Holly Lodge High School College of Science, Smethwick, West Midlands
Virtue helps Holly Lodge School improve ICT access for students
The Solution deployed?
When they wanted to enable any time, any where learning via a single sign-on for their students, the Team at Holly Lodge approached several potential suppliers. Here’s why they chose Virtue Technologies...
Completed On Time
& In Budget
I know that as we continue to grow and enhance the platform that Virtue have the skills and experience to provide us with all the support we need
About Holly Lodge
Holly Lodge High School College of Science is located in Smethwick, West Midlands. With 1,500 students, aged 11-18, the co-educational school aims to provide each of their students with a diverse education through a wealth of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities, in a safe, supportive environment.
The Holly Lodge Science College promotes self-discipline, motivation, and excellence in learning. They work with the parents and community to help their students to develop the skills they need to become independent and self-sufficient adults, contributing responsibly in a global community.
Creating a Seamless User Experience
In 2009, Holly Lodge took advantage of a central government scheme that provided free laptops to children. This enabled their students to have shared use of 300 of them. To maximise the potential of this new investment and to ensure that accessing applications and work was as straightforward as possible, the school was keen to provide a single point of entry for all ICT use. Holly Lodge wanted to provide the same experience for a student logging on at home, as in the classroom. Essentially, they wanted students to have the same personalised desktop, data and network shares, irrespective of the device or location.
After looking at a number of suppliers, Holly Lodge’s Leadership and IT Teams weren’t impressed with the technological solutions they were offering. Holly Lodge had concerns about these potential IT providers understanding of the problem as well as their capability to provide a cost-effective solution.
“We had looked at a number of suppliers and the technological solutions they offered but were not impressed with either their understanding of the problem or their capability to provide a cost-effective solution. But eventually we were approached by Virtue who promised to help us find the right platform that would support our access requirements.”
Pete Chatwin, Network Manager,
Holly Lodge High School College of Science
After they’d almost given up searching for a provider, they were approached by Virtue at an event. We promised to help them find the right platform to support their access requirements.
Holly Lodge's Network Manager, Pete Chatwin, states "I was very impressed with Virtue right from the initial meeting. They demonstrated an understanding of our requirements and budget from the outset. I’ve never had an IT provider that works the way Virtue do. I was really impressed that they wanted to collaborate and work with us to design and implement the solution, it meant we could ensure it was perfect for us. Virtue have proved that they’ve got the skills and experience to provide us with all the support we need.”
Virtue Technologies have many years’ experience of helping secondary schools successfully implement and manage complex ICT solutions. By working in partnership with the school, we've build a quality relationship that'll help them to achieve their ICT objectives.
Holly Lodge Network Manager, Pete Chatwin, felt that the best way to ensure their students could maximise the potential of their new laptop investment was to provide a single point of entry for all ICT use. They wanted usage for staff and students to be seamless, and provide the same experience whether they were working in the classroom or at home.
When we were initially scoping out a solution for Holly Lodge, we looked at the Sun Secure Global Desktop platform. However, we soon realised this would prove too costly to implement at Holly Lodge. After further discussions with IT Lead Pete, we realised that their existing licensing arrangements already gave them access to Microsoft Terminal Services. With alterations to the configuration, this would provide all the functionality they required.
Microsoft Terminal Services
Terminal Services Gateway (TS Gateway) is software that enables school users to access their resources securely via any internet connected device, subject to staff and students having the appropriate school security permissions. It makes a secure, encrypted connection between the remote user on the internet and the school’s internal applications, resources and student’s own files and folders.
Building a Platform for Growth
To further support the changes, Virtue’s technical team configured and installed Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server.
This integrated security solution helps protect their school network from internet-based threats, while also providing the system users with fast and secure remote access.
The system went live late in 2009, and Holly Lodge students began enjoying and embracing the benefits just a few months later. They were quickly able to work seamlessly between work and home, enabling more teachers to adopt a flipped learning model.
“The entire solution provides us with a greatly improved device experience. We've been able to securely provide all our network resources through Terminal Services Gateway. This means that everything is the same for the students irrespective of where they log on. They enter the same user name and password and then they can save work and access the applications they need, at home or at school.”
Pete Chatwin, Network Manager,
Holly Lodge High School, College of Science
Holly Lodge increased the number of students making use of this service during 2010 and their Network Manager Pete is sure that Virtue will be able to continue to support them as their requirements increase.
Our expertise enabled us to deliver this solution:
- Translating the requirements and needs of Holly Lodge’s Senior Leadership Team into a technical solution, which has enabled them to enhance the way their students learn
- Through an engineer who specialises in this area, rather than a generalist
- Via a schedule, defined with Holly Lodge. Our experience in education means we understood we had to be on-time and work around their school needs and holidays
- With no hidden or extra costs, we provided fixed cost pricing for this project Virtue
Investment in ICT offers schools’ a cost-effective way of providing students with a rich and varied learning environment. In particular, improvements in technology have reduced the complexity and cost of delivering remote access to programmes and work for both students and staff when they are away from the school premises.
Here at Virtue Technologies, we’ve had many years’ experience of helping secondary schools successfully implement and manage complex ICT solutions. We work in partnership with the school, and build quality relationships in order to understand objectives and how to achieve them.
We believe an investment in ICT offers schools’ a cost-effective way of providing students with a rich and varied learning environment. Improvements in technology have reduced the complexity and cost of delivering remote access to programmes and work for both students and staff, even when they’re away from the school premises.
This, in turn, provides opportunities for students to enhance their own learning and take it beyond the classroom. Holly Lodge seized the opportunity to enable students to learn from anywhere and adopt their own learning styles, making them more prepared for the world of work when problem solving, or equally developing their self-study skills for further education.
“The entire solution provides a greatly improved experience. We’ve been able to securely provide all the network resources through Terminal Services Gateway. This means that everything is the same for the students irrespective of where they log on. They enter the same user name and password and can save work and access all the applications they need, at home or at school.”
Pete Challinor, Senior Engineer, Virtue Technologies