Home > Government > Leeds City Council and BT Launch Innovative Learning Network

Leeds City Council and BT Launch Innovative Learning Network

Added: (Wed Nov 22 2000)

Pressbox (Press Release) - November 22, 2000


More than 117,000 school children in Leeds will, for the first time, have their educational horizons broadened through the use of new technology and access to global curricula and innovative learning techniques.

Launched today by BT and Leeds City Council, the Leeds Learning Network has been formed to connect schools, libraries and museums throughout Leeds on one single network, offering the whole community an invaluable educational resource.

The project is hailed as one of the most ambitious local government projects in the UK and is at the forefront of the vision for education in Leeds. It will deliver Internet and e-mail access to all 298 schools in Leeds and create life-long learning opportunities for the rest of the community.

It is expected that 410 locations throughout Leeds will be joined to the network by 2002 and future plans include extending the network to incorporate hospitals and nursing homes. By the end of this month, 25,000 email accounts will already have been created.

Utilising BT’s Intranet and Internet networking technology, students will have the opportunity to explore specific Intranet sites which include content created by skilled educationalists with contributions from local libraries and museums, as well as gain filtered access to the Internet. BT videoconferencing services will also be used to offer students tuition in special interest subjects and vocational courses that might not be available at their school. Students can use the network for research, to e-mail their homework to their teachers and to participate in collaborative online projects with other schools.
John Anderson, director, BT Government, said: “This is one of the most ambitious local government projects in the UK and, through BT’s close relationship with Leeds City Council (LCC), we were able to design and deliver a network that meets the LCC’s stringent targets. BT’s experience in working with the government and education sectors resulted in the efficient and smooth implementation of a service that will benefit the entire community of Leeds.”

Councillor Tom Murray, Executive Member for Lifelong Learning and Leisure, Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds’ greatest asset is its people. The competitiveness of the city is dependent on the skills and training of the whole community. The Leeds Learning Network will provide invaluable resources and promote life-long learning to make sure that every person in the city has the opportunity to maximise their potential. BT’s proposal represents the best value for the council, so we have chosen BT to build and

roll out this network. The Leeds Learning Network will be a key element of the city’s success in the future.”

BT Syncordia Solutions, the e-business and communications solutions unit of BT, worked closely with Leeds City Council to design and build the Leeds Learning Network and will manage the service on an ongoing basis. Syncordia Solutions is responsible for the service level guarantees and maintenance of the network through remote diagnostic networking technology. This ensures that schools have fast, reliable access to the resource, and removes the need for each school to employ an expensive IT engineer to manage the technology themselves.

The Leeds Learning Network enables Leeds to meet, ahead of schedule, national government targets for the provision of e-mail and Internet access for all schoolchildren. Each school will have its own area on the network for which it will be responsible and where it can share news and information with other sectors of the community. A service desk and help-line number are available for Leeds Learning Network users who require assistance.

Members of the public will be able to access the Leeds Learning Network from the five City Learning Centres that will be located across Leeds. Part of the government’s Excellence in Cities initiative, these Learning Centres form a crucial part of the Leeds Learning Network and will act as a resource available outside school hours to complement the work of teachers in the classroom. Access to resources will also be available at Leeds’ libraries enabling students to continue their learning across the city – embracing the concept of ‘anytime, anywhere learning’.

However, the network is not for the sole use of students. Teachers will also have e-mail accounts and secure areas on the Intranet. The site will become an important source of advice and good practice for all teachers within the Leeds community of schools.

The provision of e-mail accounts also extends to anyone involved in education in Leeds, from class helpers to catering staff. The network is expected to become a rich resource with the aim of helping teachers teach and learners learn.

The Leeds Learning Network will also enable Leeds City Council to meet e-government targets laid out in the Modernising Government white paper. By 2005, schools will be able to conduct all their communications with Department of Education personnel, buildings and finance divisions online via the Leeds Learning Network.


About Syncordia Solutions
Syncordia Solutions is BT’s e-business and communications solutions unit that provides solutions to help its clients to optimise customer value in an IP enabled world. It provides consultancy, e-business, e-CRM (customer relationship management) and network-centric applications, which it delivers and manages on behalf of many of the world’s largest and most respected organisations.

With revenues in the region of £1billion, Syncordia Solutions is the largest provider of managed and outsourced network and IT solutions in the UK. It has more than 27,000 customers ranging from mid sized companies to multi-national organisations in 92 countries across the globe.

About BT Local Government
BT Local Government is responsible for bringing innovative, technological change to local authorities and helping them to meet the Modernising Government agenda. By bringing together the best of public and private partnerships, BT offers its customers some of the world's most advanced telecommunications and provides solutions to their daily challenges.

For more information please contact:

Josephine Bowen Alex Curling
Band & Brown Communications Leeds City Council
josephine@bbpr.com alex.curling@leeds.gov.uk
0207 419 7000 0113 224 3335

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