Teacher and pupils using new superfast 5G at Hudson Road Primary School in Sunderland
Teacher and pupils using new superfast 5G at Hudson Road Primary School in Sunderland

Member Article

Opening up a world of opportunities at local primary school

Sunderland City Council’s Smart City 5G project is proud to announce that Hudson Road Primary School in Sunderland now has 5G superfast WiFi connectivity.

Home to 280 3-11 year olds, Hudson Road Primary School can now access proven download speed of 660Mbps – a staggering increase of 5,000%.

A recent survey by the National Literacy Trust found that a lack of investment in hardware, software and Wi-Fi was the greatest barrier to learning.

Hudson Road Primary School was previously unable to partake in live streaming or video calling such as Skype, staff and students were left frustrated and disconnected from these technological advances. On 28th January 2020, all of this changed – now able to live stream, video call and access multimedia content without buffering; there were happy faces all round at Hudson Road.

Cathy Westgate, Head Teacher at Hudson Road Primary School, said: “Working faster and smarter fits well with our values and ethos as a school. We want to engage and involve pupils and parents alike in a safe environment, allowing them to explore any topic and discover new things quickly and with ease. Our superfast 5G connectivity allows us to do just this.”

Mrs Westgate added: “We can now plan for further investments in digital tools, such as educational games or the use of virtual and augmented reality.

“It’s a really exciting time for us and the idea that we can even consider such technologies opens up a world of opportunities for our pupils and local families.”

With security and privacy as cornerstones for the 5G implementation, key objectives of the 5G installation included the ability to help teachers, parents and pupils to feel secure and reassured that their online safety is paramount hence putting in place school level security filtering.

Sunderland is leading the way, taking action to align itself to the digital priorities of the UK’s ed-tech strategy. Launched last April, this national initiative is a £10 million plan to support innovation in schools, colleges and universities across England. The strategy covers an array of processes and initiatives and identifying various areas where technology could make a significant difference.

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our Smart City Plan is driving innovation forward in all fields, but a particular focus is in ed-tech as we recognise the benefits this will bring to the next generation of digital leaders.

“The addition of this high-speed wireless network at Hudson Road Primary School means that the school can provide a seamless learning experience for pupils, enjoying connectivity way beyond their previous limits, including: online training, Skype video calling and digital interaction with other schools.”

Patrick added: “Improving connectivity in schools is a vital part to ensure families can remain connected to their children’s learning as well as engaging in opportunities themselves.”

As a digital leader Sunderland City Council is motivated to engage numerous stakeholders, including schools, in an effort to ensure every child has access to the opportunities digital learning can provide.

The real challenge now is to ensure that every school reaps the benefits of innovation.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tori Lynn .

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