Since 2007, Swanbourne C of E School, Mursley C of E School and Drayton Parslow Village School, all situated between Milton Keynes and Buckingham, have worked together through pooling their resources to increase pupils’ access to IT resources across the three villages, and therefore strengthen their capacity for learning.
In recent years, there has been a widespread rise in use of ICT equipment across the curriculum and an increase in the value placed on pupil’s ICT literacy. As such, all three schools felt that collectively upgrading their equipment was a necessity that would have a positive impact on pupil learning and create an environment where IT could be more easily integrated into all areas of teaching.
When ICT subject leader, Mike Lewis, was recruited a year ago, he was set the task of commissioning the hardware upgrade. Mike soon discovered that the exceptional build quality of equipment, the dedicated next day on-site servicing and the five-year extended warranty that Stone offered as standard exceeded the schools’ requirements and made selecting Stone as the preferred supplier the clear choice.
More ICT for your money
With an emphasis being placed on pupil’s ICT skills, the three schools wanted to upgrade their dated hardware to create an environment that would allow each school to integrate ICT into all areas of teaching. Mike explains, “With huge advances in technology continually being made and ICT literacy being essential in current times, we feel it is our duty to prepare our pupils at this young age by equipping them with the skills required. At primary level, understanding of how to use a computer, when it is most appropriate to use it and why it is the best tool for a particular task will prove to be extremely beneficial when they move onto the next stage in their education.”
Mike was searching for a supplier that gave the schools the flexibility to accommodate and to as far an extent as possible, future proof themselves against the fast pace of progression in education technology. Mike comments, “A £23,000 hardware upgrade is a significant investment for schools of our size; therefore, it was vital that we selected a supplier that not only offered a high quality product, but also a dedicated on-site support service should we encounter any hardware issues. We needed our chosen contractor to be flexible enough to respond to ever-changing requirements across all three sites.”
The three schools had used Stone previously for earlier, lower-scale ICT investment, but with such a dramatic and unprecedented investment being planned at this point, Mike reassessed what all suppliers had to offer in order to make an informed decision.
After receiving several quotes and taking multiple references, Mike found that Stone were not only delivering high specification hardware for a competitive price but also adding value to the service by including emergency on-site technical maintenance, a five-year extended warranty, unlimited 24-hour telephone support and remote server support as standard.
Mike explains, “We had been using Stone in the past but I wanted to be sure that they were still offering the best hardware and best value. Stone had been providing the three schools with equipment and technical support and it was this support that made Stone stand head and shoulders above the rest. Their dedicated service means that a skilled Stone engineer will be on-site the same or next day and have any issues resolved or the equipment replaced within 24 hours. Stone deliver the whole package and the personalised service has been key in our decision to continue and extend our relationship with them.”
The service across all three sites has provided many benefits for each individual school. If each school had chosen to opt for an independent managed service they could have incurred large maintenance fees. However, through pooling their resources and maximising Stone’s flexible service they have been able to utilise Stone’s skilled engineers across all three locations, with a Senior Engineer at their disposal for any query and technical support, 24 visits per year.
Education market knowledge as a key differentiator
In addition to the exemplary service that they provide, Mike felt Stone’s knowledge of the education market was a significant differentiator. Mike continues, “Stone’s experience in the education sector and years of working closely with schools at all levels of education has given them a greater understanding of the market and a competitive edge. This knowledge and experience has proven to be invaluable to us as Stone immediately understood our needs and what we wanted to achieve and could advise us accordingly.”
As a result of the superior service and the practical experience that Stone has, the three schools jointly purchased 60 Toshiba notebooks and a secure storage trolley.
A successful long-term relationship
The success of the deployment is reflected in the feedback from the students. Mike explains, “The students are enthusiastic about using the laptops and show real engagement with the subjects being taught through the use of ICT. Since implementing Stone’s computers, the students have enjoyed the opportunity to incorporate ICT in all subject areas and have been able to more easily identify the appropriate use of the technology.”
To ensure that the introduction of new hardware would not be a disruptive change to the teachers’ current teaching methods, Mike chose to purchase not only 60 Stone notebooks, but also four Monarch storage trolleys to ensure the equipment was secure and readily available to be safely transported from classroom to classroom. The schools also receive a 24-hour support service from Stone that assists in the continuing maintenance of the equipment.
Since the upgrade, we continue to see the benefits of working with Stone – the most important aspect for us being the positive impact that having the latest technology has had on pupil learning. From as young as four, students are interacting with modern technology, learning skills required to succeed in future education and are able to appreciate ICT as a resource to further their own learning. The team at Stone understand the role that ICT now has in education and continues to be flexible with their offering to suit our schools’ specific needs and budgetary constraints. Their expert knowledge of the education sector, combined with their excellent product range, ensures that Stone remains our first choice ICT provider.