• Darren O'Connor

DfE - Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges

On the 23rd March the Department for Education(DfE) released some guidelines centred around 4 key areas for technology standards in schools and colleges:


  • Broadband internet

  • Network switching

  • Network cabling

  • Wireless networks

As a technology supplier to a number of schools and Trusts I thought I'd have a read through and digest some of the content. To be honest, it didn't take long. Whilst I congratulate the DfE for pulling something together the content provided is pretty high level. This feels like the groundwork for further development which I hope the DfE will build upon.

Some interesting points to note that I did pick up on:

  • Whilst they touch on recommended internet pipe speeds for primary and secondary schools with adequate filtering for safeguarding they should have also iterated the fact to check that their UTM is also adequately sized. No point in procuring a 1Gbps internet connection and then having this throttled by your firewall to 750Mbps or 500Mbps.

  • Recommendation for a backup broadband connection. Excellent. Would also highly recommend this. However they don't point out that these services should be provided by a different provider using a different exchange from the primary connection and running the service in via separate ducting etc keeping it all physically separate.

  • Glad to see that the DfE are recommending 1Gbps to the endpoint. Still seeing too many schools running 10/100 switches or worse….hubs.

  • Dedicated physical stacking ports supporting a minimum of 40Gbps interconnects. I love this one. Do Ubiquiti/Unify support stacking….? No, they don't, and I wish schools would stop deploying their products.

  • I do challenge the requirement for a minimum of 2x10Gbps uplinks from edge stacks to the core. Looking at data usage across these links on the many installs we've undertaken schools aren't touching the sides of 1Gbps uplinks never mind 10Gbps.

As previously stated this was only released a week ago so lets see how the DfE progress this.

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