It’s recently been confirmed, that the Welsh Government have extended the contract for Hwb+, for another three years. Hwb+ is the all Wales Learning Platform, powered by Learning Possibilities, which has been rolled out to all state schools in Wales by the Welsh Government.
As part of a Digital Wales campaign being carried out by the government in Wales, Hwb+, already embedded into the daily routine at a number of schools is proving to be an effective piece of software that can support and transform teaching and learning, benefitting schools in more ways than you would perhaps expect.
I personally have been lucky enough to see first-hand some of the positive ways in which Hwb+ has been embedded into schools across the nation, and it’s fantastic to see the way in which embedding the learning platform can motivate, encourage and enable learners like never before.
Commenting on the positive impact that Hwb+ has in classrooms nationwide, Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology at the Welsh Government said:
“Digital Technology is a really important enabler. We understand that our Welsh school children need to understand Digital Technology, and they need to be what we call digitally literate.”
With the growing success of the Hwb+ project, I for one am very excited to see what progress is made on Hwb+ as we continue to see collaborative projects, growth of digital competency in schools and an encouraged interest in learning take place over the course of the next academic year.
Take a look at the short video by Microsoft on Digital Wales.
Having worked with Learning Possibilities as a client, a consultant and as a Project Manager, I still find myself relating almost all my activities to the following phrase, “What Would School Leaders Think?”
For most people in schools, awareness of Information Security standards is limited, and usually only heard about when talking about data protection or when they have been told that they can’t or shouldn’t do something, by their IT Manager, the Local Authority or a Governor.
In fact, most schools should be able to easily understand not just the importance of Information Security but how it is assessed at companies like Learning Possibilities, and that understanding is all down to thinking like OFSTED.
As with OFSTED visits to schools, companies certified to ISO27001 (the principal Information Security standard) will have regular audits and inspections from an external body.
As with OFSTED, Leadership is key. It is not about recording security incidents or how quickly they are dealt with, it is not about recording how well your backups run and it is not about recording the results of penetration testing. It is about looking at how Leadership set objectives, evaluate them and justify subsequent decisions.
Yes, there is record keeping. Yes, there are processes and procedures that have to be followed. Yes, there is regular training on Information Management, Information Security and Data Protection. Yes, there are issues and risks to be dealt with. However, these are there to provide evidence to Leadership and the quality of work is more important than ticking boxes on the 114 controls across 14 groups.
Internal audits are the book scrutiny sessions and staff observations. External audits are the OFSTED visits. The Information Security Management System contains your Statement of Applicability (let’s call it your SEF), your policies and procedures, your record of decisions, your Objectives and Measures (5 year plan?).
It goes on. There are so many similarities and helps show School Leaders that Learning Possibilities understands the impact of OFSTED, not just because of the educational impact, but because we have our own version to go through. We also know all too well about it being about key decisions, not just weighing the pig!
External audits are done each year, and you recertify after 3 years. Out of the 3 possible outcomes only the top outcome, which is effectively a 100% adherence to the standard, gets you the certificate.
What does this mean for our customers? Well, the standard is a way of showing both the importance of Information Security to us as a company across all our work, and also that we put in the time and effort on it, ensuring that it is part of our core ways of working.
So, after a 13 month programme of work we are more than pleased to say that we passed our External Audits for this year and have now been issued with our certificate, after coming through with flying colours, the equivalent of Outstanding.
I say a 13 month programme of work … we have already started on the work for the next 3 years, including the work on the international update of ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015, the standard for Quality Management. Another opportunity for us to hold ourselves open to inspection against the highest possible standards.