Time to move your school out of its ICT comfort zone? Part 2

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We continue our tale where we left off in August - the Head had signed-off on the project to replace the school's existing RM network, and installation was about to begin moving in to the summer holidays. Read part 1 of this blog post.

Installation

The installation process started off two weeks before the end of term. The first work to be done was pre-staging the servers; this process – configuring them in accordance with the school’s requirements –  meant that the on-site element of the process was reduced. The servers were delivered on the first day of the summer holidays to the CSE engineer, who was able to complete a good part of the installation process. This gave the school the benefit of having more of the summer holiday to build the PCs on to the network, and to familiarise themselves with the new elements of this solution – Windows 10, NetSupport and Redstor.

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The other significant benefit to this approach was that the work required on-site could be approached jointly by both James and Simon, along with CSE Senior Engineer Michael Graham. Simon and James felt ready – prepared and confident that the installation would be relatively straightforward, with added security of six weeks of summer holiday ahead of them.

Whilst Michael was getting his head down, Simon and James revisited some of the new software they were going to be using. This familiarisation was enhanced by webinars provided by NetSupport and Redstor. The knowledge that friendly help was easily and readily available proved to be very reassuring.

A stress-free and well-managed installation was moving at a good pace and without incident until James fell seriously ill and was away from work for over two weeks. Simon was understandably nervous at the prospect of completing the project single-handed, with no immediate news of James’ return to work.

Gary arranged for extra resource to be sent to the school to provide clear thinking and extra knowledge. This was actually not an easy thing for Gary to achieve – a busy summer for CSE meant that engineers were in short supply. Step forward CSE’s Technical Services Director, Stewart Priestley. Stewart arranged for the CSE Central Remote Team to connect to St Pauls’ network and address some of the outstanding tasks before visiting the site himself.

[CSE] rose to the challenge – working in a flexible way to make the most of the school holiday; stepping in with extra help when required; and very quickly earning the trust of the IT team and the school management.

Back to school

Fast forward again to the first week of term and your author is in a warm and busy staff room humming with the sound of teachers comparing notes after their summer break. James has sent out advance notice that the teaching staff would notice changes when they first logged back on to the network. The changes to the user experience were well-received. A faster network and easier-to-manage interface. 

So there you have it. St Paul’s School for Girls, an “Outstanding” school in Edgbaston, Birmingham, has found a better way to a potentially expensive problem. Rather than accepting a big cost to carry on as before, they took what they initially perceived to be a risk – moving away from what they know and using new software with new suppliers. However, these new suppliers absolutely rose to the challenge – working in a flexible way to make the most of the school holiday; stepping in with extra help when required; and very quickly earning the trust of the IT team and the school management. And saved them bucket-loads of money!

Please contact Kevin Osborne, Sales Manager at CSE Education, to see how you can move your IT network forward.

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