Broadband problems causing headache for Washington pupils

Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school
Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school
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A headteacher says his students are struggling to keep up with technology due to internet problems.

Despite being next to the exchange box for BT Openreach’s fibre broadband, the staff and students at Rickleton Primary School in Washington are unable to access it.

Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school

Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school

Headteacher Colin Lofthouse says the 50 staff and 400 plus students are all being left frustrated because their current internet connection is too slow for them all to use at once.

Mr Lofthouse said when they applied to be connected, they were told the exchange was being used to capacity, so they would have to order it.

However, the school was then told by BT that they would expand the usage of the exchange once they had enough customers apply for it.

The headteacher said: “I understand they have regulations, but the frustrating thing is they are treating us as one customer, when in fact there are more than 400 students and 50 staff at the school who would be using it.

Our children are being disadvantaged by this

Colin Lofthouse

“It could be months or even years before there are enough customers applying for them to change it.

“This situation is so frustrating, especially as the box is literally just feet from the door.

“We have sets of laptops and sets of tablets for the children, but they are not able to use them.

“If one group of students at one end of the school is working on them, then another set of pupils in a different area of school will not be able to log on. Our students are being disadvantaged by this. We need to be able to access all the latest technology for teaching.”

Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school

Rickleton Primary School headteacher Colin Lofthouse concerned over lack of broadband at the school

The right for every household to access high speed broadband featured in the Queen’s Speech and Mr Lofthouse said schools should be a high priority.

A spokesman for BT said: “Demand for fibre broadband in this area has exceeded all expectations meaning the fibre cabinet serving Rickleton Primary School is currently at full capacity.

“However, Openreach, BT’s local network business, is already working to increase capacity on this fibre cabinet, so new orders can be placed.

“Surveys are underway to find the best solution which will then be put in place as quickly as possible so orders can be placed via service providers.”