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General Chat Thread, Brand new school, advice please! in General; Hello. I'm a headteacher, not a techie, so please bear with me. I'm opening a brand new school in September. ...
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    Brand new school, advice please!

    Hello.

    I'm a headteacher, not a techie, so please bear with me.

    I'm opening a brand new school in September. Two form entry primary with nursery. It's a new build so lots of the IT network infrastructure is in place:


    • Wired CAT5e in every class
    • IT suite sized room with enough sockets for 30 machines
    • Smart boards in each class
    • Wireless connectivity throughout

    ting

    I now need to get sorted on purchasing hardware, software and services. We'll want a few office computers running Office 2010 and SIMS/FMS, plus a suite, a couple of machines in each class, a laptop for every teacher, and possibly some tablets/handheld devices for fun. We'll also need printing set up.

    We'll also want someone to look after it all for us - some sort of service package with remote access fixing if possible.

    A couple of questions. Would you recommend that we go for a traditional thick client approach, or take a look at VDI?

    Does anyone have anyone have any recommendations of companies that offer a great service for supply, install and ongoing support?

    We're looking for a long term relationship with a company that will help us to grow our IT provision as the school grows. We've not much money, so a company that offers an all in managed service, or leasing arrangements, would be considered.

    Any advice or recommendations gratefully received.

    Thanks.

    WF
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 1st May 2012 at 09:02 AM.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    a laptop for every teacher
    Not really answering your question, but, have you thought about this? Laptops require a ton of management and if they're not looked after they're a pain and resource drain in repairs!

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    rad
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    You also need to consider the number of Servers you need, depending on users and use. A Laptop for teachers to use is a great thought, however as a managed solution isnt a great idea. How are they going to transfer work between laptop and school network. Having handheld devices for "fun" in a primary and nursery environment sounds like a disaster.

    You also need to consider whether you want a technician/network manager on site to assist with problems that will come about day to day.

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    Have you spoken to any of the local secondaries? One of them might offer support to primaries, they will also know how do deal with your local LEA and RBC.

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    Agreed about the latops for teachers, in this day and age there is no need (when our lease runs out it will be highly unlikely our teachers will get them replaced)

    A workstation connected to each classroom IWB would suffice, plus if you have an IT suite, out of hours the staff could make use of it and VPN so teachers can remote in from home.

    As for a company, can I recommend contacting Panacea IT who I always go to first with my requirements give Robin a call on 01737-244500

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    Personally I would consider investing in a good school employed on-site Technician. You would have more flexibility and someone available for support at the drop of a hat rather than waiting for someone from an external company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Personally I would consider investing in a good school employed on-site Technician. You would have more flexibility and someone available for support at the drop of a hat rather than waiting for someone from an external company.
    As a community made up of techies who work in schools, I would suggest we all promote this option.

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    If you are a new build are you not under the last remnants of BSF? In which case you would need to contact your managed service provider to buy any equipment, if you are a free school I would definately say get a decent on-site technician and take his advice

    Good luck, enjoy your new school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whingefree View Post
    Hello.

    A couple of questions. Would you recommend that we go for a traditional thick client approach, or take a look at VDI?
    Difficult one to call as many people are thinking the same thing right now. VDI does have its benefits from a management perspective but also has higher upfront costs, I guess a lot of it depends on how much budget you have to play with once all the other expenses are out the way.

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    You could also try buying into another schools technicians time. Try talking to high schools or other primaries in your area to see if they have someone who can help out. This also has the advantage of allowing you to test the water as to your schools support requirements in regards of time/costs and that the technician will generally have more knowledge of LEA/govt educational IT policies as well as educational software and it's often strange quirks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Personally I would consider investing in a good school employed on-site Technician. You would have more flexibility and someone available for support at the drop of a hat rather than waiting for someone from an external company.
    ^^ This.
    Of course as a primary school tech I am biased but I really believe that you get so much more value for money in having an on site tech over an outside support company.

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    Abe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whingefree View Post

    Would you recommend that we go for a traditional thick client approach, or take a look at VDI?
    Thin clients can be an attractive option, but I would suggest that VDI is overkill for the vast majority of applications in School. Remote desktop sessions should be perfectly adequate and much more efficient in terms of resources required and of course cost. You could also consider Windows Multipoint Server, although it's cost effectiveness will depend on how you are licensed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Personally I would consider investing in a good school employed on-site Technician. You would have more flexibility and someone available for support at the drop of a hat rather than waiting for someone from an external company.
    This but does depend what exactly and how much you rely on IT on site?

    We between the 3 of us here 900+ Computers/Laptops, projector in every room, endless amount of printers, a load of servers, new VLE (Frog), Digi Screens, Wireless covering 90%, 1600+ Users (Staff, Students yr7-13+). Its a massive job.

    I also spend a good % supporting an external site with 50 PCs/Server/Engineering software.

    I would always recommend employing some one on site for the first 6 months to get everything up and running and sort out all the early problems - this to me must be some one of Network Manager/Officer+ Status who has experience in setting up servers/configuring them and maintaining them. That person should also be able to setup the Wireless and maintain the smart boards for you. (Not insulting a technician there, senior ones can do at least most of the above).

    As SYSMan said - not really a good idea going to a external company it will be a lot of money to get everything properly setup.

    Some one like me could tell you exactly what you needed and what my preference choices are. Our centre was badly managed at the start and we had given them a plan - which they ignored. As a result I had to go down and fix the server and actually set it all up.

    Now I wish they had listened to us and when we upgrade their server I plan on having two servers 1 New one to do the Server side stuff and second one for software and shared area.

    It's a massive job and again I would recommend getting a Quote from a company to do Everything for 6 months - see how much that will be and then perhaps do some job interviews to see who will be best suited for that type of a job. After 6 months you can then consider what next because some schools are even looking at Primary VLEs.

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    You might find Ozan at OP Software is able to help. Support Services - OP Software Ltd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whingefree View Post


    • IT suite sized room with enough sockets for 30 machines

    Consider more points. like power sockets, you can never have too many network sockets. Some people install a couple in the ceiling space for wireless points to be out the way and future possibility of a network projector. I could see a third one in case a cabinet should ever be installed in the room or just to be spare!

    As for smart boards my first thought would be to install projectors and save money on the boards for now. A teacher and I have a crazy plan to remove a smart board, paint the wall with whiteboard paint and see if that gives more usage for him.

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