Evesham's grandplan

5th January 2001 at 00:00
(Photograph) - After raising pound;30,000 from land deals and investing it in the stock market, it was no surprise that the teachers, governors and parents at Badsey first school near Evesham in Worcestershire had big ideas when it came to upgrading the school's ICT facilities. The headteacher, Gerry Hughes, didn't just want to improve access to computers for all the 250 children at the school, he wanted to make any new installation future proof.

With the help of local company, Evesham.com, Hughes believes he has found the answer to Badsey's immediate and future needs - wireless networking. Wireless technology has been around for a long time but it is something that is relatively new to schools. Until recently, they either had stand-alone PCs or hardwired (or wireline) networks which mean miles of cabling and disruptive and messy installation. Computer suites are fine bt ensuring every child gains access is an extra burden on the timetable. Their inflexibility also means that pupils have to leave the classroom to have access computers. Traditional laptops are better but offer no access to a network. Standalone PCs are the most limiting of all.

Wireless networking overcomes all these barriers. At Badsey, they have hardwired PCs in the classroom and clusters of PCs dotted around the school which are connected to the network wirelessly. When the school has access to capital from its investments to buy more laptops, they will be seemlessly added to the network. Pupils can use computers up to 91metres (300ft) away from any of their three base stations. Unlike infrared, radio signals used for wireless networks do not require line of site to function and barriers such as walls and windows are not a problem (www.evesham.com).

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