Solution for Morley Primary School’s net woes found - with a catch

Morley School headteacher, Laura Green, centre, with some of the staff. From left, Kate Easter, Geor

Morley School headteacher, Laura Green, centre, with some of the staff. From left, Kate Easter, Georgia Ryan, Daniel Millican, and Elizabeth Cooper. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A rural school which was going to be forced off the information superhighway by a whopping internet bill has found a solution to its woes - but there's a catch.

Morley Primary School has been offered £29,000 from Norfolk County Council so it can install the cabling needed for an upgrade to a superfast internet connection.

But the money would be just a loan, and the school, near Wymondham, would be obliged to pay it back, interest free, over 10 years.

Laura Green, headteacher, said she was pleased that they now had a way forward, but the loan presented the school with a new problem.

Mrs Green said: 'Obviously, we still can't afford it even with the loan so our governors are applying for grants and we are doing our best to find other sources.'

But Mrs Green said the upgrade was not something the school could walk away from.

She said: 'We have to do it, otherwise the children wouldn't have the learning tools that they need.

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'We have had to make this decision based on our future needs of our curriculum.'

Norfolk County Council has been providing internet access through BT Outreach, and there was a programme of extending broadband access to outlying schools around the county, including Morley.

But now an 'Updata' programme is taking over the provision of internet services, which means the internet will be cheaper for about 80pc of the county's schools - in particular those in urban areas.

But other, more isolated schools were facing hefty bills - Morley will have to pay up to £32,000 - to go with Updata and stay on course to eventually get decent internet.

Mrs Green said the cabling works would take place soon and added: 'We are yet to find out when we will get the superfast connection.'

Councillor Judy Leggett, who sits on the Norfolk County Council Broadband steering group, said: 'I'm glad we've been able to find a solution that means children at Morley Primary School will be able to get much faster internet access then they currently experience, and benefit from all the learning opportunities this offers.'