Lea Manor shows how to excel at digital learning without a grade ‘A’ budget
“The superfast, secure connectivity from TRUSTnet has enabled us to give our students and staff the opportunity to thrive in a digital environment – now and in the future.”
Rita Naik-Bascombe, Network & Management Information System (MIS) Manager, Lea Manor High School
Lea Manor High School wanted to keep its students safe online while improving its broadband connectivity in order to deliver a higher standard of digital learning into its classrooms.
Virgin Media Business Digital Solution
We installed a comprehensive solution called TRUSTnet that encompasses secure broadband, learning resources, pupil safeguards, file transfer, backup solutions, IT support and more.
TRUSTnet allows pupils to use the new internet safely, and for staff to implement site bans much faster than before. The selection of twenty inclusive TRUSTnet features are easy to use, and have saved the school at least £5,000 on security features alone. The 100Mpbs superfast internet has made digital learning far more efficient and has future-proofed bandwidth limits.
Digital aims and operational goals
Pop your head around the classroom door of most schools these days and you’ll undoubtedly see more technology than ever before, and pupils who use technology as part of their everyday life. To get top marks for digital learning and unlock the world of knowledge that’s available on the web, schools must do more than kit out classrooms with IT equipment.
Secure and reliable broadband connectivity is a must, as are the vital safeguards to protect students from the murkier side of the Internet. Being able to access e-content that inspires – like the best teachers –is crucial too.
Ticking all these boxes, especially on a tight budget, is no mean feat. But Rita Naik-Bascombe, at Luton’s Lea Manor High School, says they’ve achieved just that.
Here’s how – as the school’s Network and Management Information System (MIS) Manager, Rita chose TRUSTnet shortly after she joined Lea Manor in November 2013.
“It’s so much more than just secure broadband! The wide range of services, plus excellent IT support, makes TRUSTnet great value for money,” enthuses Rita.
And she’s not alone. A comprehensive solution, designed specifically for schools, provided by London Grid for Learning in partnership with Virgin Media Business and Atomwide. TRUSTnet is relied upon by over 2,500 schools across the UK. It provides fast, reliable internet connectivity, award-winning learning resources and a wide range of all-important pupil safeguards, from firewalls to filtering, plus dedicated desktop support when it’s needed.
Rita likes having more than 20 services from the standard TRUSTnet package at her disposal. From secure file transfer between schools to a very competitive off-site backup solution, she can set them up easily – at no extra cost – whenever Lea Manor needs them.
She’s particularly impressed that Sophos anti-virus comes as part of the package. “Other suppliers would have just provided the broadband,” says Rita. “But because TRUSTnet includes the installation of Sophos anti-virus onto all of our machines, we didn’t have to buy it separately. It saved us £5,000.”
TRUSTnet’s granular admin tools are another critical feature, allowing Rita to set specific controls for various user-types. Lea Manor blocks YouTube videos for students, for example, but not for staff. “If the Head asks me to block student access to a certain website, I can do it in five minutes,” says Rita. “Before, it could take over a week.”
Rita also doesn’t have to fret about busting the budget over bandwidth if the school needs more capacity, as the pupils begin to embrace more and more digital learning opportunities, with the help of TRUSTnet’s award-winning teaching and learning resources. Lea Manor’s current superfast 100Mbps runs on a 1Gbps bearer, so there’s plenty of legroom for increased usage.
“We’ve future-proofed our bandwidth,” she says. “If we want to expand, we don’t need to spend more on infrastructure.”
When Rita arrived at Lea Manor, the school’s IT, supporting 1,150 students and over 120 staff, was maintained by a third party managed service provider as part of the BSF* programme. The complex contract and not having IT expertise to properly manage the service provider, resulted in support processes being painfully slow. It impacted teaching and learning.
She was relieved that TRUSTnet provided all of the ICT services she needed to ensure that students and staff could safely and securely use digital resources, administration systems and learning tools. She was also able to ask the TRUSTnet team to provide the school’s LAN infrastructure maintenance and WiFi network management. “The specialist advice we get is fantastic and the key is building good working relations,” she says.
Since July 2014, when Virgin Media Business connected Lea Manor with the complete TRUSTnet service, they haven’t looked back. “The superfast, secure connectivity and additional services from TRUSTnet has enabled us to give our students and staff the opportunity to thrive in a digital environment – now and in the future.”