“A ground-breaking agreement to transform and improve public services in Norfolk by harnessing the power of new technology has been announced today between Norfolk County Council and HP, and its key partners Microsoft and Vodafone.
At the heart of this innovative partnership is the Council’s commitment to its Putting People First strategy. The use of technology and better sharing of data and resources between partners is fundamental to building the right services for Norfolk and the new partnership will support closer and more informed working.
Over the coming weeks the County Council, HP, Vodafone and Microsoft will be inviting partners and other agencies to participate in a number of initiatives to support better education, higher education and sustainable public services.”
Launching Digital Norfolk Ambition, Norfolk County Council Leader, George Nobbs, said:
“Economic growth is at the top of the County Council’s priorities, and this groundbreaking partnership will ensure that we are best placed to achieve that...
“New learning courses for our young people, access to the latest equipment for our school children, new apprenticeships and practical help for businesses add up to a formidable package of investment in our county. Raising attainment of our children and bringing public services together are absolute key measures of success.”
The full press release is available here
What does this mean for schools?
The partnership with HP and Microsoft brings expertise, knowledge and educational initiatives to Norfolk working with ICT Shared Services to deliver innovative, affordable ICT technologies which have a positive impact on learning.
In addition, all schools in Norfolk will be approached in the coming weeks to gauge interest in joining the initiative with the aim of providing devices for teachers and pupils at heavily discounted rates ‘Tech camps’ will be held for teachers in Norfolk to keep them abreast of the latest technological developments, and an online IT academy will be launched along with a new competition - to be called the Norfolk Challenge Cup - to unlock the IT potential of Norfolk school children.
We have already commenced work with HP and Microsoft to develop a more exciting and innovative service portfolio designed for schools to build on our existing service offering, throughout the procurement dialogue we have been very clear that for schools one size does not fit all, for any sector or age range, for example, that individual schools have different needs for different blends of devices with different operating systems ie the right tools for the outcome.
Our aim will be for a more exciting, flexible portfolio of services which
Supports the Computing Curriculum
can respond more quickly to changes in schools
offers training and continual professional development opportunities for staff
underpins learning and teaching and can demonstrate the impact on learning
is affordable and sustainable
engages with schools to support future planning and budgeting via roadmaps for emerging technologies
When will the changes be available?
We want to be sure that a new service model delivers what schools need from ICT so we have spoken to some schools who attended the press launch to understand more about the challenges facing schools and how ICT could support this.
We have discussed with Schools Forum and we will continue to consult with schools via school visits and workshops to discuss our initial proposals and gain your feedback.
We aim have some new services ready for April 2014 including a roadmap for emerging technologies and access to an on-line catalogue of services to pick and choose services more easily. This will tie in with the launch of our new ICT Refresh Programme from April 2014. We will then continue to develop services and contracts during 2014.
What will happen to the current services such as SIMS and Google?
Schools can continue to rely on all their existing services including SIMS, Google Mail and Google Apps for Education. The aim is to offer greater choice and develop the Norfolk Cloud Portal to enhance the services available as well as customising the portal to reflect your appropriate year groups . Microsoft 365 will be available to enhance and complement the range of apps, including the familiar Office tools and other learning resources.
Part of the planning will be to review what individual schools are using and assess the most appropriate options for them to transition any changes.
SIMS and Broadband are not affected by this partnership and the current service model. However we will be talking to all our major suppliers to see how we can build a more holistic offering to support schools to exploit their investment for teaching and learning.
How will I know what is happening?
We will update you via the ICT ebulletin, ecourier and via our website as the partnership develops and we develop the plans for schools’ feedback.
We are currently planning the first pilot Tech Camp for teachers near Easter covering Computing and the Kodu Cup as well as a DNA for schools launch event in March. More information will follow shortly.
We are pleased to tell you that the project is progressing well and is now half way through.
Work completed to date is as follows:
In November 13
Internet connection - The connection to the internet was doubled and completed
All Secondary schools were de-throttled to receive the full 100Mb capacity of their connection
All Primary and Secondary schools with 10MB connections were de-throttled to receive the full 100Mb capacity of their connection
We have received some very good feedback from a number of schools indicating the very positive difference that these changes have made to the internet performance in school.
For the 2MB Learning Stream schools where Superfast Broadband will not be available in the area during the duration of the contract and are having an additional ADSL line to increase capacity – then 34 out of 62 schools have been completed.
For schools moving to Superfast Broadband where SFBB is already available, these are moving ahead of schedule - 43 schools out of 78 schools have been completed.
A number of other primary schools will move to SFBB from May 2014 through to March 2015 on the back of areas across the County being enabled for SFBB as part the Better Broadband for Norfolk project. For clarity, the schools upgrade project is managed totally separately from the Better Broadband project.
To check the progress and connection type for your individual school please go to the Broadband tracker .
Norfolk Schools Broadband Service – far more than Broadband
Norfolk Schools Broadband Service is a complete package of learning and teaching tools and resources with safe and secure connectivity and communication services designed to safeguard your young people and data which is a world away from the high-street broadband deals that schools and academies are offered. The improvements will support learning and teaching and the increased use of all the resources included in your Norfolk Schools Broadband package.
For example the Norfolk Cloud Portal offers access for staff and pupils to a wide range of applications requested by the school community from anywhere 24/7 through a single point with one user ID and password. It includes Google Apps for Education for all staff and pupils i.e. Google mail, calendar, spreadsheet, word documents, presentation, drawing, 25GB of free storage per user, Blogger and many more.
Since the Norfolk Cloud Portal was launched in November 2012 the use of the learning resources available from E2BN has increased by 25%, due to the ease of a single access point for users to the appropriate content to support a particular piece of learning. E2BN learning resources as well as many other resources from the National Education Network are included in the package at no extra cost for Norfolk Broadband schools
The Norfolk Cloud Portal has been acclaimed by national education leaders for its innovative approach to support anytime, anywhere access to learning resources.
Smoothwall internet filtering offers schools more choice, flexibility and local control over the filtering in school. More information about Smoothwall functionality is available here.
As a result of the Digital Norfolk Ambition project and the partnership with HP and Microsoft we will be developing the Cloud Portal to include Microsoft 365 and the range of their applications.
This is just a flavour of the features of the Norfolk Broadband Service. More information about the services is available on the front screen of our website www.ict.norfolk.gov.uk