What is Connect the Classroom?
Connect the Classroom is a fully funded programme by the Department for Education aiming to improve network infrastructure in 600 schools across the UK.
The Connect the Classroom scheme is about allowing schools to upgrade their infrastructure to a solution that should last 10 years.
What is Connect the Classroom Phase 2?
In early 2022 the DFE issued updated guidance detailing additional Connect The Classroom funding for approximately 3500 schools, focused in 55 Local Authority Education Investment Areas where school outcomes are weakest. Around £150M has been allocated to invest in modern, high spec Wireless and LAN infrastructure consisting of 3 tranches. roughly :
- 800 schools 22/23
- 2,000 schools 23/24
- 800 schools 24/25
Am I eligible for Connect the Classroom?
This is an invitation-only incentive.
If you are eligible, your school will be sent an invite from the DFE. This will most likely go to a Head Teacher or bursar. If you think you might be eligible, ask your senior leadership team to check their mailbox, including their junk folder.
We believe eligibility is focused on OFSTED status and current LAN condition (i.e EOL, old, slow etc) as well as location.
What are the equipment requirements for Connect the Classroom?
The purpose of the Connect the Classroom funding is to future-proof networks that could last up to 10 years – as such the kit requirement consists of 2.5Gb capable APs and high-end switches – this has been relaxed a little given the stock situation across most manufacturers – some of which is outlined here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-digital-and-technology-standards-in-schools-and-colleges
The DFE need to approve the manufacturer’s solutions to ensure it meets their standards. Your technology integrator will be able to advise on what kit is and isn’t compliant and work with you to build a kit list.
Net-Ctrl is able to put forward compliant bids for both Aruba and Ruckus.
I have been invited to apply for Connect the Classroom funding. What next?
- Once contacted by the DFE the school is required to submit a compliant bid to obtain the funding. You will need to contact a supplier, such as Net-Ctrl, that is able to provide a quotation in a format that meets DFE’s criteria and requirements for your grant application.
- You can then review and send the quotation to your appointed IT adviser from the DFE who will carry out the final quality & specification compliance check. Should there be any questions/concerns, these will be raised and can be worked through with your technology integrator.
- Once your bid has been confirmed and approved, you can then choose your preferred supplier if you have gone out for multiple bids.
- You will then complete an order form for the proposed purchase with your chosen supplier.
- Should you choose Net-Ctrl, we will arrange a site survey to confirm AP counts and locations and firm up the topology diagram.
- Once both parties are happy with the design, we will complete the work including training for the solution.
- Post installation you will enter into a 5-year support agreement with your chosen supplier.
Who does Net-Ctrl work with?
In relation to the Connect the Classroom scheme, Net-Ctrl is able to put forward compliant bids for both Ruckus and Aruba.
When connectivity really matters, schools and colleges turn to RUCKUS. Whether you’re challenged with high client density, unfriendly- Wi-Fi building materials or just rising employee or customer expectations RUCKUS can help. Every RUCKUS access point is packed with patented technologies that go beyond the every day to ensure superior connections and awesome user experiences. The RUCKUS ICX family of fixed form-factor switches work seamlessly with the RUCKUS portfolio to deliver the most performance and cost-effective unified wired and wireless access solutions on the market today. Together they simplify network set-up and management, enhance security, minimise troubleshooting, and make upgrades easy.
Aruba has been at the forefront of innovation combining over 18 years of proven wired and wireless network expertise including Aruba AI that can identify anomalies and provide prescriptive recommendations that network administrators can trust. Aruba has repeatedly been recognised by third-party analysts as a leader in Wi-Fi, switching, SD-Branch, and a visionary in Data Centre networking. The world’s largest companies rely on Aruba to provide a secure, AI-powered edge services platform that spans across campus, branch, data centre, and remote working environments.