There are a number of benefits for schools using Hwb as opposed to setting up their own domains and contracts with suppliers.
From an overarching perspective, the advantages of the Hwb programme include:
- supporting improvements in learner attainment
- improvements in the use of digital technology
- financial benefits
- unified, consistent approach
- greater collaboration at all levels
- safeguarding, governance and compliance
- developed in conjunction with education stakeholders across Wales.
As the national digital learning platform for all maintained schools in Wales, headteachers and governors may be assured of the Welsh Government’s commitment to raising education standards and offering a solution to ensure consistency of access and experience across the education landscape in Wales. Hwb offers a 21st century bilingual digital learning platform to benefit all the citizens of Wales.
Safeguarding, security and compliance are paramount to the configuration of the services provided in Hwb with every service having been comprehensively reviewed and legal advice sought where appropriate. Consulting with a range of stakeholders we consider how learners, staff and other stakeholders use Hwb services and put the necessary controls in place to protect users, but still enable maximum functionality.
Key benefits to using Hwb
- Hwb’s digital identity provides access to a wide range of centrally-funded digital services including the statutory online Personalised Assessments. All learners and teachers will need to use a Hwb login to satisfy this statutory requirement.
- All Hwb tools and services are available with a single Hwb login (e.g. Google for Education, Microsoft 365, Adobe Spark etc).
- Hwb users can access online digital tools (see Hwb Services below) and resources anywhere, at any time and from a range of web-enabled devices. Education practitioners also benefit from tools to help create and share their own resources and assignments.
- A centrally funded, downloadable desktop version of Microsoft Office 365 on up to 15 personal devices is available for all learners and classroom staff throughout Wales.
- G Suite for Education, including Google Classroom.
- The award winning Just2easy tool suite.
- The premium version of Adobe Spark.
- Minecraft: Education Edition.
- Direct access to Encyclopaedia Britannica and ImageQuest.
- Hwb tools and services such as Playlists, Hwb Networks, Hwb Classes etc.
- Extensive facilitation of national collaboration which underpins the development and delivery of our national mission in Wales.
- Comprehensive content banks aligned to Curriculum for Wales.
Safeguarding, Security and Data Protection
- Deployment of Hwb tools is continually reviewed from a safeguarding perspective (configuration, add-ons, extensions, terms and conditions).
- Compliance - platform security, independent security scrutiny, IT Health Checks etc.
- Direct review with supplier product teams (regular engagement with key partners such as Google, Microsoft and Adobe to influence their roadmaps and Welsh language support).
- Data protection – dedicated expert legal support around reviewing all contracts and terms and conditions.
- Welsh Government guidance on live-streaming and video conferencing offers information and support to practitioners when using these tools in Hwb and highlights the additional safeguarding controls that have been configured.
Hwb has also been pivotal to providing distance and blended learning support over the past few months and indeed will continue to do so.
The services offered through Hwb are continually evolving in line with stakeholder feedback. Adobe Spark is the latest addition and through the Hwb EdTech Technical Standards Group (on which each local authority IT team is represented) it is possible to discuss and consider new services that schools may find beneficial.
The table below gives an overview of the leading educational toolsets for learners, school staff, governors and other stakeholders. These services are managed in the first instance by the Welsh Government Hwb Team, but where possible control has been delegated to local authority Hwb administrators and/or school digital champions.
Minecraft: Education Edition and Flipgrid
G Suite for Education Core Services
G Suite for Education Additional Services
360 safe Cymru
More detailed information about Microsoft and Google by user type, as well as the services that have been delegated to local authorities and schools, is available below.
There are two types of Microsoft licence available in Hwb:
A3 – applied by default to all learners and other users who have been manually assigned a Microsoft 365 (A3) licence.
A1 – applied by default to all staff and other stakeholders.
More information regarding Microsoft 365 licences, including how to assign an A3 licence to staff and other stakeholders, is available in the Support Centre.
The following services have been delegated by the Welsh Government Hwb Team and as a result are available to be installed or used at the discretion of users, local authority Hwb administrators or school digital champions. As outlined in the Hwb privacy notice, users or administrators who choose to allow Hwb accounts to access the following services do so at their own risk and the Welsh Government accepts no responsibility for their use. It is the user’s or administrator’s responsibility to read and accept the terms and conditions and privacy notices of each third party app that they choose to use. These services include:
- Applications deployed to devices managed through Intune
- Microsoft Outlook add-ins
The following services are managed by the Welsh Government Hwb team and are not delegated to users, local authority Hwb administrators or school digital champions. These services include:
- Microsoft 365 Office for the Web
- Microsoft 365 Mobile
- Microsoft 365 Apps
- Minecraft: Education Edition
Third party services
Third party services are managed by the Welsh Government Hwb team and are not available or delegated to local authority Hwb administrators or school digital champions.
Third party services have their own terms and conditions and privacy notices. Generally, these terms do not meet the necessary safeguarding and compliance requirements and as such have been restricted by the WG Hwb team. These restricted services include:
- Microsoft 3rd Party applications
- Third party Microsoft Teams Plugin applications
- Microsoft 365 add-ins
- Microsoft Store applications.
If a school requires access to a third party application that is not currently available, this should be discussed with their local authority EdTech lead who can present a case to the Technical Standards Group for consideration.
The table below provides information about the Microsoft 365 services in Hwb by user type.
There are three types of controls available within the Hwb G Suite for Education deployment:
- Controls managed by the Welsh Government Hwb Team i.e. non-delegated services.
- Controls delegated to local authority Hwb administrators and school digital champions i.e. delegated services.
- Controls not possible i.e. no controls.
Welsh Government managed controls [Non-delegated services]
The following Google services are managed by the Welsh Government Hwb team and are not delegated to local authority Hwb administrators or school digital champions. These services include:
- G Suite for Education Core Services
- G Suite for Education Additional Services
- Google third party web applications (Hwb deployed only)
- Google add-ons
- Chromebook Management - Google apps and extensions for Chrome that require access to G Suite API or Single Sign On (SSO) are not available through Hwb
- Chromebook Management - Managed Google Play (‘paid for’ NOT free apps)
- Chromebook Management - User and Browser settings
Delegated local authority Hwb administrators and school digital champions controls [Delegated services]
Control of the following services has been delegated to local authority Hwb administrators and school digital champions. Users or administrators who chose to allow Hwb accounts to access third party apps and/or Google Apps and Extensions for Chrome, including apps provided through managed Google Play, do so at their own risk and the Welsh Government accepts no responsibility for their use. It is the user’s or administrator’s responsibility to read and accept the terms and conditions and privacy notices of each third party app and Google apps and extensions for Chrome that they choose to use. These services include:
- Chromebook Management - Google apps and extensions for Chrome that do not require access to G Suite API or Single Sign On (SSO)
- Chromebook Management - Managed Google Play (FREE apps only)
- Chromebook Management - Device settings (including Certificates, Networks and Printers)
No controls possible [No controls]
It is not possible to prevent Hwb accounts from being used to access some third party services. However, WG is actively monitoring and de-activating single sign on to services.
Users who access third party apps and/or Google Apps and Extensions for Chrome, including apps provided through managed Google Play, do so at their own risk and the Welsh Government accepts no responsibility for their use. It is the user’s responsibility to read and accept the terms and conditions and privacy notices of each third party app and Google apps and extensions for Chrome that they choose to use. These services include:
- Google third party web applications (other than those deployed by Hwb mentioned above).
If a school requires access to a third party application that is not currently available, they should discuss this with their local authority EdTech lead who can present a case to the Technical Standards Group for consideration.
The table below provides information about the Google services in Hwb by user type.
Adobe Spark for Education is a cloud-based Adobe tool for any browser-enabled device or iOS. Adobe Spark for Education makes it fast and easy for students and teachers to turn ideas into beautiful graphics, web stories, and video presentations. Students are having fun with Spark; they’re engaging with the material, and that ultimately leads to unlocking their creativity
Adobe Spark for Education is available to all school staff, local authority and regional education consortia Hwb users, supply teachers and learners as part of Hwb Services.
Further information is available at https://hwb.gov.wales/support-centre/hwb-services/adobe-spark-for-education/
Just2easy (J2e) is an award winning software toolset designed for education.
In J2e you will find creativity tools, apps and games for Maths, English, Computing and cross curricular creative activities in a completely personalised learning experience.
All J2e documents have their own unique web address which means, as well as accessing them from any web browser, you can easily share them with teachers, learners, family and friends.
Further information is available at https://hwb.gov.wales/support-centre/hwb-services/just2easy/
360 safe Cymru
360 safe Cymru is an interactive online safety self-review tool developed by the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust for schools and education settings in Wales. The tool allows schools or settings to review their online safety provision, benchmark it against good practice and other schools, produce action plans and access a range of relevant resources and policy templates.
Further information is available at https://hwb.gov.wales/zones/keeping-safe-online/360-safe-cymru/