All schools in Wales are to have access to superfast broadband speeds through £5m of new funding, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced on Monday 21st Nov.
Currently most schools in Wales have broadband connections of 10Mbps for primary schools and 100Mbps for secondary schools, delivered under the Learning in Digital Wales Grant programme. However, around 400 schools are unable to meet demand for faster broadband speeds as a result of the limitations of their current infrastructure.
This new investment programme will address these inequalities and ensure that all schools in Wales will have access the right technology and infrastructure to meet the needs of the school.
Each school will be evaluated to see which technology and upgrade works best for them, while also considering their need to increase bandwidth as demand for digital learning grows.
As a result, all schools will have consistent access to Welsh Government digital learning tools through Hwb, a centrally funded platform that allows teachers and pupils to access digital resources in the classroom. Prioritising schools’ access to super fast broadband was a key part of the progressive agreement between the First Minister and Kirsty Williams.
Ongoing Welsh Government reforms to teaching and learning in schools – including the Digital Competency Framework – mean digital skills will increasingly become a part of every element of the curriculum in Wales. Digital skills will now be used through all parts of a pupil’s schooling and not just isolated to specific ICT or computer science classes.
Kirsty Williams said:
“It is our national mission to raise standards and extend opportunities for all our young people. As part of this we are creating a curriculum fit for the 21st century.
That is why I am announcing £5m to ensure all schools in Wales have the infrastructure needed to prepare pupils for the modern world. This funding demonstrates our commitment to invest in learner’s digital skills and our education system to achieve our vision.”