Networking and Telecommunications Case Study
South Tyneside Council’s ICT in Schools Team support 53 nursery, primary, special, and secondary schools in South Tyneside. The team provide a range of technical and curriculum support services, ranging from ICT LAN support and school websites to e-safety and curriculum resources.
For several years South Tyneside school’s broadband and filtering services were provided via a contract the Schools in ICT Team had with BT Global. However, in 2016 this contract was due for renewal and the team took the opportunity to revisit provision to ensure best value and quality of service for their schools.
As part of their investigative soft market testing work the team met with several suppliers in order to understand the options available. We were invited into this stage of the process and were able share their knowledge, learning and experience from work with other schools, academies public sector organisations.
We quickly realised that under the BT Global contract many schools in South Tyneside were running on old technology such as ASDL and that new technologies such as leased lines were available and could help schools realise cost savings whilst also providing a speedier, more reliable service.
Only two suppliers made it to the final presentation stage of the tender process: BT Global and ourselves. Presentations were given to the ICT in Schools Team Strategic Management and Head Teachers from across the 53 schools. Whilst BT Global delivered a good presentation, the Schools in ICT Team and Head Teachers were impressed by our flexibility, quality, cost, scalability, and public sector ethos and in 2016, after several years of being with BT Global, South Tyneside Council awarded their schools broadband and filtering contract to us.
Our proposal to South Tyneside schools was a future proof, fully resilient, discreate network from which schools benefited with leased line provision (speeds of 10Mbps – 1G). The proposal also included robust firewalling and a centralised Smoothwall filtering solution which complied with all Ofsted requirements.
We have successfully delivered broadband and filtering services with South Tyneside’s Schools in ICT Team to all 53 schools for three years now and throughout that time schools have benefited from substantial cost savings and vastly improved reliability and internet speeds. As a result of the great service provided the Schools ICT Team and Head Teachers have extended our contract which will now run until 2023.
Following on from the success of the broadband and filtering service, we are working with the South Tyneside team to provide Mitel telephony solutions to their schools. Several schools have already transitioned seamlessly to Durham’s solution and have yet again, realised significant cost savings and benefited from an improved quality of service.
We have developed an excellent relationship with South Tyneside Council’s Schools in ICT Team. This partnership arrangement is based on flexibility and transparency. As public sector organisations, both realise the enormous pressure facing schools budgets and work collaboratively to achieve best value to ensure school funds can be spent on delivering outstanding education to children and young people.