SCHOOLS are being invited to a tech showcase this week after it emerged the plug will be pulled on a major provider of IT services in the spring.
Rotherham Schools Connected, a traded service run by Rotherham Council, will be wound up next March after dozens of academy trust schools opted out of its services.
It means more than 50 will no longer be able to use it for IT management systems, broadband and on-site technical support.
Internet filtering firm Studysafe has stepped in to run a showcase called EdTech from 12.30pm to 4pm on Friday at Rotherham Professional Development Centre, which will cover topics including internet filtering, IT support, school websites and parent communications services.
Richard Groves, operations manager for Studysafe, said: “All these schools will have to do a lot of work searching for multiple providers, so we thought it would be helpful to run an event and bring along a group of them that can provide advice on the different avenues available.
“Schools Connect provide a number of digital services that are embedded deep in most of the schools in the area so pulling them out will have a huge impact on them.
“We have been approached already by a couple of schools already asking how to cope and have been helping them with our extended network of partners to show options on how to proceed.”
Rotherham Council said the number of schools taking up the Schools Connected service had dropped from 109 to 54 for next year.
This was mainly as a result of the formation of larger academy trusts providing their own IT services or the take up of third-party provision.
Luke Sayers, the council’s assistant director for customer information and digital services, said: “The sharp decline in schools taking up Schools Connect means it is no longer financially viable as a trading service and to continue it would place a financial burden on taxpayers, significantly increase the costs to schools or mean that other services would have to be cut to make up the shortfall.
“As a result, it is our intention that the service will end on March 31, 2020.
“We have written to schools to inform them of our intention and to allow them sufficient time to find alternative arrangements.
“We will also be providing a full list of services, alternatives and actions required to ensure a smooth handover to new providers.
“Schools will also have the option of continuing to receive internet and content filtering services from the council.”
Visit eventbrite.co.uk to book for this week’s event.