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Gateshead’s Advantex secures £2 million of new work

A North East technology specialist has landed more than £2 million worth of work as it continues to help schools and academy trusts access funding to refresh their Wi-Fi under the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Connect the Classroom’ programme.


The news comes as Gateshead-based Advantex has won a tranche of work with Advance Learning Partnership (ALP), a not-for-profit multi academy trust consisting of a mix of primary and secondary academies across County Durham.


Bishop Barrington Academy, Dene Academy, Durham Academy, New Brancepeth Primary Academy and Whitworth Academy are among ALP schools Advantex is assisting with their DfE ‘Connect the Classroom’ applications and installations.


Head of IT, Mike Carnaffin said: “Advantex’s knowledge of the Connect the Classroom programme provided us with the confidence that our funding proposals matched the DfE’s requirements. This helped us to successfully secure access to the funding for our eligible schools.


“As a local company invested in the region, Advantex was a natural partner for us on Connect the Classroom,” he added. “We could see that the whole team was invested in the spirit of the programme and understood our priority as a Trust was to deliver consistent, scalable connectivity and IT systems across all our schools.


“During the installation, Advantex demonstrated an exceptional level of understanding around the schools’ operations, completing the projects outside of normal school hours to ensure no disruption to the education of our pupils.”


Working with individual schools, Advantex has also secured a number of contracts including Red Rose Primary School in Chester-le-Street, and Durham’s Belmont Community School, Browney Academy and Sacriston Academy.


This work reflects a more hands-on approach offered to independent schools, from advice on what the programme could cover and the process to apply, to assessing their current infrastructure to project design and implementation, said Scott Duncan, Advantex’s business development manager.


He added: “These past few months have been hectic as we’ve seen a lot of schools recognise that there is help out there to assist them with their applications. We are providing peace-of-mind to those schools that don’t have onsite IT support, helping them get to grips with the technical requirements, processes and documents required to secure funding.”


“It’s really important to also stress that this fund will cover all of a school’s upgrade, so they don’t need to worry about whether or not they can afford to do the work. We are therefore urging all schools to check if they are eligible and access this funding before it’s too late,” he added.


A total of £150 million is available through the ‘Connect the Classroom’ scheme, which is being rolled out in waves across the UK. Funding worth between £30,000 to over £100,000 could cover anything from wireless access points and core switches to licensing through to installation, configuration and handover. So, the grant truly does cover everything the school needs provide enhanced access to eLearning resources, rapid connectivity and greater online reliability.

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(l-r) Advantex’s Scott Duncan and Ian Butterfield with Michael Carnaffin, Head of IT, Advance Learning Partnership

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