Knutsford Studio School turns to Centerprise International for an integrated ICT solution across the multi-academy sites
Knutsford Multi-Academy Trust provides a unique education model, with provision delivered through three separate schools. The School is responsible for students in Years 7 to 9, focusing on the transition from primary school, whilst The College provides education for students following traditional GCSE and A-level programmes in Key Stage 4 and the Sixth Form. The new Knutsford Studio School (The Studio) caters for students in Years 10 to 13, offering a more contemporary approach, with a combined focus on both academic achievement as well as employability and preparing students for the working world.
The Studio opened its doors in September 2014, in a purpose-built site on the campus of the Knutsford Academy. They required comprehensive digital application technology across a wide range of employment pathways, including Computing, Design, Broadcast Media, Sport and Leisure, and Performing Arts.
Knutsford Multi-Academy Trust had a growing need to upgrade their legacy network and wireless infrastructure but did not have sufficient budget in place to upgrade the entire campus ICT infrastructure in one go. They put out a tender for the design and integration of The Studio’s infrastructure into the Academy’s existing network, to provide a unified network across the Trust’s three schools. ICT plays an important role in The Studio’s curriculum and technology has to be easily accessible and simple to use, by both teachers and students.
An integrated technical solution
Centerprise International (CI) responded to the tender and won it. On award of the ICT contract, CI identified the benefits - to both The Academy and The Studio - of centralising and consolidating the wireless and network infrastructure. This is a solution that has been tried and tested in multiple CI installations into Education with a proven track record. A combination of school budgets was used to fund the wireless controller, core network upgrade, professional consultancy, installation and commissioning. CI utilised the Trust’s own ICT team where possible to ensure that installation costs were kept to a minimum and to give them hands- on training for the solution they would be supporting, moving forward.
The wireless infrastructure provides full coverage of the campus, with support for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), giving students and staff maximum flexibility when they are on the move. The user device technology is consistent across The Studio to ensure that teaching staff and students have a familiar and consistent user experience.
The Studio is equipped with 100 x Apple 21” iMacs, configured to run both Windows and Mac OS X to support the five-strand curriculum. These devices are installed with a wide range of professional applications, such as Adobe’s suite of creativity applications, Matchviewer to analyse sporting performance, and Logic X to support the Performing Arts programme. CI provided a number of the items for the school’s sports area including treadmills.
CI’s solution has enabled The Studio to provide an ambitious curriculum across all the specialist subjects offered. The Studio can now fulfil its dual purpose of ensuring its students gain a range of qualifications in rigorous academic subjects (utilising Apple devices provided by CI), while simultaneously acquiring the relevant employment skill to succeed in their chosen careers.
The infrastructure consolidation resulted in substantial cost savings for The Academy, and CI ensured that further savings were made by leveraging the bulk purchasing of the aggregated wireless access points.
By integrating the infrastructure, CI simplified the management of the IT infrastructure for The Academy and have now completed the handover of the solution to The Studio’s IT team. However, CI still provide ongoing third line support for the Apple Mac equipment and software.