This guidance outlines some of the key considerations when implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme. Due to the complexities associated with BYOD schemes, it is strongly recommended that you discuss any potential BYOD arrangements with your Education Technology Support Partner before implementing.

BYOD is the practice of allowing either learners and/or teachers and support staff to use their ‘personal devices’ for classroom teaching and learning. ‘Personal devices’ can include a wide range of devices including smartphones, laptops and tablets.

BYOD schemes enable ‘personal devices’ to connect to the schools ICT network, with increased access over a typical ‘guest/public’ network, but it should be noted the range of services available can vary greatly. More often than not, BYOD schemes do not allow access to on premise network files or drives, although this is possible with the right network services, security controls and school procedures in place.

There are potential alternatives to BYOD, which you may wish to consider before deciding if a BYOD scheme would work at your school. You should discuss the various options with your Education Technology Support Partner who can advise on the options available within your local authority.

A robust infrastructure will be required to provide the necessary safeguarding of learners, but also provide a secure service. An increase in the number of devices and data traffic could also have a significant impact on the existing network. Your Education Technology Support Partner can advise whether additional investment in the school’s infrastructure is required to enable an effective BYOD scheme.

BYOD can create management issues, which need to be considered and planned up front. Therefore, before implementing BYOD, robust policies should be in place, including but not limited to:

  • staff and student acceptable use
  • security and internet filtering

A new BYOD policy should be developed and integrated with existing policies. Your Education Technology Support Partner should be able to assist in identifying a balance between school security and the personal privacy of learners.

Typical elements of a BYOD policy may include:

  • types of approved devices
  • security and data ownership
  • levels of IT support granted to personal devices
  • incident control e.g. a lost, stolen or damaged device
  • when devices can be used
  • how teachers can incorporate or control use in lessons
  • implications for misuse

The school will also need to consider the Health & Safety aspects of a BYOD scheme such as Display Screen Equipment (DSE) considerations; excessive screen time; and accessibility of devices.

The school will need to consider how BYOD will be used and how staff can support learners appropriately. Consideration should be given to how classes are delivered and how device use is controlled in lessons.  You should consider if there is a requirement to use certain (local) school applications or whether you can rely on cloud based software (e.g. Hwb). Your Education Technology Support Partner will be able to help support these considerations.

The school will also need to consider how teachers will plan their lessons around the potential variety of device models and different operating systems. Please also refer to limitations section.

All schools have a statutory duty to operate in a way that takes into account the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as outlined in ‘Keeping learners safe.

As part of planning and implementing any BYOD scheme, it is extremely important schools consider the safeguarding of their learners in any BYOD deployment. Schools, in conjunction with their Education Technology Support Partner, will need to consider what processes, procedures or even restrictions will be required. Good practice would cross-reference the BYOD policy with the safeguarding and online safety policies.

Schools will also need to consider the security of the devices and ensure their Education Technology Support Partners have considered appropriate cyber security measures. The National Cyber Security Centre advice on cyber security of BYOD suggests a number of issues to consider.

BYOD enables a range of personal devices to access the school’s network and potentially access personal data held by a school. This could create a number of issues for the data controller to consider in order to comply with GDPR obligations.

GDPR stipulates the data controller (i.e. the school) must remain in control of the personal data, for which they are responsible, at all times (regardless of the ownership of the device). An underlying feature of BYOD schemes is that the user owns, maintains and supports the device. This means the data controller will have significantly less control over a large range of devices, when compared to devices supported and controlled by a school.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) offers advice and guidance for organisations considering a BOYD scheme.

The school will need to consider the relevant terms and conditions of usage to protect both the school and the device owner.

As an example, the school should consider how to manage the potential for lost, damaged and/or stolen devices. The school would need to consider who is responsible for the device during the school day (e.g. school or device owner) and should check whether additional insurance liabilities are required.

The school will need to consider what technology will be permitted under a BYOD scheme and how each device aligns to the parameters of the existing infrastructure.

The school will need to consider how it can support the latest models of new devices, older models and different operating systems.

Your Education Technology Support Partner will be able to provide advice and guidance in this area, including any limitations to their support on personally owned devices.

The school will need to consider how the management of software licences, for essential applications, will be delivered. It is important to consider whether the school’s licencing arrangements will be sufficient for personally owned devices.  It is worth noting that the national Microsoft licensing deal through Hwb allows teachers and learners to install core Microsoft applications on personal devices.

Your Education Technology Support Partner will be able to provide further advice and guidance in this area.

Schools will need to consider if their Education Technology Support Partner is prepared and able to support any BYOD ambitions. There are a large range of technical controls which would need considering. These include, but not limited to, Mobile Device Management (MDM); effective authentication and an appropriate access control model.  However, any technical controls will depend on the school’s definition of BYOD, the integrity of the underlying device and the impact on its usability.

The school needs to understand what restrictions, exceptions or additional costs the Education Technology Support Partner may impose. Schools need to feel comfortable that the right level of BYOD support is available and supported. This should be reflected in the relevant support arrangements to help address any issues that may arise.

You should discuss with your Education Technology Support Partner how they would manage and support BYOD and what the schools obligations and responsibilities will be.

The school will need to consider the impact on social economic differences amongst their learners and consider any potential issues that may arise as a result. Equality and consistency for learners should be considered alongside more general points covered in the safeguarding section above.

Your Education Technology Support Partner can provide further advice and guidance in this area.

The school will also need to consider the potential need for additional charging stations and secure holding facilities to ensure devices are both fully charged and secure throughout the school day.

Your Education Technology Support Partner can provide further advice and guidance on additional physical considerations required to operate an effective BYOD scheme.