Turlin Moor Community School is home to 300 primary pupils in Poole. With one ICT suite, 4 PCs in each classroom and shared sets of iPads and Netbooks, this school is well provisioned and focused on its ICT strategy.
Turlin Moor’s internet connection has historically been provided by SWGfL, up until 2015 the school has accessed the internet through the Poole private network with a 10MB/10MB full fibre connection provided by Virgin costing c. £4,000 annually.
The purchase of new devices three years ago combined with an increase in the use of web-based applications resulted in demand for a faster connection with greater capacity. Migration of school email from RM Easymail to Office 365, implementation of RM Integris and the introduction of cloud-based HR and finance systems all began to put pressure on the school’s connection. And that’s just the school support and admin systems, should a teacher intend for a full class in the ICT suite to access Espresso or Education City, or plan to use YouTube to show video clips, the connection could not be relied upon. The result? Dissatisfaction amongst both teaching and supporting staff.
So in 2014 the school’s Network Manager Graham Broomfield set about considering options for upgrade. Graham wasn’t just after a faster internet connection, e-safety and filtering requirements were also top of the agenda. Graham conducted a thorough review of alternative service providers, particularly as many were now offering education–specific services including filtering. Considering the implications on cost, support and safety features, the decision was made that Turlin Moor’s connection would continue to be provided by SWGfL.
SWGfL were able to offer the school a Superfast Broadband solution called EOSFBB (Ethernet Over Superfast Broadband) which provides up to 80MB downstream and up to 20MB upstream. The new solution delivers 8x more bandwidth at half the cost of the previous solution. And obviously safety and security were included as standard. Graham stated that having a single point of contact at the Grid was really beneficial, guiding him through the process and advising what would happen and when in terms of installation, ‘it was all very painless as a customer, a professional service with everything happening on time. And above all, it worked!’
So has it made a difference? With the new connection, the school no longer experiences interruptions and competition for access as Graham said, ‘there are now no limits’. There is an overall better fluidity of service, websites are more responsive and teachers don’t experience the dreaded buffering when waiting for YouTube videos!
And the sky really is the limit! With more and more services moving to the cloud, this is an exciting time for Turlin Moor. The school’s usage is maxing at 30MB so there is plenty of bandwidth with which to explore new services, Graham is planning some Skype connections with a class in New Zealand, and there are big plans to explore BYOD for teachers in the next six months.
If you'd like to speak to a Schools Internet Service specialist about our connectivity solutions for your school, please call us on 0845 601 3203 or visit swgfl.org.uk/sis