DfE Connect the Classroom Scheme

Connect the Classroom

The Department for Education’s (DfE) Connect the Classroom Scheme has returned until 2025, helping to keep schools across the UK in Educational Investment Areas connected with a seamless and future proof wireless networking solution.

Specialising in IT services and strategy for the education sector, we understand the unique requirements and challenges schools face in regards to IT and Connectivity.

With 16 years experience working with 1000+ schools to improve their communications and connectivity, we are able to work with your school to provide a bespoke DfE approved solution tailored towards your requirements.

Let us help you provide an effective and comprehensive, education-focused wireless networking solution with the DFE Connect the Classroom scheme 

It’s time to Connect your Classrooms with Tel Group.

Connect the Classroom

DfE Connect the Classroom Scheme - Tel GroupDfE Connect the Classroom Scheme - Tel Group

What is Connect the Classroom?

Connect the Classroom is a scheme funded by the DfE to provide schools within Education Investment Areas across the UK with a seamless and future-proof wireless networking solution.

This initiative will transform your school’s current IT and network infrastructure, improving connectivity and coverage across your premises with Access Points and Fibre Cabling to meet the demands of your school.

Eligible schools on the 2022 funding program should of now been contacted by the DfE, and eligible schools for 2023 & 2024 funding will be contacted around December 2022. However, if you are unsure of your eligibility status then please get in touch and we can help.

Connect the Classroom - Map of UK Eligible SchoolsConnect the Classroom - Map of UK Eligible Schools

Who is eligible?

The DfE have grouped all eligible schools into 3 different categories, Priority Education Investment Areas, Education Investment Areas and Intervention Schools.

1) Priority Education Investment Areas – All schools in the following areas are eligible

Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenlands and East Cambridgeshire, Halton, Hartlepool, Hastings, Ipswich, Knowsley, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire Coast, Norwich, Nottingham, Oldham, Portsmouth, Rochdale, Salford, Sandwell, Stoke-on-Trent, Tameside, Walsall, West Somerset

2) Education Investment Areas – All schools in the following areas rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ at last inspection.

Bedford, Blackpool, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire, Cornwall, County Durham, Coventry, Darlington, Derby, Derbyshire, Doncaster, Dorset, Dudley, East Sussex, Halton, Hartlepool, Isle of Wight, Kirklees, Knowsley, Leeds, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norfolk, North Northamptonshire, North Somerset, North Yorkshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oldham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stoke-on-Trent, Suffolk, Sunderland, Swindon, Tameside, Wakefield, Walsall, Wirral

3) Intervention Schools – All intervention schools are eligible, no matter of location.

DfE Connect the Classroom - Tel Group - Next StepsDfE Connect the Classroom - Tel Group - Next Steps

What are the next steps?

Once you’ve received your invitation you will need to complete a compliant bid to obtain the funding. Your school can then apply direct via Tel Group.

    1. Get in touch with our team to request a quote and discuss your requirements.
    2. We will provide a quote designed exclusively to DfE specifications which you can review and share with your DfE advisor.
    3. Once approved, our team will develop the plan for your projects delivery and installation.
    4. Along the way, you will receive proactive support, guidance and training, as well as after care once your project is complete.
    5. Enjoy your new connectivity!
    Connect the Classroom DfE - Why choose Tel Group?Connect the Classroom DfE - Why choose Tel Group?

    Why choose Tel Group?

    Specialising in IT services and strategy for the education sector, we understand the unique requirements and challenges schools face in regards to IT and Connectivity.

    • With 16 years experience and 1000+ education customers as part of the Tel Group family, we are able to work with your school to provide a bespoke DfE approved solution tailored towards your requirements.
    • Throughout our 16 years as a business, we have worked with the DfE on a number of projects and continue to do so.

    • We understand your schools requirements and are able to offer a solution that works towards your allocated budgets, wants and needs.

    Unfortunately, not every school will qualify for this funding. If your school is in this position, we will still provide the DfE approved pricing, helping you achieve the same results. 

        Connect the classroom DFEConnect the classroom DFE

        The Process

        Once you’ve received your invitation you will need to complete a compliant bid to obtain the funding. Your school can then apply direct via Tel Group.

        • Engagement
          • Initial contact either directly by DfE, or responsible body
        • Assessment
          • Each school submits a network asset form and completes a survey – We can do this on behalf of the school
        • Procurement
          • Once accepted, the school selects their preferred supplier and submits the cost matrix to DfE for approval
          • DfE give the school a funding agreement to the value of the approved level of cost
        • Delivery
          • School/responsible body liaise with their supplier to schedule works
          • Cost changes submitted to DfE for update to funding agreement
        • Claim
          • School submits invoice for all or part of the works. Multiple payments are allowed
          • A claim must be submitted by March 2023, even if only for some of the work
          • DfE channels payment through the responsible body 
        Mill Ford School Connect The Classroom DFE Case Study With Tel GroupMill Ford School Connect The Classroom DFE Case Study With Tel Group

        Connect the Classroom Case Study

        In 2021, we worked with a number of schools on the DfE Connect the Classroom scheme. One school was Mill Ford, a school in Plymouth that had 2 local sites needing an integrated wireless network connection. 

        Read our full case study to find out how we helped Mill Ford school through DfE funding on the Connect the Classroom Scheme.

        Connect the Classroom DfE Mill Ford Plymouth

        External Access Points enabling Wi-Fi CCTV Cameras

        Connecting Mill Ford through the DfEs Connect the Classroom Scheme
        Mill Ford School Wifi Heat Map - Connect the Classroom DfE Plymouth

        Heat map showing upgraded Wi-Fi coverage

        Keeping Plymouth School connected through DfE funding on Connect the Classroom 2021
        Mill Ford School Connecting Both Premises- connect the classroom plymouth

        Integrating distant sites with the same network coverage

        Ensuring both school sites are connected with complete network coverage
        Mill Ford Wi-Fi Cabling - Connect the Classroom Plymouth

        Before Connect the Classroom

        Schools previous cabling infrastructure
        Mill Ford WiFi Cabling - connect the classroom

        During Connect the Classroom

        Schools cabling infrastructure during Connect the Classroom
        Mill Ford WiFi Cabling - Connect the Classroom

        After Connect the Classroom

        Schools cabling infrastructure once Connect the Classroom project is complete
        • The Diocese of Coventry Multi Academy Trust

          The Diocese of Coventry Multi Academy Trust has been working with Tel Group for a couple of years, with many of our schools using them for Telephony. As a Trust we are working towards using them for telephony for all our academies.

          Tel Group have been proactive and responsive as well as providing a very competitive deal for our schools.

          The service has been excellent.

          Louise Beale, Head of Operations and Compliance
        • Three Saints Academy Trust

          We switched our school phones over to VOIP with Tel Group this year. They gave us a dedicated account manager who made sure we were kept informed throughout the process and communicated with other parties on our behalf.

          The engineers were quick and professional and made sure we were comfortable with the system before they left. Where we have requested changes/help from tech support the response has been fast and helpful.

          We would recommend Tel Group to other schools.

          Kim Sawe, School Business Manager
        • Oasis Community Learning MAT

          Tel Group was awarded the OCL telephony business in 2019, having won a competitive tender against 8 other providers – in all categories they came out on top.

          Since then, Tel Group have undertaken audits at a number of OCL academies, providing advice on switching lines and terminating those not required. I have always been impressed with David’s professionalism and resilience and his focus on what is right (and most cost effective) for the client.

          I’d be happy to speak with any other Trusts or schools and recommend their services.

          Ryan Messenger, National Procurement Manager
        • The Emmaus Federation

          We have used Tel Group to provide the phone system in our schools for several years now, and have always been happy with the service we have received.

          Prices are competitive. We have recently moved over to a VOIP system which was installed by a professional and friendly engineer on a date to suit.

          When we were working remotely during the height of the pandemic, it was easy to transfer calls to our mobiles. Customer services are also great.

          Emma Woods, Chair of Governors
        • Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust

          Thank you so much to Tel Group for all you have done in our schools. The engineers were really helpful and everyone’s said how lovely they were.

          The excitement over new phones has been incredible – I’ve never known such communication between classrooms! I really appreciated your call the following morning to check we’re OK too.

          That was a great touch. All in all, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you.

          Emma Fairhall, School Business Manager
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          To find out how we can help you on the DfE Connect the Classroom scheme, get in touch!

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