Plans to continue ICT investments

ANGUS Council will continue to support schools by investing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The education committee heard the local authority’s plans to continue their commitment to developing ICT at a meeting on June 19 as the Dispatch went to press.

Early last year an additional £315,000 was provided on a one-off basis to fund various ICT projects and the investment has paid dividends.

A number of primary schools have started using wireless technology including the use of wireless access points. These access points enable every classroom in the school building to become an IT suite to ensure that all pupils have access to ICT learning opportunities.

In addition to this there are plans to incorporate a 100Mbit broadband link to the 24 burgh primary schools that currently have a 10Mbit link.

There are also plans to improve the broadband provision of more rural primaries in 2013 following a proposed BT upgrade in the area.

The report also states that 90% of primary classrooms in the county have the benefit of an interactive whiteboard.

The benefits of the funding have also been apparent in secondary schools.

Each year, secondary schools in Angus refresh 25 per cent of the IT equipment - this equates to around 345 PCs, servers and switches. The head teacher of every school decides how best this should be achieved on an individual school basis.

Wireless connectivity has also been provided in seven of the eight secondary schools. However, Brechin has not been upgraded to the proposed new build development.

Over the course of the next year the following schools will migrate to wireless networking: Aberlemno, Whitehills, Letham, Langlands, Carlogie, Tealing and Strathmartine.

Councillor Neil Logue, director of education, said: “Each school community will have input into decisions about the number and type of devices to be deployed.

“It is expected that this will be a combination of PCs, wireless laptops and wireless netbooks.

“It is estimated that the overall cost of this upgrade for wireless and non-wireless schools (who will have refreshed PCs) will be £214,000.

“£7,000 will also be required for the hardware support of the service level agreement for interactive whiteboards in primary schools.”

It is also planned to allocate £5,000 to games-based learning in primary schools.

Mr Logue said: “This funding will allow selected schools to start to introduce the concept of computer game programming to help to stimulate a successful learning environment and provide motivational learning contexts that suit many younger learners.”

Pupils with additional support needs will be provided with eight touch screen LCD devices for each “specifically resourced school” in the primary sector at a cost of around £40,000.

Finally, there are plans to introduce a “charging trolley” to each of the secondary schools. This would allow each classroom to become an ICT suite if required.

This will cost in the region of £180,000.