Schools urged to act before closure of Government Wi-Fi funding programme

Schools across the North East are being urged to finalise approved projects under Government tech funding before the current scheme closes.

A total of £150 million is available through the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Connect the Classroom’ scheme. This funding aims to help schools pay for upgrading old networks and investing in new superfast Wi-Fi 6 environments. The move seeks to boost access to improved eLearning and digital resources for thousands of students and teachers.

However, the current round of approved projects under Wave 3 will see their funding packages close at the end of February. As a result, dozens of schools could potentially risk being unable to pay suppliers for any work completed after this date even if the work has been previously agreed, warns Gateshead technology specialist Advantex.

The ‘Connect the Classroom’ programme covers 55 Education Investment Areas across the country – regional ‘cold spots’ identified by the Government as part of their levelling up agenda. Rolled out in waves with specific schedules, the project is delivering millions of pounds of funding to upgrade school networks and provide enhanced access to eLearning resources, rapid connectivity and greater online reliability.

In the light of the closure of waves 1 – 3 of the ‘Connect the Classroom’ programme, schools may well need to seek alternative funding arrangements if they are to meet their technology requirements, says Advantex.

The news comes in the wake of a recent warning by the chancellor, who wants to see schools redouble their efforts to find savings, with some areas of spending seeing cuts. Analysts have also suggested inflation and soaring energy bills mean schools face a £2 billion funding shortfall by 2024.

Advantex, which is delivering ‘Connect the Classroom’ to schools across the region, advises education leaders facing strong financial pressures and cutbacks to act now to ensure they don’t miss out on the current funding boost.

Stephen O’Connell, sales and marketing director, said: “Investment in powerful new connectivity services will deliver not only greater resources but also some of the best possible learning environments for teachers, pupils and support staff.

“We understand the DfE’s technology for education requirements and continue to be at the forefront of delivering the quality network and connectivity solutions schools across the region need to better serve their staff and pupils well into the future.”

Advantex is experienced in developing DfE compliant designs and systems and undertaking detailed audits of schools to assess requirements. Infrastructure is then designed by a Meraki Cisco certified engineer to ensure the school benefits from an accredited installation, personalised project management and after-care package.  More at www.advantex.uk.com

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