Welsh schools 'need faster broadband' header image

Faster broadband will aid the education of Welsh children, according to a new report. 

A study by education watchdog Estyn has called on the government to take action to improve connectivity at schools in the country if the progress of youngsters is not to be hindered. 

Many schools in Wales struggle with slow broadband services and the report claims the education of children in these areas would see real benefits if faster services were available. It points to the Ysgol Llanrug school in Llanrug near Canerforn as an example of this.

A satellite broadband structure was created at the school, which provided local residents with the opportunity to subscribe to a range of internet packages. Children in the village are now able to go online at home and their school work and performance has improved as a result. 

In January this year, the Welsh government pledged to provide £39 million of funding for the improvement of broadband at schools across the country. This will be used to provide speeds of 100 Mbps at secondary schools and 10 Mbps at primary and special schools.

When making this announcement, Welsh Assembly first minister Carwyn Jones stated: "We want Wales to be a world leader in digital learning, therefore we need to be able to offer our schools fast, consistent and reliable broadband services."

While having access to a fast and reliable internet connection at school is vital for children, being able to go online when at home is also very important. 

In 2011, the Guardian reported on a survey by the e-Learning Foundation, which found children with broadband access outside of school tended to get better exam results than those without. In a survey of teachers, more than half (55 per cent) said pupils who cannot go online at home are at a disadvantage. 

The internet has become an ever bigger part of everyday life since 2011, meaning these findings are likely to be more relevant than ever.

Posted by Craig Roberts