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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessing-your-school-ict-infrastructure/assessing-your-school-ict-infrastructure
Why is high-quality infrastructure important?
ICT infrastructure is the physical and technical components of an individual school network. In some cases this could be a wider network connecting a group of schools.
It comprises several different systems, including:
- physical cabling and data connections that form part of the building fabric, typically using copper cabling with fibre-optic links between buildings
- switches that move data from one place to another and make sure it routed correctly
- wireless equipment - wireless access points (WAPs) provide the wireless connectivity (wifi) required in various locations inside or outside a building
- equipment to connect to the internet and to other schools, including routers and systems for security and filtering
- management systems to control and coordinate the systems in a cohesive, secure and effective way
Poor infrastructure will have a negative impact on lessons and staff. Investment in infrastructure requires a sound strategy that looks several years ahead.
What should schools consider?
Your IT support team should be able to provide an overview of:
- your current infrastructure
- the areas that require attention over the next 3 to 5 years
You should consider:
- contracts – what service and support contracts and warranties do you have in place for the systems that your school depends on
- stability and performance – what works well and is trusted and what causes frustration
- strategy - what plans do you have to increase educational use of cloud and online services in the short and medium term
Benefits for schools
Economy – saving money
The ongoing running costs of poor ICT infrastructure can be significant. For example, poor ICT infrastructure can result in schools needing to invest more in:
- technical support
- replacing individual parts
A planned programme of design, investment and support will reduce long term costs.
Efficiency – saving teachers’ time
Good ICT infrastructure should be reliable and seamless.
When staff trust that their systems and infrastructure work, they can use them to reduce workload. For example, by improving communication, collaboration and planning.
Reliable systems also eliminate the need for teachers to prepare alternative approaches, should technology fail.
Effectiveness – what you can do
Well-functioning and well-maintained infrastructure:
- allows teachers, students and admin staff to use technology in a timely and appropriate manner
- supports teaching and learning
For example, good infrastructure allows students and staff to:
- log on to their devices quickly
- share content and material
- provide online feedback quickly and reliably
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
You may need to update your policies for managing personal data as you make changes to your infrastructure.
The data protection toolkit for schools includes more information.
DfE’s commercial team has a range of advice and guidance to help you secure value for money and make the best use of your resources.
More information is available in:
Buying for schools - guidance on procurement
Deals for Schools - help to get cheaper prices through pre-negotiated contracts across a range of technology products and services
More guidance on ICT infrastructure is available within section 4 of DfE’s Output Specification for school buildings.
Our Broadband for schools: introductory guide guidance provides further information for schools when considering their broadband options.
Our Cloud computing: your school and the cloud guidance provides further information for schools when considering their cloud options.