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Moving to Windows 10 at St John Fisher Primary School

Since it went on general release back on 29 July, schools, colleges and universities all over the world have been upgrading to Windows 10.

Since it went on general release back on 29 July, schools, colleges and universities all over the world have been upgrading to Windows 10. None appear to have been as keen to get he ball rolling with a widespread school-level rollout than St John Fisher Primary, where deployment began on the actual day of release. The Microsoft UK Schools blog took a closer look at St John Fisher’s story through the eyes of Atlantec, the Microsoft in Education partner involved in helping St John Fisher Primary on their Windows 10 journey.

St John Fisher Primary has completely transformed their relationship with technology to become one of the first schools in the country to deploy Windows 10. The deployment began on the actual day of release, July 29th 2015. With support from Atlantec, this two form entry Catholic primary school for girls and boys knew it was time to invest in technology to help it meet its current and future challenges.

One challenge faced by the school was to address its ageing IT infrastructure. The environment had grown organically over the years culminating in a mixture of different hardware types and operating systems including Windows XP and Windows 7. The result was an environment that was unpredictable in terms of cost and inconsistent in terms of user experience. It was time for change.

“Expensive computers were once the reserve of high end institutions and wealthy individuals. Today, it’s the complete opposite. Parents and children want more from their schools and we’re going to give it to them,” says Jacqueline Richards, the headteacher.

There is growing evidence to suggest that ICT in schools is no longer just about ‘how to use’ a computer or an application. Atlantec knows that Improving student engagement and learning outcomes is a top priority for any school and by helping define and incorporate technology into everyday learning can significantly improve the chances of meeting that goal.

The second challenge faced by SJF was a financial one. Restrictive ICT budgets had led the school to tackle ICT challenges from a reactive (break-fix) standpoint meaning that their operational as well as capital costs were always sporadic and difficult to predict.

To address these challenges, St John Fisher decided to work with Atlantec, a Microsoft Education Partner who is committed to helping academic institutions maximise their investments in ICT to support a more effective learning environment. Atlantec took a holistic approach in helping SJF define their vision for anytime, anywhere learning whilst helping the school to liberate both time and budget.

“In order to stabilise their budgets, we knew it made sense to implement an aaS (as a service) model”, says Jean-Marc Pampellonne, the MD at Atlantec. “The world is moving to a consumption based model helping eliminate those spikes in financial outlays while staying current with the latest technologies.”
Harnessing The Power of Cloud

Office 365 for Education is available to schools at no cost and forms a core component of the overall solution. With OneNote, Skype, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and other tools like Office Mix and Sway, St John Fisher would be well equipped to take interactivity in the classroom to another level.
The school entered into an OVS-ES licensing subscription entitling it to an always up-to-date Microsoft software catalogue such as Office 2016. As an added bonus, the school can now offer the full desktop version of Office 2016 to every student to install at home.

Built For Schools
The hardware refresh consisted of a blend of HP Pro 612 Tablets and HP Pro Tablet 10 EE devices for teachers and students. Atlantec arranged these through HP in a ‘Device As A Service’ offering. This now means the school only pays a fixed amount every month to secure an always up-to-date End User Device. Every three years, the school will now receive brand new hardware.

Next, Atlantec consolidated and virtualised the school’s server estate on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. Windows 10 was selected as the new desktop operating system, Microsoft SQL Server 2014 for database management (Capita SIMS) and cloud-based Microsoft Intune for systems management and endpoint protection.

The entire IT project was carried out by Atlantec during the school summer holidays to minimise disruption to pupils and teaching staff with the Windows 10 deployment commencing on the day of release, July 29th.
“The consultants are clearly experts in their field and carried out the ICT transformation on-time and on budget!”, says Simon Conrad, the deputy head.

A Complete Transformation
The Windows 10 deployment that Atlantec undertook has completely transformed the learning environment at St John Fisher. The school is now proudly pioneering the latest technology with Windows 10 and Office 365 to serve as the platform for anywhere anytime learning. St John Fisher is now leading the way for others to aspire to. Since the deployment, Atlantec have continued to proactively monitor and support St John Fisher’s environment to make sure that the system is continuing to perform as expected. The feedback from teachers and students alike has so far been spectacular.
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