Barking Abbey school was founded in 1922 as one of the first co-educational grammar schools in England. In 1970, Barking Abbey Grammar School was merged with Park Modern School to form what has now become ‘Barking Abbey School: A Specialist Sports and Humanities College’.
It is a mixed school of approximately 2,000 pupils supported by around 260 staff, and it also has a very large Sixth Form of over 600 students.
The school has won a large number of awards and its motto is “Barking Abbey School is a place where everyone gives and expects the best and where everyone can say, “I belong”.
Paul Leake is Head of Operations for the school and when he took over his current role he inherited a nine year old network estate with around 1000 PCs that were fast approaching their use by date.
“The main issue for staff and pupils was the technology was very slow,” said Paul. “It was frustrating for everyone, but our main concern was that logging on was eating into valuable lesson time. Sometimes it could take up to 15 minutes to get online which was obviously not acceptable.”
An urgent overview was needed, and so Paul approached the Head, the Board of Governors and the Business Manager who were all in full agreement that something had to be done to resolve the issue. Paul adds: “The upgrade needed was significant and when we looked at the usual suspects such as HP and Dell we were concerned about the cost implications. However, as we had met Stone representatives at trade shows and on the recommendation from another school in the borough, we approached them to ask if they could help.”
The school needed around 1000 new PCs and 500 new laptops. Stone put forward an innovative solution which allowed the school to lease the equipment it needed. We also suggested the school used Stone’s own brand which offers the same high specification of more well-known brands but at a more affordable price.
“We did – and continue to – put our order through a competitive tender process, however, to date, Stone has always offered the best deal,” said Paul.
“The great thing about using Stone equipment is that they are built to order. We have been able to lease the kit on a three-year lease with the desktop PCs offering a five-year warranty. This means that after the lease is up we can keep the PCs for a further two years with complete peace of mind.
“Simply because the laptops have more wear and tear, we tend to give them back at the end of the lease period and start the process again.”
The school is using the Stone PC Lite, a versatile, compact desktop device designed for learning environments where space is limited. Although small footprint, the StonePC Lite offers consistently high-performance with up to 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. This means Barking Abbey has the equipment that is flexible and powerful enough for any learning spaces and user requirements.
Stone also supplied Barking Abbey with Stonebook Pro devices, completely customisable notebooks with a huge range of professional features in a sophisticated chassis. Like all Stone devices, the Stonebook Pro has faced rigorous heat and stress tests, meaning the school can have peace of mind that their new investments are future-proof and built to last.
The school has tended to order the new equipment in batches of 300, and when it first started the process, the Stone team came in to the school to help with the installation. “Having such a huge number of PCs to set up was initially not feasible for our small in-house team,” adds Paul. “However, Stone obviously have this type of installation down to a fine art and thanks to their advice we can now do our own installations. It tends to keep us busy during the summer holidays!”
Despite supplying 1500 pieces of kit so far, this is still an ongoing process for the school and Paul and his team evaluate the needs of pupils and staff every year.
“Barking Abbey is a popular school and is continuing to grow,” explains Paul. “We have recently had a major expansion with three new buildings and a lot of internal refurbishment being carried out. Stone is currently getting another large order ready for us.”
Paul says that between the Barking Abbey and Stone teams they have developed what is a very slick operation. “We can now complete the order and installation very efficiently,” he said. “We are totally happy with Stone’s equipment, support, service and advice and best of all our students and teachers have seen a dramatic improvement in their user experience.”