ICT Services 4 Education


School ICT News Bulletin No. 227 - 12/09/2013

Published by ICT Shared Services

Norfolk Schools Broadband Service update - September 2013

Welcome back to a new academic year. ICT Shared Services would like to share with you some good new and very important updates on projects and services which have happened over the summer. We aim to share more regular updates on service developments over the coming months.


Norfolk Schools Broadband Service update – September 2013


Broadband contract extension

In MI sheet 181/13 we advised you of the improved ICT services for schools by delivering changes to internet infrastructure and bandwidth performance for Norfolk schools and academies.  A joint project team from ICT Shared Services and BT based in County Hall has developed detailed plans to implement the changes.


Site surveys have commenced to collect data about your school’s network cabinet capacity for the changes and this has continued over the summer holidays. 185 school surveys have been completed.

We said we would provide information for what this would mean for your individual school as well as showing the progress and expected timeline for your school. This is now available on our website here. This information will continue to be updated as the project progresses including more specific timescales.


BT expects to achieve improved performance for schools through changes to the supporting infrastructure as follows:


Internet Access

BT will double the shared internet provision from 1Gb to 2Gb to improve internet performance in all schools. This work is dependent upon the Smoothwall filtering solution sign-off (see more information on this below) so will be scheduled following the Smoothwall sign-off. Date to be confirmed as soon as it is available.


Broadband links for secondary schools and academies

The current rate limit on High Schools 100Mb links will be lifted to allow the full 100Mb bandwidth. This un-throttling of the link is dependent on the item above.  Date to be confirmed as soon as it is available.

Broadband links for primary and special schools and academies

This information is available via the website on a site by site basis as the solutions vary as described in MI sheet 181/13.


Smoothwall Internet Filtering

At the end of August BT moved all schools from the Bluecoat filtering service to Smoothwall with the intention that this would be a permanent move to Smoothwall, as we advised in the bulletin dated 23rd August.


During this period BT have continued to monitor the overall network performance as staff and pupils returned to school. To date we have  received only a few calls regarding misconfiguration calls which have been resolved and none relating to network performance.


We have therefore agreed that BT will continue to monitor usage until 23rd September to ensure the service is stable with the aim to sign off the project into normal service on 24th September.

It is therefore important that if you have any disruption to your Internet service (i.e. speed displaying web pages, or pages being blocked that were previously available to you) that you contact ICT Shared Services Service desk on 0845 30 33 003 or email ict@norfolk.gov.uk with a description of the problem you are having and ideally the time this took place.


In the event that some schools may see this screen below - this is because of a misconfiguration on the filtering system, so please contact ICT Shared Services immediately on 0845 30 33 003 with the following information:

What happens next?

You may recall that we said that Smoothwall offers different levels of filtering control. A description of this is available on our website here

We will arrange a further Smoothwall presentation event later in September to help you understand more about the functionality of the Smoothwall Internet filtering. This will help your school decide whether you would like to use Swurl, the online portal  for you to have greater control over your filtering  or a local on-site server solution for your school.  Jill Duman, ICT Adviser will also cover an e-safety session. More details will be available for this event and Swurl training shortly.


In the meantime if your school wishes to register interest in Swurl training please email ict@norfolk.gov.uk. Any schools that previously applied for this training will automatically be included in our plans and we will check details with you.

AVCO AnyComms Plus upgrade

We are currently implementing an upgrade with Children’s Services colleagues from the current version of AVCO AnyComms solution to AVCO Anycomms Plus, web based version of the secure file transfer. This means that any schools or academy in Norfolk will be able to use the product, which is funded by Children’s Services to support the secure, encrypted transfer of data. More information on this will be available shortly



Generic Email accounts increase in mailbox size.

BT have upgraded all the secure email mailboxes for head@, office@ etc from 300Mb to 500Mb. For more information about the Generic email boxes and email policy please click here


Neoteris replacement service 

The replacement Neoteris or Community Access service has been updated and is now available as a service.

Neoteris provides external secure access to files, folders and services in school that your users have access to in school. More information is available via this link What is Community Access together with more information about the service terms and conditions available here.

The initial set up cost and support is £379 per school.

Ongoing access and support in year 2 onwards will be £189.50 per school.

If you would like to have access to this service please email the service desk ict@norfolk.gov.uk and we will contact you to arrange set up.

Headteachers’ conference


ICT Shared Services will be available at the Headteacher’s conference on 26th September, please come and see us to discuss any of the above developments and any other queries that you might have.

SIMS Management Information System - Some useful Helpsheets for the start of the year:

We have been busy creating Helpsheets over the summer to answer some of the more common queries we get.

Please find below a list of links to the new Helpsheets.  They are all available from here

School and Pupil Census and the School Workforce Census information has been updated on the main Sims pages on our website

How to Admit pupils and other useful start of year things.pdf  

Helpsheet - Part time pupils.pdf

Helpsheet - Creating labels in Sims.pdf

Other notes for the start of year:

We have noticed that where schools have started the new academic year on the 3rd or later, you will have trouble finding the pupils in Attendance> Edit Marks.  This is because Sims looks at the data as it was at the beginning of the week (2/9/13), where the school is effectively in the last academic year.

The workaround is to use Focus > Attendance > Take Register.  Click on the binoculars, leave everything blank and hit search to bring back all available registers.  There will be no issue next week.

When you first log into Sims, you may receive the message:


This Message can be ignored.  It comes from the latest version of Adobe Reader (11.0.03) which was included in the release. It will occur on first launch of SIMS , click OK and the message should not appear again.

Some reports generated from Reports > Run Reports, that put the data into an Excel sheet will not run. Capita are working to resolve this issue.  If you are affected by this issue, please email ict@norfolk.gov.uk and quote ref number HD226292.


Other Helpsheets that have been added to our website:

Helpsheet - Adding a new exceptional circumstance.pdf

Helpsheet - Cherry Picking Pupils for Reports.pdf

Helpsheet - slg for teachers.pdf

Helpsheet - Setting the CTF folder in Sims.pdf

Helpsheet - TS Print Client.pdf

Helpsheet- Openhive.pdf

Helpsheet - Calendars in slg.pdf  

Helpsheet - Contracts and Service Agreements in Sims.pdf

Setting the Workforce Census File Location.pdf


Author: Broadband Project Team