South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway school software upgrade led to 'jammed' network

Windows sign Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The upgrade was carried out over the summer holidays

A review is taking place after the number of school staff logging in following a software upgrade left a council computer network "jammed".

Secondaries across Dumfries and Galloway moved to the Windows 10 operating system in the summer.

However, when staff logged in for the first time on their return it caused the network to "almost stop".

A report said the issue might have been "better anticipated" and there were a number of lessons to be learned.

Dumfries and Galloway Council's education committee will hear next week that basic testing was carried out in order to prepare for the rollout to secondary schools.

Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption Secondary schools across Dumfries and Galloway were affected by the issues

The upgrade was planned for the summer holiday period in order to "minimise disruption" and technical support was made available during the first week of term.

A council report said problems arose when staff logged in for the first time when profiles, certificates and licences had to be "pulled down".

The process would normally take 15 to 30 minutes but due to the numbers signing in at the same time it jammed the network.

The issue was compounded when staff became "frustrated and gave up" which left the log-in process hanging.

Lessons learned

A temporary fix was carried out but staff have continued to report some performance issues.

"We recognise the frustration that this caused staff in schools and continue to liaise with teaching unions to identify and resolve issues," the report added.

It said that a "phased log-in" might have been a better option.

A number of lessons are also said to have been learned including improved communications, consideration of the best time to carry out work and testing infrastructure with a "live pilot".

'Workload stress'

A review is being carried out and a forum has been set up to discuss issues with stakeholders.

Andrew O'Halloran, local secretary with the EIS teaching union, said it was a problem which "could have been foreseen" and handled "slightly differently".

He added that there were some ongoing issues which they hoped would be resolved in due course.

"It has been an interruption to learning and teaching because things that teachers have to do to get the class started haven't been in place so there have been delays," he said.

"It has also been a workload stress issue where a teacher has to go in, face a class and then has to deal with lots of IT issues which are really outside of their competencies."

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