EdIS Quarterly Newsletter May 2023

Welcome to the latest EdIS Programme Newsletter. We welcome this opportunity to share the latest developments in our transformational journey to improve learning experiences for all children in Northern Ireland through the delivery of digital solutions.

Walk the Walls

The EdIS team have been rolling out Walk the Walls, a series of visual overview sessions to increase understanding of the EdIS Programme and how it will impact schools and the wider education community. We sincerely thank everyone who has attended a session so far and provided meaningful feedback and engagement to support future development.

Fascinating presentation detailing the transformational EdIS vision by the EA. An Exciting journey of digital improvement, efficiencies in data flow and communication using interconnected systems. Exciting times ahead, with pupils firmly at the heart” (School Representative)

We look forward to hosting further events in the coming weeks, including in W5 Belfast on 5th June; EA Armagh on 13th June and North West Teachers Centre on 19th June. To book your place or join a waiting list visit:  RSVP – EdIS Walk the Walls (office.com)Additional regional events will be rolled out later in 2023.  

Network Connectivity & Wireless

As of March 2023, all primary and post-primary schools have had their highspeed broadband installed.  This increases the bandwidth to almost 1,100; schools will benefit by improved performance. We continue the implementation and are in the process of rolling out to all 93 statutory Nursery Schools.  Surveys are being conducted in preparation for the installation of new cabling for each school’s new enhanced broadband circuit including Wi-Fi connectivity.

The EdIS Wi-Fi Project (the largest Cisco Meraki rollout in Europe) is progressing in earnest which is giving schools an unparalleled level of coverage and user capacity. Over 25% of all schools are complete with over 7000 Access Points installed Inc. 175 Primary, 80 Post Primary and 20 Special Schools. A further 100+ schools are scheduled for their Wi-fi Installation over the Summer period and the Project Team appreciates schools efforts in facilitating. For more information visit: Ambitious wireless project sees Education Authority rollout the largest Wi-Fi installation in Europe.

EdIS aims to have each school’s new Wi-Fi provision installed by the end of 2024.

NAACE Self Review Framework

In partnership with the National Association for Education Technology (NAACE), all schools in Northern Ireland now have the opportunity to avail of the NAACE Self Review Framework (SRF) tool. Funded by the EdIS Programme and available at no cost at all to schools in Northern Ireland, the SRF supports schools to embed digital skills and provides them the tools to assist with their digital transformation. Phase 1 of training for schools is now complete and this excellent school improvement tool is now available for use. Further support and training will be provided in the new academic year. Please see NAACE Self-Review Framework (SRF) for more information.

To register for NAACE membership and access to the SRF online tool:

Go to C2kexchange | School Services |Information Management and select the form NAACE Administrator Request Form (Principal Only submission) from the Service Requests list.

EA Connect

EA Connect will become home to several key services delivered by EA to support parents and schools. To date 1,100 schools have accessed EA Connect to complete school admissions and SEN annual reviews.

School Admissions

“Easy to use and great to track status of all admissions applications.”

  • 24,773 Preschool applications
  • 21,839 Primary applications
  • 23,935 Post Primary applications
  • 742 14+ applications

SEN Annual Reviews

  • 7667 AR completed by schools    
  • 35.2% of all ARs completed digitally on EA Connect in pilot year

All 4 Admissions applications are now hosted on EA Connect – Pre-School, Primary, Post Primary and 14+.  Over 70k applications were submitted online and 175k documents uploaded to support applications with parents being notified by email of the outcome. Further Education Transport Applications will go live mid-August.  Further development to improve EA Connect and the services it hosts will take place from September 2023 onwards.

Online Payments

The Education Authority in consultation with the Department of Education, have taken the difficult decision to postpone this project due to financial pressures facing the Northern Ireland education sector at this time. We recognise that this will be a huge disappointment for schools who were looking forward to the implementation of the new solution and we will endeavor to progress with the project as soon as funding becomes available.

NISTR

We are pleased to announce the last functionality development of NISTR is planned for release on 23rd May 2023 to bring supply teachers and schools the final product.

NISTR currently holds 7,166 live Supply Teachers and over 208,859 bookings have been made in the system since the NISTR launch.

The latest NISTR Newsletters are now available on the NISTR Latest News webpage.

Strategic Partner and School Management System

EdIS is currently seeking to procure a new Strategic Partner who will work with the project team and steering groups to co-design and deliver a bespoke, modern solution that incorporates innovative technologies, tools, services and practices for the delivery and enhancement of educational services and outcomes in Northern Ireland.​ The procurement process is ongoing, and we look forward to announcing a successful appointment in December 2023. Further information can be viewed in the below video.

C2K logo

School ICT Excellence Awards

The ICT Excellence Awards celebrate the innovative use of technology in transforming teaching and learning, while improving educational outcomes in Northern Ireland.

Capita, Microsoft, The Education Authority Northern Ireland & representatives from the winning schools came together on 23rd March at the Merchant Hotel Belfast to celebrate innovation in Education in Northern Ireland.  This year's award theme was ‘digital technologies, collaboration and teacher professional learning.’ 

Winners were:

Primary School: St Brigid’s Primary School, Downpatrick

Post Primary School: St Colman’s College, Newry

Special School: Clifton Special School, Bangor

EOTAS Centre: Collective entry on behalf of all 27 post-primary EOTAS Centres

The judges reports and Winners’ videos can be viewed on the Capita website.

Teacher Devices and Educator Hub

Following on from the rollout of over 21,000 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus devices, the Educator Hub, OLIVE VLE, is continuing to provide all schools with high-quality learning tools and resources.   Teacher Device working groups continue to collaborate on the development of resources for the Hub, and we are excited to welcome 30 additional teachers to this network, bringing the total number of teachers involved to 80.

C2k are embarking on an exciting programme to initiate Learning Hubs to further support this work. In partnership with C2k, schools will host events throughout all localities in August 2023 to provide teachers with the opportunity to come together to share best practice.

Tuesday webinars will continue until end of June 2023, supporting schools with their familiarisation of the Surface Pro device to support teaching and learning.

Devices to support ‘A Fair Start’

A total of 6402 Fair Start Devices have been rolled out across 180 schools to date, continuing to support disadvantaged and vulnerable children though the provision of equitable access to learning​.

MIS, eLearning & Applications School Training

The full programme of training to support school improvement and school management/administration continues through face-to-face workshops and online webinars and is delivered by C2k Service Delivery and Development teams. Training is offered to school leaders, teachers and administrative staff throughout all sectors. 175 courses have been delivered this academic year with over 2800 participants to date.

Courses continue in the 3rd term to support schools with a range of eLearning applications and key end of year processes including managing Pupil Movement, Curriculum Planning and Timetabling. C2k Systems Analysts continue to provide schools with technical support and advice to ensure the managed network and associated devices enhance ICT use within the classroom.

Security in Schools

  1. 100% of schools host servers have been upgraded, stabilising and implementing supported server infrastructure, along with reducing the risks to service continuity to schools.
     
  2. Password Security: access to devices and data will be made more secure via a strengthened password policy which will be deployed to all teaching and non-teaching staff in June 2023. 
     
  3. Activities are underway to upgrade all School and Data Centre servers to the Windows Server 2019 Operating System, elevating the security stance even further through enhanced mechanisms and security features.
    Stats to date (for inclusion in visual):  682 school servers from a total of 4265 upgraded; 240 Data Centre servers from a total of 639 upgraded.
     
  4. Data Centre internal firewall replacement project completing by end of June 2023 will add additional security, supportability, and tightened firewall rulesets.
     
  5. Symantec Endpoint Protection Anti-Virus application upgrade deployment has been completed across all school servers and workstations.
     
  6. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) invited schools to attend workshops during a Cyber UK event held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre Belfast in April 2023.  The theme was “Securing an open and resilient digital future”.
     
  7. A C2k Cyber Security newsletter is now available which provides guidance to schools on best practices: EN194

EdIS Quarterly Newsletter - May 2023

Last updated: 01/06/2023