WMnet is one of England's nine Regional Broadband Consortia. It was established under the National Grid for Learning programme to enhance the quality of learning through the development of a distributed, regional learning network built on a broadband backbone giving all 2,500 schools in the region affordable and reliable broadband connectivity.
- Provide a broadband infrastructure connecting schools via a high-speed network to the National Education Network
- Embed effective educational practice with ICT
- Support innovative uses of broadband for teaching and learning
- information and documentation about the initiative
- links to partner LAs and their e-learning initiatives
- links to learning resources and collaborative projects
- exemplar curriculum activities and projects elsewhere on the National Education Network
WMnet is a grid for learning. WMnet enables access, collaboration, pedagogical innovation and learning gains. Whilst other services such as administration and professional development are important, our focus is on learning for school age pupils.
Both network infrastructure and content are being developed in parallel. A delivery mechanism with no content is as useless as content that cannot be delivered.
That the aim is to provide public access to content, to support learning at home and other access points as well as at school. To that end, content developed and procured by WMnet will be web-based. WMnet will promote the use of its materials for lifelong learning, including within the context of UKOnline schemes.
All relevant public institutions (libraries, museums, community centres, etc.) need to be connected at a bandwidth that comfortably supports learner needs. A 2Mbs connection to secondary schools is but a step on the road.
Whilst the West Midlands has both local needs to meet and local resources to exploit, WMnet sees its regional work in a national context. Technical and educational standards, particularly relating to regional content, must comply with those emerging at a national level in order that each region gains value from the others and interoperability is achieved between education and other services.
- WMnet embraces a policy of inclusion, with respect to both broadening access and ensuring that materials which are developed appropriate to the needs of those with additional needs.
- Be sensitive to the needs and expectations of local and regional communities
- Empower the individual learner anywhere and anytime
- Provide access to lifelong learning opportunities for the whole regional community
- Foster regional productivity
- Ensure the development of skills and knowledge needed to function in a global market place
- Ensure full inclusion to foster social and economic cohesion as defined within the regional strategy
- Maximise the benefits of the various local and international government sponsored initiatives
- Development and co-ordination of bids for regional funding
- Creation of a sustainable regional community grid for learning
- Best value though the combined purchasing power of the region
- Sharing of knowledge, content and good practice
- Creation of appropriate strategic structures to identify, manage and evaluate the outcomes.
In 2014 WMnet developed a new business plan to ensure the ongoing provision of services for WMnet members. The plan provided for a minimum of a further three years of WMnet activity, including continued membership of the National Education Network (NEN). The business plan also allowed for expansion of activities and/or duration by the addition of sponsorship funding. In September 2014 WMnet was delighted to welcome its first sponsor, Future Digital, and in March 2015 was joined by Tute.