Since 2012, the Welsh Government has been providing maintained schools in Wales with access to a wide range of digital infrastructure, services and resources. The Welsh Government remains committed to delivering a national approach to digital services, enabling maintained schools in Wales to consistently exploit the transformational benefits which digital and technology can have on education.

Through the Hwb programme, we are providing a range of digital services which will inspire our teachers and learners to confidently embed digital practices, while developing a digital culture, competencies, skills and knowledge to underpin the Curriculum for Wales.

We are fundamentally challenging and changing the digital landscape in schools, developing a fully sustainable, standardised and consistent approach with digital being seen as the ‘fourth utility’.

The long-term strategic aims of this programme are to enable a ‘Once for Wales’ approach which will:

  • support schools to deliver our world-leading Curriculum for Wales
  • maximise the opportunities digital presents to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to support school leaders and reduce the burden on our workforce
  • work with local authorities to transform learning environments, contributing towards developing net-zero carbon schools and enhancing school facilities for local communities

The Hwb programme is also aligned with the Digital Strategy for Wales, specifically contributing towards:

  • develop a clear approach for a digital skills and confidence framework that is fully inclusive and builds on existing initiatives from education through to the workplace
  • continue to deliver support which enhances digital in the delivery of learning and identify opportunities for doing more

The following overview outlines the overarching approach to the delivery of digital services which supports the delivery our long-term strategic aims. 

We will develop and implement a strategic and sustainable approach to embed digital services in all maintained schools in Wales. We will:

  • recognise and understand how education priorities can benefit from cross-government work programmes through a sector leadership group
  • raise awareness of the importance of digital and technology in supporting the transformation of classroom practices which underpin the Curriculum for Wales
  • work with local authorities and regional education consortia to continually raise schools awareness and understanding of digital, technology and connectivity as the 'fourth utility'
  • develop a robust programme of digital change to meet existing and future challenges faced by our schools
  • recognise the importance of horizon scanning and technology evolution across the education technology sector, embracing a proactive national approach to new opportunities
  • manage a strategic digital link with other aspects of education in Wales, including but not limited to further and higher education institutions
  • influence, support and drive collaboration across the Welsh Government, local authorities (education and IT teams) and regional education consortia in Wales

We will provide schools in Wales with a simple and compliant route to market, to purchase appropriate equipment and services at the most cost effective price. We will:

  • maximise the impact of our strategic relationships with key sector suppliers for the benefit of all maintained schools in Wales
  • continue to improve and evolve the national procurement service for education technology equipment and services
  • identify opportunities to include innovative equipment and services to ensure the education technology procurement service remains relevant to sector needs
  • leverage the benefits of national procurement opportunities to maximise investment and realise national economies of scale

We will ensure there is a suitable national infrastructure in place to consistently support the needs of schools in accessing and using digital services. We will:

  • work in partnership with the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation team to ensure the high-speed connectivity for Welsh schools is stable, performant and evolving to meet growing digital needs and ambitions of schools
  • using our national identity service, continue to develop a compliant Hwb cloud as an alternative to local infrastructure delivery
  • through collaboration with local authorities, ensure the digital infrastructure meets the needs of schools, adopting a ‘turn it on and it works’ approach
  • further develop the education digital guidance and standards, ensuring the digital infrastructure evolves in line with school needs and current technical standards
  • work with local authorities to maximise the benefits of a national education infrastructure realising more efficient and effective ways of working

To support schools in the digital delivery of our national mission, we will:

  • ensure all maintained schools in Wales have consistent and equal access to a wide range of centrally funded bilingual transformational services and content
  • identify shared services for schools which remove complexity and costs from school budgets, or offer more efficient ways of working
  • encourage the teaching profession to collaboratively develop digital content which can be shared via the Hwb platform
  • work with the sector to deliver and modernise services so that they are designed around user needs and are simple, secure and convenient
  • through access to flexible anytime, anywhere digital services, identify opportunities to help reduce the cost of the school day and the impact of poverty on attainment

Ensuring the effective safeguarding and security of our learners and education settings is paramount. We will:

  • deliver a national action plan to enhance digital resilience and protect children and young people online
  • provide topical information, resources, services, training and signposts to other sources of expertise to support the delivery of digital resilience education within the Curriculum for Wales
  • collaborate with industry experts and UK Government departments to inform policy development; deliver coordinated activities and deliver shared services to help schools meet their safeguarding and cyber security obligations
  • raise awareness of digital resilience through communications and promotional activities to reach a wide audience and reinforce the importance of using the internet safely and responsibly
  • design digital services with safeguarding at the core which are age appropriate and compliant with relevant UK regulations, specifically GDPR

Enhanced digital capability and skills are essential to fully exploit the benefits digital services and education technology can have on teaching and learning. We will:

  • work collaboratively with schools, local authorities and regional education consortia to support the evolution of the Digital Professional Learning Journey and ensure digital capability and skills are paramount in the professional development of the workforce
  • provide a range of engagement activities and support across the sector to fully embrace digital transformation to ensure schools are equipped to deliver the Curriculum for Wales
  • work in partnership with local authorities, regional education consortia and strategic delivery partners to help leaders to identify and share best practice to support the transformation of digital learning and teaching