge the educational and social disadvantages of their area by producing students that are happy and successful. This aligns with government’s objective of levelling up education for all, especially in areas where teaching and learning outcomes are weakest. It’s fantastic then to know that together we’re doing far more than just implementing a new hardware solution. Instead, we’re playing an active role in the future success of our children and young people by making sure they continue to thrive.
If you are eligible for Connect the Classroom funding, we can help. Contact us for more information by emailing email@example.com