Northgate Managed Services

Netherwood Advanced Learning Centre

Netherwood Advanced Learning Centre case study – tailored IT support service to meet IT learning needs 

Netherwood Advanced Learning Centre in Barnsley opened its doors in 2012. As a secondary community school, it educates 1,100 11-16 year old students, with 80 teaching and 60 support staff. With it its modern state of the art facilities, Netherwood has a unique learning environment with flexible learning spaces to adapt to different lesson styles.



Capita Managed IT Solutions started to engage with Netherwood in 2015 during their exit from Barnsley’s Building Schools for the Future Programme (BSF). The engagement involved consultancy and vision planning to understand Netherwood’s IT requirements to develop a tailored IT solution following BSF. The school needed a flexible solution that would support them through their transition of a centralised IT managed service back to the school. Capita’s Custom Fit, IT service was the solution chosen.

Kate Daniels, Assistant Principal, Netherwood Advanced Learning Centre says:

We worked with Capita from the beginning of our programme to move from a centralised managed service. The engagement process with Capita was fantastic, the team listened to our needs and supported us in developing an IT vision. Knowing the Capita team understood our requirements and developed a solution to meet exactly what we wanted gave me the peace of mind that our IT was in capable hands. Capita’s Custom Fit solution ticked every box, giving us the flexibility to choose the level of service we need

The Solution

Capita Custom Fit, tailored IT support

The leadership team and Capita worked together to design a tailored IT support service that met the needs and vision of the school – Capita Custom Fit. From January 2016 the new support service was in place and included:
  • Remote monitoring of the school network infrastructure, servers and hardware.
  • 60 on-site senior technical engineer days, with the flexibility to use the days for the transition programme, IT projects, knowledge transfer and training for the school IT team
  • 35 third line support calls per annum for the escalation of IT issues via the Capita Service Desk.
  • Staff mentoring package for the schools on-site IT team.
  • A dedicated point of contact for reviews, advice and planning.
  • Service management and report development against SLA’s and projects.

The Custom Fit solution provides the flexibility for Netherwood to achieve their IT requirements by using the on-site engineer days how and when they are required. The on-site days deliver a quick response if there is a service impact or an issue the school engineers cannot resolve. They also provided the flexibility to be used as needed during the transitionfrom a centralised service to an in-school IT solution byproviding advice, guidance and technical expertise to support the schools IT engineers and develop their skills and knowledge of IT infrastructure – ensuring no disruption to learning and teaching.

Kate continues;

The best thing about Capita’s Custom Fit service is the flexibility it delivers. The support we required particularly in our first year of moving from a managed service was core to the success. Capita provided this flexibility to utilise the on-site IT engineer days as we needed to – from supporting the IT technicians to deliver projects to improve the use of IT in our school

The on-site engineer days were also allocated by the school during the first month of go-live, with a Capita engineer on-site every day to provide early life support for the new decentralised infrastructure and to support the onsite IT team as well asensure all IT documentation was in place,issues were resolved and questions were answered quickly.

The school IT infrastructure is remotely monitored 24x7x365, ensuring minimal disruption to the learning and teaching environment. Any alerts or issues that impact the school are sent directly to the schools onsite engineers. The Service Desk of technical specialists is accessible via telephone and Capita’s online portal. It provides nominated staff at Netherwood with access to the Capita Service Desk anytime of the day. The Service Desk team log calls, and assigns them to the appropriate 3rd line team for resolution. Response to escalated incidents are based on priority.

Kate concludes;

Having an IT support service tailored to our needs and with developing technology playing a key role in our school, knowing Capita is supporting our network, devices and systems gives me the peace of mind that our IT is in safe hands and teaching staff can concentrate on what matters most – delivering education to help our students achieve their best

IT infrastructure projects – enhancing the classroom experience

Capita has supported Netherwood with a number of IT infrastructure and development projects. A number of projects have been completed to ensure the infrastructure is optimised creating a more reliable IT environment to make the best use of technology for learning and teaching.

The projects included:

  • Microsoft licensing – the schools licensing was migrated to the Microsoft Enrolment for Education programme, delivering compliance and cost savings.
  • Virtual Private Network – this was set up to enable remote support from Capita when required and software was installed to enable pro-active monitoring.
  • A new firewall and filtering solution was set up to protect students and staff from online threats.
  • A Microsoft security solution Endpoint protection was deployed to all school end user devices and Audio Visual hardware, protecting students when using the school devices to access online learning materials. Legacy servers no longer required were decommissioned with migration to new servers.
  • A new back up and storage solution was deployed, delivering a more secure and efficient process.

Adding value to IT partnership

Capita has provided access to the Capita online learning portal for the onsite IT team at Netherwood which provides them with access to IT focused courses. Working with the leadership team Capita carried out an IT team skills audit and worked with Netherwood to develop their IT staff CPD training plans.

In addition to this, the partnership with Capita offers a central contact for all of Netherwood’s IT hardware requirements. Capita’s hardware procurement team work with the school to choose the right hardware, at the right price to meet their requirements.


  • Peace of mind with a tailored IT support services that is flexible to the changing needs of Netherwood.
  • Cost savings – by migrating to the Microsoft Enrolment for Education programme, the school has achieved significant cost savings per year on their licensing costs while also becoming compliant.
  • Cost effectiveness – the CustomFit solution means Netherwood are only paying for the services they need and gaining additional value with the flexibility to use on-site engineer days as they need to.
  • 24 x 7 x 365 proactive monitoring and alerts which have assisted in the minimisation of service downtime, ensuring no disruption to the classroom.
  • Added value to the core IT service with access to a range of online training and technical advice and guidance from Capita’s technical specialists.