IT specialists help schools achieve faster broadband targets

A LEADING IT company is offering schools and colleges a free review of their broadband connectivity to help them achieve targets for faster internet speeds as outlined in the latest Government’s guidelines.

The Department for Education (DfE) recently released guidelines, entitled ‘Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges’, which recommends all establishments should implement full fibre broadband connections to give students, and staff, access to a fast and reliable service essential for the effective use of online learning tools.

To support local schools to hit these goals, Integrity IT Solutions, which has offices in Annan and Carlisle, is inviting staff at education institutions across Scotland and Cumbria to get in touch so their specialist team can carry out reviews of the current broadband speeds, and recommend next steps to help them reach the required standards.

Colin Hewitt, BT Product Specialist at Integrity IT Solutions.

The DfE guidelines say primary schools should have a minimum 100Mbps download speed and a minimum of 30Mbps upload speed, while secondary schools and colleges should have a connection capable of delivering 1Gbps download and upload speed.

Colin Hewitt, a BT Product Specialist at Integrity, said: “The Government’s guidelines are extremely useful in informing schools and colleges about their duty to provide effective internet speeds to ensure pupils have access to the online tools that form part of their daily studies.

“Integrity IT Solutions wants to support our local schools and help them find out if their speeds are anywhere near where they need to be and, if not, what steps they can take to reach these recommendations.

“This is why we are inviting teachers and staff from schools and colleges to get in touch and take advantage of our offer of a free review of their connectivity levels so we can provide advice which may not be easily accessible to them.

“Education has changed dramatically over the years to the point where online learning is a key component of the school day, so the importance of having fast broadband speeds is essential to prevent pupils being disadvantaged because of their school’s internet coverage.

“As well as allowing pupils immediate access to online tools, full fibre broadband will improve teachers’ confidence in making full use of the wide variety of internet-based resources available to them, instead of relying on the tried and tested, but restricted, range of tools they feel safer turning to.

“In the long run, implementing full fibre services will save the school or college money by using cloud-based solutions as an alternative to on-site technical infrastructure or products which may have storage and/or maintenance limitations.

“In essence, education establishments will be future proofed by introducing these faster, more efficient, broadband services and, as demand for online learning increases, pupils will be receiving a higher level of service to allow them to gain the most from their education in what is a fast moving, technologically advanced world.”

Other recommendations included in the DfE guidelines include schools and colleges having back-up broadband connections, and implementing appropriate IT security and safeguarding systems.

Introducing a back-up service ensures resilience and maintains continuity of internet services by avoiding one single point of failure.

IT security and safeguarding systems – for both child and data protection purposes – is essential in schools to ensure children are protected from potentially harmful and inappropriate material found online. 

While blocking certain websites and apps deemed unsuitable for children is integral to these protocols, it is also important for schools to establish ways to identify inappropriate material, intervene and resolve any issues.

Colin said: “This latest guidance from the DfE is absolutely vital to schools and colleges in making sure pupils and teachers are safe from inappropriate or harmful material which exists on the internet, and gives education leaders peace of mind that online risks are minimised.

“Acting as swiftly as possible to upgrade broadband systems will give our future generations the right tools to fulfill their true potential.”

Integrity IT Solutions is an authorised partner of global telecommunications giant BT and provides a wide range of digital services and products to communities.

To book a broadband connectivity review for your school or college, contact Integrity IT Solutions on (01461) 387040 or (01228) 594682.

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