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The Wren School needed an entire ICT solution for their new school and Centerprise International came to the rescue

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Background

The Wren School (the school) was set up to help fill a school place shortfall in the local community, with an aim to provide a modern, multi-cultural, community-based education experience. Every student is known and valued as an individual and they are inspired to aim high in everything that they do.

The school prepares their students for the future, both academically and socially, through ‘Wren Skills’.  The students develop their leadership and interpersonal qualities to enable them to play a vital role in the changing global economy.

Successful tender for Centerprise

The school went out to tender for the supply of their entire ICT infrastructure, wired and wireless networking and all teaching endpoint devices, including Audio Visual (AV) equipment.  Centerprise International (CI) was awarded the ICT services contract in late June 2015 for the provision of the ICT services to the entire school.

Seamless implementation

The school officially opened in September 2015, initially in temporary accommodation.  CI worked closely with the school and their construction partner to provide a working solution, with all the ICT embedded into the temporary buildings by the end of August 2015.  The ICT installation into the porta cabins happened during the first week-end of September, where the school was to be housed during the first year.  The power supply was switched on via a generator and CI also provided a 4G SIM and router to provide temporary internet access to the site whilst the phone and internet lines were installed.

In September 2016, The Wren School moved from their temporary porta cabins to more semi-permanent ones on the other side of their site, approximately 800 metres away, to allow the build of the permanent school to take place. CI moved the school’s ICT from one set of temporary buildings to the other, which included moving the server cabinet across whilst live on the UPS.  Using the 4G SIM and router as a temporary solution, CI wheeled the cabinet into a truck to transport it across the site. They subsequently installed it in the new server room without the servers going offline, ensuring that remote users were not affected.

Working closely with the build contractor, Kier, CI were able to ensure that ICT was incorporated into their project plan so that the installation was completed not only on time, but in advance of the school being handed over.   In September 2017, additional classrooms were added to the site, making the school the largest temporary school in the UK with almost 500 pupils onsite. Again, early engagement with Kier enabled CI to ensure that the ICT was installed in advance of handover to the school.

Innovative solutions

Based on the specific needs of the school (moving between two temporary sites and then to a permanent building), CI designed a reduced virtualised hyper-V environment to support the school, with the aim of upgrading this to a full hyper-V Cluster when the school moves to its permanent site in September 2018.

Remaining conscious of the school’s future changes, CI designed the infrastructure to accommodate the current requirements of the temporary site with scalability to meet the needs of the school’s future growth.  By adding additional infrastructure as and when required, the solution provides benefits in terms of extended life, reduced initial financial outlay and access to the latest technology.

Due to the layout of the initial temporary site, CI provided a wired network with a switch in each porta cabin. When the school moved again in August 2016, CI were able consolidate and stack all of the switches together into fewer network cabinets.

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“Centerprise have been working with our school since it opened as a new Free School in 2015.  They have been instrumental in helping to create and implement the school’s ICT strategy, and have delivered a flexible system during the rapid development of the school.  Various members have worked closely with the SLT since 2015 to shape and respond to the growing needs of the school, whilst ensuring we have a robust IT system in place to meet our basic needs in three temporary sites.

Centerprise have worked well with all stakeholders involved with the new, purpose-built secondary school building, which is due to open in September 2018. They have shared their experiences and lessons learnt across the team from previous projects they have worked on, which has been vital to the success of this project.”

– Natasha Lee, Business Manager for The Wren School.

Additional devices and peripherals

CI provided the school with a range of devices to support their wider curriculum. Admin staff have All-In-One desktops to save desk space and the teachers have laptops to enable them to move and share classrooms in the temporary sites. Students have access to Windows laptops, Chromebooks and tablets, as well as a Windows Desktop suite since September 2017.

Ranges of software titles have been deployed to support Maths, Science and English lessons. For the science classrooms, CI installed a number of data loggers to support a variety of experiments. This wide range of devices provides the students with a unique opportunity to explore operating systems, which they will experience in the wider working world.  These interact with the hybrid Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite for Education environments, which are utilised by the school.

Each classroom has been kitted out with a 70” Interactive Clevertouch display with a built-in android module, enabling the teachers to use the screens connected to their laptops or accessed directly from the web, without any other devices connected to the screens.  For the new, permanent building, CI will design and deploy a full AV solution for the school’s large hall, which will be used for school productions.

Ongoing support

CI have been providing onsite and remote support to the school since opening because they don’t have an onsite ICT technician. The onsite support includes:

  • Investigating and resolving client and AV problems, both software or hardware-related
  • Remote support for the server, storage, wired and wireless networks (including Proactive Preventative maintenance (PPM) – e.g. installing windows updates, Remote Reactive Maintenance (RRM) – e.g. when a wireless point stops working or there is a server problem
  • Remote Monitoring of the network infrastructure
  • A remote service desk for new software installs, user password resets and other remote support requests

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