Digital & Technology Standards Set Out For Schools

The DfE released its first set of digital and technology standards for schools. The government say these standards “should be used as guidelines to support your school or college [to] use the right digital infrastructure and technology”.

Zahawi clarified that he is “not going to wade in and start telling schools which bits of kit to use or when” rather he would “make sure schools get the guidance and information they need to make an informed decision”.

The guidance sets out standards for schools’ broadband, network switching, network cabling and wireless networks. Schools are advised that they should use a “full fibre connection for their broadband service” to ensure they will get the fastest speed available.

Schools are also told to “implement this standard as soon as you can” but are warned that the copper connections “widely used in schools at the present, do not meet this standard”.

A move to a full fibre connection will aid schools in their transition to cloud-based management systems – which Zahawi called “the way forward” during his BETT speech.

According to data from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) there are 3,835 schools in postcodes that do not have access to full fibre. The DfE also advises schools that they should have a “backup broadband connection to ensure resilience and maintain continuity of service”. Such measures would mitigate against a “single point of failure” amid the increased reliance on internet-based services.

Schools are told these resilient services should be implemented alongside, or as soon as possible after a new connection.

The DfE already expects schools to have appropriate IT security and safeguarding systems in place to comply with statutory guidance on keeping children safe in education.

But they are also now advised to install security features to their wireless networks in order to “stop unauthorised access” and “misuse of sensitive school or student data”.

This standard should be met when a school next upgrades an “underperforming or unsupported solution”.

Elsewhere schools are advised to ensure they have a “fully functional” wifi 6 signal throughout their school site and the ability to “centrally manage” their network.

Read more about these standards here.

Please note customers who make any third party changes such as broadband, must let us know so that we can make the necessary adjustments to the relevant systems. When this is done, a smooth transition is always possible. 

Contact us for a free network audit to ensure your school has a plan to meet these standards.

Published: April 4