IT solutions consultancy ramsac has announced that both King Edward’s and Manor House independent schools in Surrey have outsourced their IT management to the company to take the stress out of managing their own Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems.
Manor House School is an independent girl’s school that has fully embraced the benefits that ICT can deliver, not only in the classroom, but also throughout the running of the entire school.
At King Edward’s Witley, the school’s approach to teaching ICT is to make ICT a part of the pupils overall learning, as opposed to a separate academic discipline. This means that the technology and IT infrastructure within the school is an essential element of the way the school’s education system functions.
“The budgeting, specifying, installing and ongoing maintenance of the myriad of ICT items on a school’s agenda pose a big challenge for the most seasoned ICT co-ordinator,” says Robert May, managing director of ramsac. “For those without in-house assistance, the ability to administer local area networks (LANS) with PCs, laptops, scanners and printers; manage internet and broadband service provision; roll-out new and upgraded software applications and operating systems; maintain databases, intranets, extranets and websites; install interactive whiteboards and operate wireless services is daunting to say the least.”
As a consequence, both schools have chosen to outsource their ICT operations to ramsac, using the company’s experiences in managing IT for business and applying them to the schools. King Edward’s Director of ICT, Brian Turner explains why they decided to outsource to ramsac. “The company was able to offer the school certain experience and knowledge that we lacked. ramsac provided us with solutions to many of our IT issues, from technological development, business continuity planning, server failure and technology up-grades to recruiting the right member of staff to manage the day-to-day duties in our ICT department.”
Manor House school has a full-time ICT Technician who is dedicated to improving the ICT facilities, but with more and more equipment entering the classroom such as PCs and interactive whiteboards, as well as the infrastructure needed to support these tools, it was becoming a real challenge for one person alone.
Val Allcott, Manor House School’s Administration Manager describes the dichotomy the school faced, “A technology failure, such as a curriculum server malfunction, can immediately impact on the usually smooth day-to-day running of our school. However, we are not able to afford a dedicated IT department to meet our needs and even if we could, there wouldn’t be the office space available to home them.”
By working together, ramsac has already been able to help both schools to implement a realistic timeline for future projects taking into account urgency and budget. Applying business philosophies to the schools ICT infrastructures has enabled them to feel more confident in the resilience of their networks, as well as developing a clearer view for future ICT strategies.
May concludes, “A specialist IT consultancy is able to take the stress out of ICT and provide the services and skills required to match each individual case. For some this may simply be support for the ICT co-ordinator at the end of the phone, a part-time ICT member of staff, or for others it may mean working closely together to develop a longer term overall strategy. This enables those for whom a dedicated in-house team may not be practical, to outsource all or part of their ICT needs. In return they benefit from properly planned solutions and support without any of the headaches often associated with managing technology.”