Remote West Coast school gets early jump onto information highway

Issue: Volume 95, Number 2

Posted: 9 February 2016
Reference #: 1H9cyu

When the Ministry found out that one of New Zealand’s smallest and remotest schools did not have wireless internet access in its classrooms, it jumped in to see what could be done.

With a pile of iPads and notebooks sitting unused in the corner of the classroom, Barrytown School principal Katrina Hampton was despairing whether her students would ever get online.

Barrytown School is nearly 30km from Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island and has just 18 kids and one classroom.

When the Ministry told Katrina that Barrytown School was scheduled to be upgraded to ultrafast broadband in November, she asked if there was anything the Ministry could do to help them get the classroom connected in the interim.

Manihera Taare from the School Network Upgrade Project looked into the school’s situation to see if they could help.

He found that extending wireless to the classrooms could be done in advance, at no extra cost to the school.

“When we reviewed the school’s building plans, we could see that we could put in wireless equipment and IT network switches straight away,” he says.

“We sent a technician to the school early so they could get up and running with a full wireless system."

“Our plan is to upgrade the cabling part of the project as scheduled. It won’t cost the school any more because we were simply delivering the project the other way around.”

He says this was a unique situation where the Ministry could do this because the school was so small, and its existing cabling was largely in place.

“We’re there to help schools, so we try to be as flexible as we can.”

Katrina says having wireless in the classroom has opened the outside world to Barrytown.

“We’re no longer just little old Barrytown.”

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:20 pm, 9 February 2016

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts