Young people in Bradford schools get online to improve school results
Education Bradford today announced that it has successfully connected 170 schools in Bradford with a high speed communications network from Telewest Business to help schools improve their results in the area. This completes the second stage of a three-year project to get 200 schools online in Bradford and to transform teaching and learning, and help improve school results and engage ‘hard to reach’ learners.
The benefits of getting schools connected to facilitate new learning applications have already resulted in Bradford schools achieving an improvement in GCSE results which is above the national average. Key Stage 4 results particularly saw a significant increase with the new network facilitating access to online revision resources, more motivating lessons and more choice about how and where young people in Bradford learn.
Amongst the e-learning applications and instructional tools, schools in the area have already started to use multi media applications, including video links with international schools to encourage exchange. Other new curriculum projects have included online collaboration projects such as YA-OUT, designed to engage African and Caribbean origin children at school which had been ‘hard to reach’ learners. To ensure school pupils get the chance to access ICT resources at home, the Bradford Broadband Project has also enabled a pilot project with a local regeneration board to provide homes in the area with broadband access through wireless technology from schools.
“Bradford schools have had a troubled IT history,” said Mark Chambers, IT Strategy Manager, Education Bradford. “It is a testament to this project, in which Telewest Business was a key partner, that 170 schools are now connected and collaborating to get access to quality and cost-effective connectivity. This is already starting to transform teaching and learning and positively impact the results young people in the area are achieving. The reliability of the service has encouraged voluntary engagement from schools in the programme. Not adopting an approach of externally imposing service on schools has motivated them to adopt the new e-learning opportunities faster. People have been envious of our bandwidth connectivity for sometime”.
Bradford schools have been connected with Telewest Business’ Evolved Ethernet giving them the ability to handle converged voice, data and video traffic across a high speed network designed to support current and future needs. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) requires that all primary schools have 2Mbps and secondary schools operate 8Mbps connections by August 2006 as part of the UK Government’s drive for Broadband Britain. The Bradford Broadband Project has been able to exceed these Government specifications with the Telewest Business network, with some schools taking 100 Mbps of connectivity to support a higher number of students and multi media applications.
“Telewest Business is proud of the achievements made by schools in Bradford working together with the Bradford Broadband Project,” said Christopher Small, Director for Public Sector, Telewest Business. “Bradford schools are showing that e-learning can make a difference. We are committed to ensuring that all young people have access to a level-playing field in education through the same level of quality bandwidth. E-learning can transform teaching and learning and we look forward to getting the remaining schools in Bradford online, and continuing to support making learning more exciting for young people”.
Education Bradford is one part of a strategic partnership for education in Bradford. The other partners are the council, the Education Policy Partnership (EPP) and schools. Following Bradford LEA’s critical OfSTED inspection of 2000, Bradford Council decided to establish a strategic partnership for the provision of school-focused educational services. Whereas other local education authorities (LEAs) in the UK retained money for the provision of broadband to schools, Education Bradford exemplifies a new approach. Schools were encouraged to voluntarily sign-up to the programme rather than it being imposed on them.
As the Bradford schools’ network is centrally managed, this ensures that the onus is not on individual schools to ensure that they comply with security requirements or Government regulations regarding content filtering. Network usage can be measured down to which applications are running on which machine to ensure bandwidth usage is closely monitored and irregular usage patterns are immediately identified.
Telewest Business’ Evolved Ethernet services, available from 10Mbps up to 1Gbps connection speeds to suit the bandwidth demands of the application in use, offers Education Bradford unparalleled flexibility to increase bandwidth for schools as and when required. The network is also future-proofed to support the Government’s long-term e-strategy to ensure that all learners have access to a virtual learning workspace that moves with them as they progress their learning in Bradford.
Notes to Editors
Telewest, the broadband communications and media group, currently passes and markets to 4.7 million homes and provides multi-channel television, telephone and internet services to 1.8 million residential customers and Telewest Business, the company’s business division, supplies broadband communications to the public and private sector markets. Its content division, Flextech, is the BBC's partner in UKTV. Together they are the largest supplier of basic channels to the UK pay-TV market with a portfolio that combines wholly owned and managed channels, including the ten joint venture channels with the BBC. For further information go to http://mediacentre.telewest.co.uk
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