School membership of UK federation gaining pace as numbers hit 300

Posted on Wednesday, 16 April 2008

15 April 2008 - YHGfL Foundation has become the 300th member to join the UK Access Management Federation for Education and Research, adding to the growing number of Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) and Local Authorities helping schools to take advantage of simplified and secure access to on-line content and resources.

Frances Burton, JANET's Schools Co-ordinator - UK federation and John Chapman, Senior Architect: Information Management at Becta, congratulate Phil Moore, CEO at YHGFL on becoming the 300th member to join the UK federation.

The federation is operated by JANET(UK) on behalf of Becta and JISC and brings the entire UK education and research sector a step closer to achieving single sign-on to network and online resources.

For schools, the federation helps address government objectives such as ‘harnessing technology’ which advocates ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to educational material. Participating in the federation enables schools to meet the requirements of Becta’s ICT technical infrastructure framework as well as the overall inspection framework.

The Government’s e-safety initiative refers both to education and ICT infrastructure and Becta’s National Digital Infrastructure framework makes recommendations for digital security. Authentication via the federation forms part of this framework, protecting personal data and preserving the privacy of its users. Federated access management allows children to have access to trusted online educational sources and as no personal data is released during authentication, organisations can more easily comply with DPA requirements.

Not only does the UK federation help meet these guidelines, participation may also help improve curriculum delivery through access to a wider set of resources, this includes educational material for the 14-19 age group, covering the new national diplomas. Through a secure authentication process, users are able to access federated resources outside of the school environment; this allows pupils to work on projects in their homes and libraries, and access material when on work placements or doing their diplomas.

SAML compliant technology such as Shibboleth forms the foundation of the UK federation technology and can be used alongside existing technologies such as moodle. Already 80% of Becta’s Learning Platform providers have deployed UK Access Management Federation technology with the remainder committed to become members.

Commented Henry Hughes of JANET UK: “We are seeing a significant increase in Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) and the Local Authorities joining the federation. They can operate as central Identity Providers for local schools helping to facilitate the goal of delivering secure access to online resources.”

Phil Moore, CEO of YHGfL Foundation commented, “We see membership of the federation as an important and logical step towards securing eSafety for all learners in our region. The benefits of membership are significant and will enable us to be more responsive to the needs of our consortium of local authorities.”

Edited by SteveGlover on 02 May 2008, at 09:52 AM (Permalink)