INSIGHT

Schooled for success

Fast learning is our thing

Hands up if you think disruption in school is the way to go

Admittedly we do – but not in a way that’s going to result in a trip to the headmaster’s office.

When technology-fuelled disruption is improving the learning experience in thousands of schools up and down the country, we reckon that’s a good thing. We’re proud of the part we’ve played via TRUSTnet – the designed for schools ICT service that we deliver in tandem with Atomwide and London Grid for Learning, our not-for-profit education partner.

The 500MB school

Over the past few years, Virgin Media Business Government and Education Account Executive, Adam Bottery, has watched the technology requirements of schools and academies rapidly transform. They’ve got to stay ahead of disruption, while our services have to deliver a learning environment to support the growth and learning of a new generation of digital natives - whatever their age, background or ambition.

Adam says: “If you think about the world we live in, there are dozens of jobs that won’t even exist when the children currently in primary school are working age. How do you prepare them for such a rapidly changing scene? Making sure that every child can access the Internet safely and easily is a good place to start. We are seeing some schools requesting dedicated speeds of 400 to 500mb. Not because they really need it now, but because they are wisely thinking ahead to when such speeds will be essential.”

Linking sites, centralising services

Many schools are turning to TRUSTnet after finding their current broadband solution is a one-size-fits-all solution that isn’t fit for purpose. Our service comes with guaranteed bandwidth and provides a secure environment with filters to guard against inappropriate material such as adult or radicalising content. Adam believes TRUSTnet’s flexibility is one of the main reasons it is so attractive to schools and academies, especially those with more than one location.

He says: “We put in the connectivity, router and firewall, and away they go. It takes the complexity out of setting up a WAN. It is IPVPN tech, so a managed network. If you are an academy you can link your sites, centralising services, information and more. An IT manager can be across multiple sites from one location, which cuts down on travel. Schools are very aware of making savings and efficiencies, so in turn we are very aware of costs. For example, there’s a TRUSTnet Free School Meal Eligibility Checker, which can assist schools in attracting additional funding. London schools processed £2m of claims in the first two weeks of the service having been relaunched. This in itself can pay for the broadband provision.”

A win-win for everyone

Adam believes the best indication of a school’s satisfaction is when they install an additional connection. An academy in North London did so recently, going from five connections to six. Adam reckons the added value to school resources makes the service popular.

He says: “There is cloud storage, file exchange, apps for communicating with parents. Another bonus is service desk availability, which means that changes can be made very quickly. All these things form a fantastic bundle, which many schools wouldn’t do without.”

Like it or lump it, the disruption of education means schools and academies have to think of themselves differently. No longer shored up by Government, many are in effect autonomous organisations which need to stand on their own two feet, and TRUSTnet is helping them do so.

Adam says: “An academy with a reasonably sized budget to spend is the equivalent of a medium-sized business, some with multiple sites. TRUSTnet simplifies their connectivity while simultaneously boosting what they can offer to students and parents - and that’s a win-win for everyone.”

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