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Connect The Classroom – DFE Funded Network Upgrades for Schools

Wave 9 and Connect the Classroom - Funded Replacement Networks

News 20th August 2023


UPDATE 20th August 2023 – Connect the Classroom Update

As current projects in progress reach their conclusion and after taking stock of remaining budgets and forecast requirements the DFE are tweaking the processes around the CtC program to enable as many remaining eligible schools as possible to obtain new WiFi infrastructure.

The new FAQs seem to introduces some flexibility into the process;

Schools and their suppliers will retain the flexibility to install the most appropriate Wi-Fi and network equipment to meet local need within this allocated budget. Where schools wish to, they can refer to DfE digital and technology standards which provides guidelines around using the right digital infrastructure and technology.”

“What’s included? – Wi-Fi and networking equipment, installation, configuration, and handover. Investment in schools up to the end of the programme in April 2025 will focus on upgrading Wi-Fi with an increased reliance on existing network equipment (switching and cabling), ensuring the proposed solution improves the current Wi-Fi infrastructure in the school. “

Schools will now be allocated a budget and asked to submit proposals that meet the requirements and budget.  This is likely to introduce a new tier of manufacturers into the scheme on one hand, but also means that schools wishing to install a ‘premium’ brand are likely to have to find some budget to ‘top-up’ the DFE grant.  For schools with sufficient capital budget, this is perhaps not a major challenge, but many will have to settle for a hybrid, or part-upgrade.  In these instances, as well as traditional operating lease options, Wave 9 are able to offer a Managed Infrastructure as a Service proposition to fill the gap, whereby WiFi and LAN infrastructure can be procured as a managed service and paid for over a period of time to suit the school budget.  Inclusive support, maintenance, patching and warranty are included and attractive end of term options are available.  More details to follow, but this scheme is available for any school, and size, with a choice of hardware,  regardless of whether you’re eligible for the CtC scheme or not, Wave 9 can help.   Please ask for details for an initial chat.

UPDATE 31st Jan 2023 – Connect the Classroom Claim Deadlines

The DfE deadline of end of Feb 2023 for initial/part claims for CTC projects in Wave 4  has been removed.  Now the deadline is that the FULL claim must be submitted/complete by March 2024.  This relieves the pressure a little on schools who are still at the ealry stages of their CTC journey.  Although this has created some breathing space, I would recommend that schools who are running projects currently don’t take their foot off the gas and still aim for installations as quickly as possible (i.e. Feb Half Term or Easter).  There are still underlying stock issues and as Wave 5 schools start their process, supplier resource and install slots will become booked up.    In any case, the sooner new network is installed, the sooner performance improves.

 

UPDATE 01 November 2022 – CONNECT THE CLASSROOM PHASES AND STOCK

As the next phase of the funding and projects roll out, it’s worth double checking if your school is eligible for a network refresh;

For reference, the Connect the Classroom programme is open to the following types of school:

You can contact the DFE at ConnectTheClassroom.DfEICT@education.gov.uk

Wave 9 have completed dozens of projects succesfully and are we’re busy booking in the next customers for Spring Term.  Our product of choice is Cisco Meraki, which is fully compliant with the specifications. We can include any cabling requirements within the project and provide a project management wrap for a turnkey solution – we even help with the paperwork and claim forms.

Stock has been an issue in the current year, for lots of reasons, but this is starting to ease now.  However as the project ramps up for spring and summer 2023, we anticipate some delays in getting stock, so it’s important that orders are placed in plenty of time to secure hardware.

Please contact info@wave9.co.uk if you would like to know how we can assist you or have any questions.

 

UPDATE 25 March 2022 – NEW FUNDING ANNOUNCED

The DFE have now issued updated guidance detailing additional Connect The Classroom funding for around 3500 schools, focussed in 55 Local Authority Education Investement Areas where school outcomes are weakest.  Approximately £150M has been allocated to invest in modern, high spec Wireless and LAN infrastructure over the next 3 years.

 

If your school has been invited to apply for DFE funding under the Connect the Classroom scheme, Wave 9 can help.  With many succesful installations already under our belt, Wave 9 are well  placed to help you through the Connect the Classroom process and deliver a succesful project.  Our experienced team have implemented 100’s of networks with a minimum of disruption and have a great reputation for delivering projects on-budget on-time.

  1. Call or mail us to request an initial quote and discuss your requirements
  2.  Review and send the  quotation to your IT Adviser from the DfE who will carry out the final quality & specification compliance check
  3.  Once you have received confirmation from the DfE choose your supplier (hint – Wave 9!)
  4. Assuming you wish to go ahead with us, complete the order form with a PO reference and approved signatory.
  5. We will then be back in contact to arrange for the succesful delivery of the project, including a full site survey to finalise your design, acceptance testing and support from our project management team.

We’re also supporting these projects under single tender award process through Everything ICT, a compliant procurement framework that allows schools to purchase from a single supplier quotation, saving time and effort.

By choosing Wave 9 and Cisco Meraki for your Connect the Classroom project, the funding for the scheme can support up to 10 years of support and maintenance for your replacement network.  Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

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