A RELIANCE on good digital connectivity in Dumfries and Galloway’s rural primary schools has come to the fore during the coronavirus pandemic.
From keeping in touch with friends and family to ordering online, reliable connections are needed, particularly in the region’s rural areas.
Home schooling and digital education has become the necessary normal over the past few months and Dumfries and Galloway Council is keen to improve on its provision.
The council is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of £1.36m under the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme to enable faster broadband connections in rural primary schools.
The programme identifies public sector buildings which meet the criteria to receive gigabit-capable connectivity.
The project will be delivered in partnership with the council’s area network suppliers Capita and Openreach and will enable 35 rural primary schools to connect to a fast, stable internet connection.
This is essential to give young people the best learning opportunities. This will make a dramatic difference to both staff and pupils by providing improved learning opportunities, with both being able to access online training and learning.
This provision will enable the council to roll out distance learning in its school estate, allowing learners to access learning and teaching resources without the need to be transported around the region to access these resources.
This will be delivered in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway College.
A rural voucher is offered as part of the gigabit broadband voucher scheme to encourage greater take-up of gigabit-capable connectivity to residents and businesses in rural areas.
This will be promoted in parallel with the availability of the upgraded infrastructure. More details are available at https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, vice-chairman of the economy and resources committee, said: “Digital connectivity is critical to our region and this funding will help with our wider plans for the future. “It’s not only schools which will benefit; premises in the surrounding areas should also be able to benefit from the enhanced connectivity. “This will encourage businesses to these areas and have the knock-on effect of boosting our economy.”
Councillor Rob Davidson, chairman, added: “We are committed to ensuring the region is vibrant and successful and digital connectivity is vital for the economy and social inclusion. “We welcome this funding which will benefit our rural schools.
“Access to superfast broadband will open up new opportunities for education, leisure and delivering the services our people need.”