What Is Connect The Classroom And How Can I Get Funding?
ICT and communications are a vital part of the modern world, relied upon by schools and colleges as well as the students and teachers within them. But with the ever-rising costs of procurement and the endless tightening of budgets, it can be difficult for teaching establishments to set aside money to invest in modern WiFi infrastructures —that is exactly what the Connect the Classroom Scheme is for.
Connect the Classroom is a programme funded by the Department for Education (DfE) with the goal of helping struggling UK schools gain access to a comprehensive and reliable, education-focused wireless networking solution.
To learn more about how the DfE funding scheme works and to check your eligibility, read on below.
What Is Connect The Classroom?
Connect the Classroom is a programme funded by the Department for Education, designed to equip schools all over the UK with cutting-edge, reliable wireless networking solutions.
Inspired by the government’s commitment to strengthening educational networks, “Connect the Classroom” is a lifeline for schools across the United Kingdom. According to the official Government website, the Connect the Classroom scheme is a “well-funded program designed to supercharge internet speeds within schools by upgrading WiFi access points and network switches.”
The success of the programme took flight last year when the Department for Education launched a pilot scheme involving 1000 schools within Education Investment areas. Since the undeniable achievements of this launch, the government is now ready to expand the program to cover and covering a significantly larger geographic span. An impressive £180 million has been earmarked for schools throughout England which fit the criteria for them to enhance their WiFi connectivity and improve their digital infrastructures.
The main objective of the DfE scheme is to amplify the transformative impact of high-quality technology on education by ushering in next-generation Wi-Fi 6 technology. However, the clock is ticking to get your applications approved as this golden opportunity only remains open for schools to seize until 2025.
We, as Aruba partners, had the privilege of being able to engineer and implement high-quality, high-speed networks to schools that have secured the “Connect the Classroom” funding.
Who Qualifies for Connect the Classroom Funding?
Unfortunately, the DfE funding is not open to every school in the country. To secure the Connect the Classroom funding, your school must meet specific eligibility criteria, meticulously outlined by the DfE. Let’s delve into what it takes for your institution to qualify.
Education Investment Areas (EIAs) and Ofsted Rating:
Firstly, for you to be eligible for funding, your school should be situated within a DfE-recognised Education Investment Area (EIA) and hold a less-than-‘Good’ rating in its latest Ofsted report. An EIA is a region that has been identified by the DfE based on performance metrics across key stage 2 and key stage 4. In total, 55 areas across England were designated as EIAs, and the lowest performing among them were categorized as Priority EIAs.
In Priority EIAs, including regions such as Blackpool, Bradford, Liverpool, and more, all schools within these areas are automatically eligible for the Connect the Classroom funding scheme. You can see the full list of EIAs here. For other EIAs, known as “normal” EIAs, schools must meet the additional criterion of having a rating below ‘Good’ in their most recent Ofsted inspection to qualify for Connect the Classroom Funding.
Existing WiFi Network Standards:
Another crucial factor that the DfE will consider is the quality of your school’s existing WiFi network. If your school’s WiFi infrastructure happens to fall below the digital and technology standards specified by the DfE, then you may be eligible.
This means that, if your school is located in a Priority EIA, you’re already on your way to securing this investment funding. For schools in the broader Education Investment Areas, ensuring an Ofsted rating below ‘Good’ and a WiFi network that requires an upgrade are the keys to unearthing this invaluable financial support.
How Can Clarion Get You Connected?
The Clarion team are here to provide clear, expert guidance across a maze of Telecoms, and ICT solutions, with a proven track record in helping academic institutions to find the best solutions.
Not only do we have over 20+ years of learning and understanding the ever-evolving ICT landscape and a host of industry-leading partnerships under our belt, but we also boast a proven track record in helping academic institutions find the best IT and telecom solutions.
To get your school connected, speak to our team of experts today.