Providing an outstanding education for students since the 16th Century, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School are committed to providing inspirational teaching and outstanding learning – striving to lead students towards academic excellence. They believe students need to build excellent learning habits, as well as being resilient and independent.
The school understands the important contribution that facilities can make to school life. Having access to the latest technology to aid teaching methods and support effective learning is crucial to helping Bishop Vesey’s achieve the levels of excellence that they strive for. Ensuring that students have access to the latest and most innovative technology lays the foundation for students to prosper moving forward through education.
Having recently opened a brand-new building, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School had very little in place, by way of IT. The school pride themselves on providing the very best educational facilities possible to their students. So, with limited tech in place, things needed to change.
The first place to start was with the AV. Dean Parsons, Senior Network Technician at Bishop Vesey’s, explains, “The move over to the new build, highlighted a number of issues with the existing AV platform we had in place. Namely – that it was really aging and outdated. As a school that prides itself on providing the latest innovative tech – our AV really wasn’t living up to that standard anymore.
“Classrooms were fitted out with standard projectors and interactive whiteboards, but problems were starting to surface and cracks starting to show in this tech. Significant issues were starting to materialise, and as such – things needed to change.”
With a budget and a brief in place, Bishop Vesey’s set out to find state of the art tech that would assist them in providing inspirational teaching, outstanding learning and that could better enable students to engage with peers and teachers and work more effectively in class.
With an idea already of what they wanted, Dean and his colleagues headed to the BETT show to pinpoint the exact solution that would fit their requirements and meet suppliers who could help them achieve the desired outcomes for the school.
Speaking about this further, Dean comments, “When the need for this project came about, I took to the internet and searched online to try and get a bit of an idea of what it was we actually wanted and needed.
“The school had never really invested much in terms of AV technology before so this was huge for us. As such, there was a lot of pressure on us to get something that was both top notch and that worked in way that would directly benefit our staff and our students.
“Having had a look around for innovative solutions, I knew that the best route to go down would be interactive touchscreens. One of key reasons for this was because of their all-in-one nature. This would mean that we wouldn’t need any additional speakers and amplifiers which was an added bonus. Wireless projection was also key to this – with teachers previously being at the front of the class using standard projectors and white boards to teach, we wanted a solution that would challenge traditional teaching methods. As student engagement with technology is also a big goal for the school, this was something that we also wanted address. Interactive screens fit the bill perfectly. All I needed to do was find the one!
“So, with a picture in my head of what this looked like, we went off to BETT to have a look at and test out a range of touchscreens and audio visual solutions. For me, this was going to be the best place to experience the range of AV tech available and speak to experts who could help me decide the best route to go down.”
Whilst at the show, Dean went to see Stone who had been the schools preferred IT hardware provider for PCs for a number of years. Having never really considered Stone for their AV requirements historically, Dean was interested to see what they had to offer. Commenting on this, Dean explains, “As a school, we’ve been working with Stone for nearly 20 years. They’ve always been our preferred partner when it comes to hardware, and have even helped us with our server infrastructure, so when I realised they actually provided AV solutions too this was great news! Funnily enough, prior to me attending BETT, Stone had been recommended to us as a supplier for AV – so I had nothing to lose really by going to have a chat with them about our requirements.”
Having spoken to Stone alongside various other vendors at the show, Dean took all the information that he had gathered back to the school for consideration.
Following their considerations, Bishop Vesey’s released a tender for the project to a number of suppliers. After carrying out a thorough evaluation process, the school chose Stone as their preferred partner for the upcoming AV project.
Explaining why Bishop Vesey’s chose Stone for the project, Dean explains, “As a school we’ve always brought our PC’s and laptops from Stone and they’ve never failed to effectively deliver. So, when we spoke to them at BETT in relation to our project, we were impressed with what they were doing and what they had to offer in regards to AV. The guys we spoke to on the stand were exceptionally helpful and very knowledgeable. They were more than happy to suggest a few options that we should look at and really took into consideration what it was we were trying to achieve and the outcomes that we wanted.
“When we went out to tender, Stone were by far the most cost effective option when it came to getting high-quality screens without a heavy price tag. There were plenty of other suppliers at the event that we went along and spoke to, but none really seemed as sure of the service that they would be able to provide us with as Stone were.
“One of the things I remember that really helped sway our decision was that Stone were able to show us examples of their past work with previous AV installs and projects. This was something that other suppliers didn’t seem to do, so this was really reassuring for us. Richard, who was our AV Project Manager from Stone, really seemed to know his way around an AV install, which was again really reassuring for us as this was the first project of its kind that we had carried out.”
As the project would be an install across an entirely new build within the school, Bishop Vesey’s required a number of touchscreens and accessories that would align with their set budget. The solution that Stone put forward that would fit the school’s requirements included:
- 13 x 70” Ctouch Laser Air Plus screens
- 2 x 75” Ctouch Laser Air Plus Screens
- 2 x 85” Ctouch Laser Air Plus Screens
- 5 x WePresent WIPG 2000’s
Speaking about the reasons behind opting for CTOUCH screens, Dean comments, “Having had a look at these CTOUCH screens at BETT, I’m really glad they were part of Stone’s proposal as they seemed far more reliable than anything we’d used before and were really fitting to our requirements. They came with extended warranty and were all installed with software that we needed to help our teachers creatively deliver lessons that would be both engaging and effective.”
As these screens needed to be implemented in each of the various departments across the new block of the school, an action plan deciding how they would best be used was put into place. Bishop Vesey’s had a general plan built up as to where they wanted the screens as well as what they wanted them for, so it was down to Stone to fit the screens in the appropriate places as well as providing accompaniments, such as WePresent, to meet the school’s requirements.
Speaking about this further, Dean explains, “As you can imagine, each subject uses technology – particularly AV, in a different way. So, for example, in regards to Design and Technology – teachers wanted to be able to utilise AV for coding demonstrations and encourage interaction and peer-to-peer engagement, whilst in Maths the interactive touchscreens were needed to also help improve student interaction with maths problems and to try and encourage them to solve problems as part of a team.
“As such, the placement of these screens in class was paramount. We already had an idea of where they would be best placed to fit the needs of both the students and teachers in regards to collaboration, how many you can fit around a screen at one time, whether it was an interactive session and so on. During the install of the screens, Stone were very helpful and informative and offered us advice as to the best possible solution.”
Perhaps one of the major focal points for the project was the school’s brand new IT suite. From the beginning of the project, Bishop Vesey’s realised that to utilise the room to its full potential they would need an AV solution that would encompass screens, wireless projection and sound. As the IT suite was twice the size of a standard classroom, Stone’s solution for the school proposed implementing dual 75” Ctouch Laser Air Plus screens in the IT suite where the teacher could duplicate content across both screens, alongside 6 speakers with an amplifier.
The solution for the IT suite also encompassed WePresent WIPG 2000 in the room to provide Bishop Vesey’s with the wireless compatibility which was so important to them. Using the dual screen layout would ensure that the school were making the most out of the space, with all students being able to see what was going on in the large room. Due to the capabilities of the CTOUCH screens and WePresent wireless, teachers are also able to show separate content on each screen with ease, maximising the potential for student engagement.
Both Dean and the school have been able to observe the differences that the school has seen since implementing the new technologies. Commenting on this, Dean explains, “Both our students and teachers have adapted really well with the new screens and overall AV project. As Students are keen to get up to the front of the class and interact with the screens, this implementation of the screens has further developed student engagement.
“We’ve had interactive styles of whiteboard in our maths lessons before the install sometimes students may struggle to see the screen due to glare or it just not being practical they were not used on a regular basis. Maths lessons use the screens in every lesson, getting students actively engaging with maths using technology was one of our biggest goals, so this has been really pleasing.”
“This was quite a difficult project to start to even think about given there are so many departments and so many different styles of teaching and learning – especially when you throw technology into the mix! But, I have to say – it’s been one of the best ICT projects we’ve done. Staff have adapted really well and are using it far more than what I had thought they would. From a teaching and learning point of view this has worked really well. Teachers are able to move around the classroom without being restricted to one place, which also actively encourages students to take part in lessons too. They can talk, interact and collaborate from anywhere in the room. It’s great!
“Design and Technology and Maths are by far the heaviest users but, eventually, as we roll this out across the whole school I’ve no doubt that this is going to prove a very worthwhile investment.”
“Together with Stone we have now successfully completed our AV project, comprising of some great innovative tech for our brand-new STEM building.
“From the very beginning, Stone’s name came very highly recommended in the AV space. They have by far and large, exceeded my expectations with this project. Given that we already had an existing relationship prior to going out with this tender, there was already a high level of trust and that only made our choice to go with Stone even easier.
“With Stone, you feel like they actually care about the outcomes you’re trying to achieve and actively seek to find you a solution that they know will deliver all that and more. With Stone, you feel reassured – reassured in their ability and in their capability. Our Project Manager was incredibly knowledgeable and always sought to look into something and provide an answer. They showed us similar projects that they’d worked on before, and again this only reinforced our decision to work with them further.
“They worked superbly to meet deadlines and have stayed in constant contact throughout the whole project, which has been both helpful and reassuring. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Stone and we’re looking forward to future projects with them.
“This technology has been an instant hit with our staff and students, and will help everyone prosper moving forward.”