Information about NEN and our history

About Us

NEN – The Education Network provides a number of unequalled advantages for schools, offering a secure and safe environment where issues such as copyright are managed and where teachers, pupils and parents can work confidently together. We provide a wealth of services and resources, many of which can only be accessed via an NEN member’s broadband connection.

NEN- The Education Network works with industry and the government to implement and raise standards for the benefit of learners. We provide impartial advice for schools and can also achieve huge savings from aggregated procurement for the benefit of school budgets. NEN also takes the lead in providing advice and support for schools on aspects of online safety.


Between 2000 and 2001, ten Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) were set up under the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) initiative. Their common aim was to realise the promise of broadband technology in education, connecting all learning communities across England. The RBCs are groups of Local Authorities (LAs) that were established to provide cost effective and co-ordinated connectivity between schools and the Internet. They were responsible for rolling out broadband to all schools in their regions by 2006. This project was delivered on time, in budget and in most cases beyond specification.

During 2003, the networks they created were joined together by high speed links via the JANET (UK) network (developed originally for the Higher Education sector), creating a single and secure private network, known originally as the National Education Network (NEN), when joined with the broadband initiatives in Learning and Teaching Scotland, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

This network means that schools can enjoy a range of broadband services without individual pupils going onto the Internet. Many Internet resources are mirrored within the network, offering faster performance to users as well as greater security. Users can also access the wider Internet through NEN’s secure gateways, with access policies managed by the local RBC. Our networks ensures that all schools, colleges and universities are connected through a single backbone, enabling a high quality learning experience in a safe and secure networked environment.

Late in 2011 the National Education Network changed to ‘NEN – The Education Network’. We continue to support schools and Local Authorities and, with the wider choice that schools have, we are providing a wealth of impartial support and advice. We also work with industry and policy makers to provide advice, standards and support that will assist schools in making the right choices in the complicated and competitive arena of broadband provision and associated services.

Current Activities

The NEN is governed by the NEN management team, made up of the leaders of each Regional Broadband Consortia. It is chaired by Chris Kastel (E2BN) and the vice-chair is Heather Hadfield (SEGfL).

NEN members meet regularly in three focused working groups to address key topics and issues affecting the schools community.

The three groups cover:

  • Safeguarding
  • Technical Strategy
  • e-Learning

NEN – The Education Network represents our schools community in several arenas including:

The Digital Policy Alliance The Digital Policy Alliance (EURIM) is the politically neutral, cross-party policy voice of the Internet and technology sector.

Education Licensing Working Group The group is working with the Copyright Hub to support clarity, reduced bureaucracy and transparency in copyright licensing for schools, colleges and universities.