Up to 3,000 rural primary schools will get fast fibre broadband over the next three years as part of a £82 million scheme.
Funding for up to 2,000 schools will come from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s (DCMS) “GigaHubs” programme to deliver fast and reliable broadband to hard-to-reach areas.
Another 1,000 schools will be funded by the Department for Education to enable every school in England to access high-speed internet by 2025.
It is expected to reach an estimated 500,000 pupils.
But it will still leave schools waiting. Schools Week has reported how 3,835 schools are in postcodes that did not have access to full-fibre or were not in areas of “proposed commercial build within the next five years”.
The government was urged to move “more urgently” on the issue.
The regional breakdown of the new scheme will be determined during procurement, which will begin in the autumn term. The departments will engage with schools over the “coming months”.
The programme is on top of the DfE’s Connect the Classroom scheme, targeting the 24 priority education investment areas to upgrade technology including WiFi and cloud services.
Robin Walker, the schools minister, said the investment “will open a whole world of possibilities for schools and teachers” in hard-to-reach areas.
“It is more important now than ever for schools to be connected and this welcome investment comes on top of the programme of upgrades to connectivity and WiFi that we are delivering through our priority education investment areas.”