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Blue Skies Thread, Sharing resources between schools in General; Hi folks, Looking for some ideas/inspiration. I work at a girls school and across the field is the boys school. ...
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    machin05's Avatar
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    Sharing resources between schools

    Hi folks,

    Looking for some ideas/inspiration.

    I work at a girls school and across the field is the boys school. Until recently, we have had little to nothing to do with eachother. However, last year our head took on a shared headship across both schools and formed an Academy Trust between the two schools.

    As part of that trust a new position has been offered to manage the ICT strategy and networks for both sites. They have invited me to apply for the role, which I have, and the interview is tomorrow. So not much warning there!

    I have a few ideas on how to join forces and utilise some shared resources and expertise, but just wondered if there was anyone out there in EduGeek land that has had experience of this type of setup and what some good ideas to take into the interview would be?

    We are both using RM for our internet provision, so would there be a way of using their network to create WAN between the schools. If not, some kind of physical link or "line of sight" wireless connection would have to be installed. Once we are connected, what are the possibilties bearing in mind that the two schools are to remain as separate institutions.

    Manage both email domains from one system (Zimbra/Exchange)
    Share a moodle installation
    Share Wordpress/Zoomla for our websites
    Share a sharepoint setup for our Learning Gateway

    Should I venture into a new Active Directory Forest that combines both domains???

    Any thoughts, oh wise ones??

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    A google apps domain is an excellent way to share resources. We've done this with an external site before.
    You create a single domain and then two subdomains for each school. It is ideal for this sort of thing.

    I'd be wary of wireless links for a major integration. Instead dig a hole (or get contractors to do it) and lay fibre.
    You'll save a tonne of cash by sharing a broadband link and dividing the bandwidth between them.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    If this is a soild partnership i would merge everything. I have been involve merging 2 schools networks into 1 and moving schools onto new domains etc. Just make sure you plan everything and make sure you understand both legacy networks.

    If you merge networks i would stick in a fibre cable under the field to connect the 2 schools.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    As a governor-director of a 2 school academy trust, I can tell you pretty much exactly what the requirements will be.

    While each school will probably maintain it's own identity and operation, they will share many things... especially support functions.

    They will want any member of staff to be able to work at either school and get to their work... so you should be looking at merging the networks. You will need to establish exactly how separate the schools will be... they may require different email addresses for each school, for example.

    They will want staff from both schools to have their own areas, but to be able to share resources easily between schools.

    You will need to look at licensing. Purchasing at Academy Trust level for both schools may well work out cheaper. That goes for hardware too.

    There is a probability that students may work at either school, especially sixth formers, so access to work from either location for them is important too.

    The finance system will need to be able to cover both schools as one. The Funding Agency pays a lump sum to the Trust and although each school has its own budget, it is centrally managed. So while the school will want to run its own accounts, audit and reporting will be done pan-trust. FMS couldn't cope... we are changing.

    If I think of anything else, I'll add it, or feel free to PM.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 9th May 2013 at 08:17 PM.

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    machin05 (9th May 2013)

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    machin05's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses folks.

    A google apps domain is already setup at the boys school, so that is something to look at expanding and merging the two networks looks like a worthwhile endeavour.

    Elsie, brilliant post. Thank you very much.

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    machin05's Avatar
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    What finance system are you changing to, btw?

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Thanks for the responses folks.

    A google apps domain is already setup at the boys school, so that is something to look at expanding and merging the two networks looks like a worthwhile endeavour.

    Elsie, brilliant post. Thank you very much.
    We have been inventing this wheel since September... I might not be the NM there, but I am the only director who actually understands! : D

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    What finance system are you changing to, btw?
    PS Financials

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    PS Financials
    RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!

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    We have a wireless internet connection to our feeder primary school.

    If we take down the network to do maintenance then they dont get on the internet.

    It may be an idea that you have two seperete internet connections so that if one school is down then the other can still ru.

    just my opinions tho.

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Google Apps would be the easiest way to do this and the lowest financial outlay, I'd personally recommend that one as it works really well, but you need to have a 3mth lead time as a minimum to set up, train users and configure everything so that it just works and be prepared for the it's not office I'm not using it comments... Depending on the size and location of the site would a shared Wifi be viable...? I'd focus on avoiding duplication and reducing costs, so for software and services look at what both use and require to function and identify what can be purchased as a volume license either through EES or open source if your fed up of MS. I'd keep both sites internet sources for now as you need to make sure that either site has the capacity to cope with the others requests and if the wifi can be shared you have redudancy built in if one site looses the server/proxy/connection.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Funnily enough. Google apps is what we have decided on.

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    We're about 6mths into the reinventing the wheel project and the worst bit so far has been the Trust's recommended assessment software and PSFinacials, Google apps has been great so far.

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    Can you register your domain for google apps without it taking control of your email?

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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Can you register your domain for google apps without it taking control of your email?
    Until you change your domains mx records, no email will go to google. Your user names will include your domain though (user@school.com), which could cause confusion?

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