Situated next to the Great Yarmouth seafront is a new academy, Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, which caters for children aged 3-11. Formerly known as Greenacre Primary School, they had been put into Special Measures in 2010. Shortly after this Mr Bill Holledge was appointed as the new headteacher and he contacted Levett Consultancy to find out how we could help improve ICT provision prior to the changeover to their recently acquired academy status forecast for September 2012.
Bill had a vision of improving learning by giving staff and learners easy access to online and local resources using modern technology. Staff wanted to be able to access resources from any device anywhere and at any time. Students needed to have safe easy access to resources provided by the Academy.
As the school had acquired academy status they also needed to move away from the local authority provided communication system. Therefore it was key that Levett Consultancy ensured that the school had a new communication system in place, with minimal disruption, prior to the changeover.
The final part of the puzzle was to improve the local systems. For years the school had been using Windows XP, with a number of pupils moving into secondary school and coming across Windows 7 for the first time. There was also a number of web-based resources that could not be used properly as the Windows XP desktops had a mixture of Internet Explorer 6 and 7 installed. In effect, the online vision for the school could not be achieved until the local system was completely overhauled.
Levett Consultancy put together a cost-effective solution using our Consultancy and Solution Services. The Consultancy Service immediately realised that, in order to meet the requirements set out by Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, a building block approach was needed.
Initially, the Consultancy Service created a mini-competition to find the best broadband provider able to improve on the 2mbps that was currently available. After evaluating a number of proposals we recommended RM who were able to deliver a 10Mbps managed connection and filtering service that was appropriate for educational organisations.
Then, in order that we meet the objective of enabling access to resources anywhere and at any time from any device, the Consultancy Service recommended using School ina Cloud based on Google Apps Education. Using Google Apps would ensure the automatic saving of everything into the cloud, powered completely by the web, meaning that emails, documents, calendars and sites could be accessed, and edited, on almost any mobile device, from anywhere and at any time. And the best bit was that it was free for the school, in line with Levett Consultancy’s ethos of saving schools money.
Our Consultancy service then put the final pieces of the total solution together by School ina Box that is based on using Windows 7 and Office 2010 along with Impero Classroom Management tools. Levett Consultancy, as an authorised Microsoft Partner, then enrolled Great Yarmouth Primary Academy onto a Microsoft Enrolment for Education Solutions Licence (EES). This would ensure that every network connected device was licensed and ready to use Windows 7 and Office 2010 as part of the local system solution.
With only a short period of time available to implement the Consultancy Service recommendations our Solutions Services team started work in late July 2012, using the school holidays to ensure that there was no disruption to the learners, to undertake the implementation of the following:
- Setup of Google Apps Education integrating with Active Directory
- Email and Calendar migration
- Setup and configuration of an Impero Network
- Data migration from legacy system to the new network
- Upgrading all Window XP desktops to Windows 7
- Deploying Microsoft Office 2010
- Capita SIMS database academy name upgrade
- Implementing a backup
- Configuration of Broadband services working with RM and Virgin Media
By late August Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, using Levett Consultancy, had achieved their vision of a new email system, new local network and access to school resources on a modern infrastructure. When staff returned after the summer break our Consultancy Service provided Google Apps and Impero Network training to ensure that Great Yarmouth Primary Academy maximised their investment in the new technology.
Levett Consultancy installed efficiently and gave clear and precise training. All the apps are very easy to use within the education system. Google Apps has improved communication and made the school more environmentally friendly (a lot less printing). I would definitely recommend Google Apps Edu and Impero Networks deployed and supported by Levett Consultancy.Mary William (ICT Coordinator)