Hi all. OK, I am not a geek (as it should say at the bottom) so bear with me.
I'm a parent governor in a small school with no geek. They are running Viglen Classlink. I have no clue what version, as yet. (I am currently scaring the pants off them by attempting a software audit) Viglen are about to rationalise/upgrade servers and upgrade Classlink so I assume that means they will go to version 11.
They are also converting to Academy status. That is going to mean various people coming in and working in the school - including myself. As far as I can see, they (we) just need to be able to get wifi access to the internet to get email &c. I suppose printer access would be nice, but if it means any faffing around whatsoever, they (we) can email it to admin staff to print out.
The Head seems to think it's just a matter of setting a user up on Classlink and then issuing a wireless key.
This is not working for me*, and tbh I'm not sure it should. Of course, there seems to be no Classlink documentation so I can't work out if this sort of external access is covered. I can see that internet control is an optional module, and the school don't seem to have bought that. I'd give up and tether the phone - except the architects in their wisdom seem to have constructed the new building as some sort of enormous Faraday cage, and there's no mobile signal.
Any views? Is this *supposed* to work on classlink? And, bearing in mind we have no geek and won't have one for at least a couple of years, if not, what is the simplest way of achieving this access?
* fwiw, I can see other stuff on the network, and ping servers outside of the building, but the network is showing as "no internet access".
The chances are its just a proxy setting that you don't have.
But, and I don't wish to be grumpy here. You cannot substitute a professionals job with enthusiastic amateurs and no amount of internet trawling will give you the knowledge you need. If you are serious about making a change then you will need to pay money for someone to come and help you. Don't think that IT is just something that happens, enterprise networks are very different to home networks and the demands are very different ( you can't ruin a financial database beyond repair at home!) you will need support right from "how do I Print" to "what software licensing do I need" and everything inbetween. It will cost you money, possibly lots if you want a sustainable future, but there again I'm sure the parents aren't out tending the lawns and painting the walls
I may have dripfed slightly. Sorry. It's a special school for severely disabled children, and as such has surprisingly low tech needs. You don't have an interactive whiteboard in a classroom where half the class can't see it and the other half are in wheelchairs. There's no ICT room. There's no ICT department. There isn't really an ICT syllabus. Outside of the SMT, there's no email. This is why they've managed OK so far. There's not a lot to manage.
Obviously they can't afford a dedicated IT person; to use your analogy that would be like employing a full-time in-house decorator when in an average year, you just want to paint the shed door. They can't share an IT person yet either, because the big secondary next door is a Church school and there's some sort of Diocese budget firewall which has put a stop to pretty much all collaboration. The plan is for this Academy conversion to lead to future collaboration with other Special Schools - maybe a Special Academy Chain - and then we can look at getting a shared person who could also become a specialist in some of our weirder bits of kit. In the meantime, we have what looks like a very limited support contract with Viglen. If I ask for something outside of that I will need a clear understanding of what I am asking for: otherwise they will creatively interpret it as a request for the moon on a stick, and charge me accordingly.*
If I know that classlink is "supposed" to let me bring an outside laptop in and access the internet via the school network, that's a start.
Re: financial databases - oddly, that part is in pretty safe hands. I have run quite a few banking systems, and the only ones we broke, we broke on purpose.
* I have no previous experience with Viglen. But I have support miles.
I don't know anything about Classlink so can't comment on it, but from what you've described at the most basic level your main requirement is internet access right? If so, keep it simple and don't mix guest devices with the school's data network but instead opt for a wifi solution* that can only access the school's existing internet connection.
(*solution could be as little as a single AP (access point) in your faraday cage or a complete managed wireless network giving complete coverage across the entire site.)
How does the school currently get it's connection to the internet? Direct with an ISP or via a local authority WAN or other?
Internet connection is about to change. Has historically been routed via the school next door (the one with the budget firewall; the internet access was set up when the schools were built together a few years ago and the county originally envisaged closer integration than has turned out to be possible). Currently I think they have changed ISP and put us over onto some temporary setup 'till we also move to a new ISP in about 4 weeks' time.
Re: Wireless network - we'd need a second one, then. The thing I am currently connecting to is the internal wireless network. I agree it would be WAY better to be on a separate network. I'm not at all happy about people plugging stuff into the school network - it's one thing if it's just me, temporarily, but we also need a "solution", which this definitely is not.