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LONDON-based Ashmole Academy is an extremely popular school choice for families in the Southgate N14 area. Ofsted describes the school as “outstanding”. Its 1,782 pupils are taught by a staff of 110 who bring vision, energy, very high expectations, and enthusiasm to their work.

To maintain the school’s high standards, the management team were keen to ensure that both staff and pupils have the latest facilities and resources to hand. IT played a significant role in this.  Damian Hustyn, the IT and Network Manager, along with a team of five are responsible for the technology across the academy.

The Challenge

Ashmole Academy had an ageing IT infrastructure. “Much of the equipment we had was coming up to ten years old and reaching end of life,” Damian stated. “The old desktops struggled to keep up with our modern interactive boards and staff were frustrated at the time it was taking to log on and start teaching a lesson.”

The old equipment often required the attention of the IT team, which took up a lot of their time.  Furthermore, the Windows operating system on these machines needed to be upgraded to Windows 10. Ashmole Academy took the decision to do an IT refresh: “Ashmole Academy wanted a system that was not only future proof in the classroom, but it also had to be excellent quality and easy to use for our teaching staff, admin staff and pupils,” said Damian.  “We wanted great quality for what was a significant investment for the school.”

“Much of the equipment we had was coming up to ten years old and reaching end of life.”

Damian Hustyn – IT and Network Manager

We really liked how Stone Group were so proactive compared to their competitors

Ashmole Academy

Stone Helps

Although Damian had not worked with Stone before, a colleague had, and so Stone was included in the tendering process. “It was apparent from the start that Stone Group’s customer service was far superior to the other companies we asked to quote,” said Damian. “For the others, it was a case of ticking boxes and giving us a figure, however, Stone Account Managers went over and above the remit.”

Stone Group met with Damian and his team to better understand the schools needs and requirements.  They discussed the options available and brought various devices into the Academy for Damian and his team to look at and use so they could get a feel of product and how it would fit in the school environment.

“We really liked how Stone Group were so proactive compared to their competitors,” added Damian. “It was refreshing to see their emphasis on customer service.”

“It was apparent from the start that Stone Group’s customer service was far superior to the other companies we asked to quote.”

Damian Hustyn – IT and Network Manager

  • Identifying Issues

    To properly assess Ashmole Academy’s needs, Stone collaborated with them and tested a variety of devices.  This helped establish which devices would ensure that their requirements were met.

    The main priority was to ensure that the devices were as future-proof as possible.  Ashmole wanted to ensure that every teacher had a laptop, so they were free to work from anywhere.  As well as needing the devices to be modern, mobile, and robust.

Refining The Solution

Many members of staff utilise the interactive pen and “write on screen” features of their laptops; this allows them to present material without having to go up to the board. Stone assessed this requirement and recommended appropriate hardware: teachers were issued with Lenovo and HP notebooks, depending upon their individual requirements.

In addition, the IT Team wanted to ensure that teachers could seamlessly connect their devices to the school’s network.  The addition of Lenovo docking stations provided the solution to this.

Stone equipped Ashmole Academy’s premises with the latest technology.  In addition, 412 Stone PC Minis were installed in computer suites and offices for the benefit of both staff and students.

The software and devices work seamlessly. Staff appreciate that logins are no longer required; they also found the ability to use their laptops at home extremely beneficial during Lockdown.

The school has found that the new technology had

“enabled education everywhere”.

The Deputy Head of School stated,

“We would not go back now”.

“It was refreshing to see their emphasis on customer service.”

Damian Hustyn – IT and Network Manager

  • Delivering the Solutions

    Stone understood that the device rollout was required to be done in stages in, and so ensured that equipment was shipped out as when it was needed.  This was extremely beneficial to Ashmole Academy, as without this managed delivery, it would have been much more difficult to keep all the equipment safe and secure.

    In addition, Ashmole Academy used Stone’s leading edge e-waste recycling services to collect its old equipment; this enabled the academy to get a rebate on their redundant kit which contributed to its purchase of a new media workstation.

    Stone worked with Ashmole to arrange a collection date that would suit the school’s needs; this was co-ordinated with delivery of the new equipment which occurred over a space of several months.

    Stone’s expertise also ensured that data on the old machines was completely removed, using Blancco; data-wiping software which meets Ministry of Defence standards.

    The whole IT refresh project was done on a lease option. Ashmole Academy generally doesn’t lease, but Stone’s flexible financing enabled Ashmole to spread the cost of the whole project over several years.

After-Sales Care

While Ashmole prides itself on its technical expertise, after-sales care remains extremely important to the academy.  Stone was pro-active, taking the time and trouble to provide the best advice possible. Ashmole appreciated Stone’s customer service.

All laptops came with a comprehensive 3-year warranty; Stone’s PCs have a 5-year warranty. Stone has a repair centre and can deal with all maintenance needs. Stone also provides named representatives to ensure continuity of service.  Ashmole has noted that it’s clear that Stone is building a long-term partnership with their institution. Already, discussions are underway regarding a server refresh project, both on premises and in the cloud.

“We would not go back now”

Ashmole AcademyDeputy Head

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