Bridge Schools Trust based at Lanhydrock in Cornwall includes 14 academies. Working across Cornwall, Plymouth and Devon, the schools vary in size from 500 pupils at the largest to 32 at the smallest and include voluntary aided Church Schools. The Trust is run by a centralised business team, specialising in Finance, HR & Admin, Premises, Health & Safety and IT management. Working in this way allows for a holistic and consistent approach, which saves time and money, allowing the schools to focus on learning and the Trust to run more efficiently and effectively.
South West Grid for Learning provides connectivity for all sites. This means that the central IT team can coordinate their activity from one point via a secure virtual private network (VPN). With safe and secure filtering, firewalls and connectivity all provided by SWGfL the Trust has been able to streamline their support services.
Having SWGfL on board has allowed Bridge Schools time to work on getting systems and processes right, enabling us most importantly to then focus on using all available technology to enhance learning in the classroom, in the knowledge that our infrastructure is robust and always availableJohn Wareham, IT, Bridge Schools Trust
With one connectivity supplier and a small, roving, highly competent central IT team the Trust has saved thousands of pounds in excessive IT support contracts. Rather than having lots of individual services covering different schools, support is now provided via an online helpdesk and remotely from the IT team, with regular onsite visits when required.
Being more efficient
Moving from Capita SIMS to Arbor MIS and switching to Microsoft Office 365 are just some of the other ways the Trust has managed to save money. Having superfast broadband within all of the sites, and upgrading wherever and whenever possible, the schools are able to put more and more of their services in the cloud. Replacing onsite servers and the additional maintenance charges are an unnecessary expense and Bridge Schools are planning to make use of the space and technology available in the cloud.
As the Trust expands, having the right infrastructure in place means the Trust can incorporate any new school into their network quickly and simply.
Bridge Trust and SWGfL are also working together to streamline additional services, from amalgamating invoicing to hierarchical filtering, all of which helps save time, money and resources.
SWGfL and partners, RM, have been easy to approach and very happy to listen to and accommodate our needs where they possibly can. It’s quite a refreshing change to work with enthusiastic and helpful providers that are always looking to deliver best fit and best valueJohn Wareham, IT, Bridge Schools Trust