St. Nicholas is a state funded residential special secondary school for boys with social, emotional and learning difficulties. They provide specialist education facilities for up to 70 pupils aged 9 to 16 years. Class sizes are small and lessons are carefully planned to take into account the needs, interests and abilities of all pupils so that learning is both purposeful and engaging.
In 2011, Sweethaven Education was recommended to the School and so began a learning partnership.
A number of items and areas therefore required close attention, including:
- Outdated hardware
- An old server with custom management software installed by another provider that proved difficult for others to use
- A requirement for wireless routers
- Laptops for teaching staff to prepare lessons and ensure more efficient use of IT in their lesson delivery
- The renewal of tired interactive whiteboards and projectors many of which required regular maintenance and repair
- Encouraging the greater use of IT in the classroom
- Transfer from a paper fault log-in system
The next step for Sweethaven Education was to complete an initial audit and consultation to determine exactly what would be required from front-line technician support alongside a tiered support structure. An electronic helpdesk was then implemented with clear SLAs and management.
Once the above was in place, a gradual, phased replacement of servers and equipment was able to commence.
The biggest challenge proved to be the switchover from the old managed system. This was replaced with a vanilla set up, to provide an industry-standard, straightforward solution that wouldn’t require additional maintenance or training costs.
A range of new solutions were also provided, including:
- Wireless system throughout
- Laptops for all teachers
- New interactive displays
- Switchover from RM EasyMail to Office 365 hosted email
- Call logging and recording solution
- Active directory management tools
- New virtualised server (to replace administration and curriculum servers)
- All-in-One work stations for staff and pupils, including the creation of two new ICR suites for pupil use
- Data point wiring to adapt to classroom moves
- Laptops (and subsequent programming) for teachers
- Short throw projectors
- Interactive display boards
St. Nicholas School is now using ICT effectively to meet very specific and difficult learning requirements. Not only do their current ICT systems fully support them in ensuring everything runs smoothly, the technology implemented enables them to take pupil learning to the next level.
A recent move to interactive flat panels to aid teaching and learning will further allow them to better engage with challenging pupils in an exciting, creative and wholly flexible manner.
“Few companies have the wisdom and know-how to support schools to be more efficient and effective users of technology. Sweethaven tick all the boxes in this respect. Their call centre is second to none and the concerns of the School are dealt with immediately. As a School we are finally dealing with an organisation who listen and take the time to fully understand our IT requirements. That in itself makes the relationship a highly successful one”.