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Network and Classroom Management Thread, independent Primary School Network? in Technical; Morning Chaps, I work for a managed service provider. I have just been asked by one of my Primary schools ...
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    independent Primary School Network?

    Morning Chaps,

    I work for a managed service provider. I have just been asked by one of my Primary schools about the possibilities of getting their own broadband connection, firewalls and filtering etc...

    Just wondering have any of you gone through this process with a primary? If you are will to disclose your planning procedure/notes for this that would also be a great help. This will be my first school becoming "independent" of the LEA in terms of the curriculum network. I do have some very good tech's above me but i would like to be able to provide some input of my own during the planning process.

    What red tape could i/school face if this is implemented?
    best isp?
    Best firewall/filtering solution?


    Any input greatly appreciated!

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    It will take a lot of planning but you've already taken the first steps there, which is always good.

    From experience, the first thing you need to look at is what you are currently offered - make note of all services and speeds provided by your current provider/connection. Then with each service, ask "Do we need this?" "Is the current offering something we need to aim for with the new service?" "Is this currently adequate?" "Should we futureproof (usually speed related)"

    We did this en-masse in Northamptonshire and a few folks kindly put together a great toolkit to aide with this procedure:

    Schools Broadband Working Group - A Toolkit | Duston School

    I can't stress the importance of filtering systems. I also can't stress enough the importance of weighing out "cloud" services and local services - sure you can do it all in house, but do you have the time/expertice/experience/inclination/responsibility to do so.

    You need to plan for the changeover too - exact date and time needs to be agreed with all involved parties, and you need to minimise downtime and data loss (usually email related) when doing so.

    There shouldn't be too much red tape involved however that will change per LEA. I urge you to be extremely careful at all points and make sure any services you take on are done in the knowledge that if something goes wrong, it could come back to you, and you need to be able to protect your pupils, your staff and yourselves.

    @GrumbleDook here is an absolute expert and may be able to chip in with some specifics but it will also certainly be worth checking with your LEA first if there's anything they expect of you. There's a lot of systems in place (again depending on LEA) where they may require a permanent connection to your school, or files being sent over secure systems which may need changing and reconfiguring.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 28th November 2012 at 12:47 PM.

  3. 2 Thanks to synaesthesia:

    GrumbleDook (28th November 2012), saihaynes (20th December 2012)

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    Great first response, thank you!

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    To add to what has been said above I would also make sure you take into account all of the other things your school might get from or do with your LA ... Admissions, free school meals, HR, Finance, advisory services (those outside of direct ICT / tech advice) etc and find out how data is exchanged, what the dependencies are and the implications if you are not part of the whole LA wrap-around (this will vary greatly from LA to LA).

    The toolkit is a good place to start but you also need to make the school aware that just because they are paying the LA less (or no) money it might increase costs in other areas ... We have seen this with some of our schools where they now have the money and have gone elsewhere for payroll etc and it is actually costing more because although the external payroll service is cheaper they are spending more school staff time on it. YMMV.

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    I have recently did this for all my primary schools and after alot of work and research i decided to go with Schools Boardband.

    School Broadband Fast, Reliable Internet for Schools

    There were great and provided everything i wanted at my primary schools. Filtering is supplied by them,which there use Fortinet Web Filtering which is synced to your AD. so when a user logs on to the computer and goes on the internet its know what filtering to put in place. Staff or Student even admin.

    We are currently signed up to a three year deal with them, which includes hosting the domain and email accounts,FTTC Network connection when available ,filtering and support and its all for 3200.

    All the primary school i work for have came out of the LEA for most of the things, I think we only use there MIS system, which is online anyway.

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    Is that 3200 per year or the combined cost for the 3 year term?

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    That is the Annual Cost. If you need anymore information. Im Happy to call you or You can call me. Just send me a PM

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    Cheers Ryan, much appreciated! We are in the very early stages at the moment. I'm due to call our local authority this afternoon to discuss. The main reason the school is thinking of stopping the authority internet service is to allow teachers access to a terminal server from home.

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    AWWW ok, If you need more information just send me a PM

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    SB also provide a VPN remote access as part of the package too (we also went with them as a secondary school, as have all of my primary schools). Do make sure you get the right thing though - with all due respect to SB shop around and make sure you get plenty of other ideas. Get a proper quote in from each company rather than rely on other's prices as location and circumstance will have an effect on prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    SB also provide a VPN remote access as part of the package too (we also went with them as a secondary school, as have all of my primary schools). Do make sure you get the right thing though - with all due respect to SB shop around and make sure you get plenty of other ideas. Get a proper quote in from each company rather than rely on other's prices as location and circumstance will have an effect on prices.
    Yeah There are all Good Points.

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    Just got off the phone with a nice chap at the authority and he explained their solution would be A Citrix login using a key fob with and rdp link on the applications list.

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    yeah Our Local Authority offered us something like that for our MIS transfer System and i have to say its 100% complete rubbish. we have had more problems with this then anything else. The problems we have with this solution is that staff keep losing there fob keys and then the school need to pay 120 pound for a new one.which then takes the local authority about 2 weeks to config and send back to us. Updates to the Critix cilent is the most annoying issue we have at the moment. seems like its doing updates every second of the second.

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    Weve just gone through the process of moving away from the SWGFL ...

    After much research we went with a Virgin Business 20 meg line with free telephone line thrown in cost Circa 42.00 pm. We purchased a Netgear Business Class firewall box for 150.00 (Up to 60 meg throughput). Filtering is being done by Censornet running on an in house HP mini server Cost with cashback 110.00. and 350.pa for the filtering software. The firewall is configured to only accept internet requestes fron the Censornet box .. We at the same time threw out are old BT and expensive telephone exchange and bought an orchid PABX 160.00. This gave us 20 extensions with no over the top "maintainence fees" The whole system has been running since September without hiccups. I have been monitoring the Virgin line and compared to the SWGFL offering in another school its streets ahead ...
    The filtering has proved to be effective and is highly inteligent ... Should you wish it can force youtube into safe mode ... and also schools mode. It also forces the search engines into safe mode ... If you would like more info drop me a PM ..
    Cheers

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    In a further update, the school has been told if they go independant with the curriculum they will still have to pay the full 3700 pipe charge for the admin alone. So it looks like we will be looking at going completely independent now eeek!

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