Litherland High School in Sefton, Merseyside, is a mixed comprehensive with 900 11-16 year-old students. The school was fortunate enough to secure funding as part of the One School Pathfinder scheme and opened the doors of a brand new building in February 2011.
Recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in May for the second time in three years, educational transformation and raising standards sit at the heart of the school. IT has always formed a core part of the leadership strategy and it was important to the Headteacher that the new systems were sustainable, both environmentally and economically.
The School's Vision
The ethos of the school is “Achieving By Caring” and it was important for the school to ensure that the interactive teaching and learning experience provided through the use of technology is sustainable in the long-term, and will constantly improve to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students.
Capita Managed IT Solutions was selected to design, install and manage the IT infrastructure and network. The solution has been designed with sustainability in mind and many of the new technologies will drive down costs and reduce environmental impact.
Thin Client - 90% of the student devices within school are thin clients. Initially the school had planned a smaller thin client deployment, but after testing the technology in their temporary classrooms the teachers preferred the thin clients as they were silent, have very fast log-on times and were able to run the same curriculum applications.
As the devices were less expensive than standard PCs the school has been able to buy more devices and has a virtual 1:1 provision. The school has also been able to put some money aside for refresh and as the devices have an anticipated lifespan of 7-10 years the ongoing costs will be very low.
Apart from the costs savings on the devices themselves, lower power consumption and reduced heat output meant removing the need for mechanical cooling which meant that the school saved money on their power bills and less CO2 is produced.
Within the server room, blade servers have been installed to run the thin environment; these had been designed with sustainability in mind. The chassis in which the servers sit include cooling, which reduces the amount of air-conditioning needed. This is considerably more efficient and cost effective as the servers are being cooled at the source rather than the whole room.
Managed Print - The school’s managed print solution was also a prime example of technology which saved both time and money whilst having a positive impact on the environment. In the past, every classroom had its own printer, many of which were very old and slow. Queues would form at the end of lessons as students waited to collect their printing. This resulted in late arrivals to the following lesson and reams of material being left behind due to multiple copies being printed.
Now the school has just 12 high specification printers located in common areas of the school which students can use to print their work at a time convenient to them. All documents are held centrally and require students to authorise their print jobs with their fingerprint. Each student is allocated print credits each term with the option to purchase additional credits. Handing the responsibility to students makes them think before they print, resulting in the school having dramatic reduction in printing and a positive impact on the environment and costs.
Managed Service - Over the years, the school often felt the need for a ‘Plan B’ when using IT as it wasn’t as reliable as it should have been. The Capita managed service means that the school now has a dedicated team responsible for their IT with clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place to ensure an optimum service at all times.
In addition to making sure the technology works and is available anytime, anywhere, the managed service focuses on driving down the operational costs of IT, identifying areas of efficiency, operational and environmental improvement. One very simple example of this was the automatic start up and shut down of all the computers each day which helped to reduce electricity bills considerably.
Find out more about Litherland High School's Managed Service
In a recent Ofsted report, inspectors commented that the “quality of Litherland High School’s ICT provision was one of its strengths”
"We have just moved into our architect-designed building, which has been built for 21st century learning. It has been vitally important to have our IT facilities professionally managed as so much of our students' learning depends on having a totally reliable service. Working in partnership with Capita we are also ensuring that the IT continues to have a positive impact on the environment"
Jim Donnelly, Headteacher
To view a short video case study of Litherland click here