the new revenue stream is finally kicking in

Monetising your school’s ICT facilities

Originally posted on 22 May 2017 Independent schools spend a significant amount of money on ICT facilities both to enhance the learning environment and to ensure the smooth running of the school’s administrative function. Whilst most schools will look to incorporate messages about their ICT facilities into their marketing literature to attract new pupils, there is also the opportunity to leverage ICT to generate income from other sources too.

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valley of forgotten passwords

GDPR – Understanding and Securing your School’s Data

Originally posted on 8 May 2017 I wanted to start by further exploring the importance of understanding what personal data you hold in Independent Schools and where that confidential data is stored. Bear in mind personal data can be as simple as a pupil, teacher or parent’s name or email address. This may sound like an odd topic, as I'm sure many of you are thinking you know exactly where all your schools’ data is held. But do you really?

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any problem working remotely

“Closed Cloud” in Independent Schools

In my recent article, I talked about cloud computing in independent schools, the differences between public cloud and private cloud, and some of the concerns independent schools had about data protection in relation to public cloud solutions.  Interested in finding out about ICT in schools? Take a look at our FREE White Paper to discover more >> Due to these concerns, I am seeing increasing numbers of schools looking to adopt private cloud or indeed "closed cloud" solutions where all data remains in school. So today I thought it would be useful to elaborate on "closed cloud": how it works, what benefits it offers independent schools and how it compares with other types of cloud technology.  Closed cloud uses the same technologies that public and private cloud providers use, but the vital difference is that rather than being hosted at a cloud provider's data centre somewhere in the world, the whole system is physically located in school.  As with private cloud, this necessitates dedicated hardware and thus is more expensive than public cloud. However it has the benefit over both public and private cloud of providing complete assurance around data protection, since all data remains in school at all times. There is also much less reliance on a third party, as although a provider will typically be running and maintaining the system on the school’s behalf, they are not actually hosting the data and therefore should there be a falling out, or indeed a firm ceases trading, there is no vulnerability to the school in terms of their data.  In terms of functionality, a closed cloud solution offered similar benefits to private cloud, including: 

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I blame the network

Cloud Computing in Independent Schools

It's true, the network does seem to get the blame for many things! 

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today, you're going to spend less time

Embedding technology into prep school life

It never ceases to amaze me how much the use of technology in Independent Schools has changed over just a few years. 

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communications are down

When it comes to your network, expect the unexpected!

With Independent Schools becoming increasingly reliant on technology for delivering lessons and running the administrative side of the school, network reliability and resilience is one of the hot topics that I often get asked about by the schools we work with.  Interested in finding out about ICT in the education sector? Take a look at our FREE White Paper >> While many Independent Schools enjoy stunning countryside locations, there can be some pitfalls in terms of technology! Over the years, most schools have bitten the bullet with the "excess construction charges" that BT and similar organisations levy to connect these locations to the Internet. But many schools still suffer from Internet reliability issues. I noticed in the press just this week that Myddelton School which has just opened in North Wales enjoyed a challenging first few days when their Internet circuit was severed, and I know many other schools have been in the same boat over the years, when something as simple as a bad storm took down overhead cables, resulting in a lengthy Internet outage.  And when it's not the great British weather causing havoc, it can be the local wildlife creating chaos, as one school I spoke to recently had found to their detriment. They first became aware of a problem when one building could no longer connect to the network. After much troubleshooting, it was discovered that a local rodent had nibbled through the fibre-optic cable that ran between two buildings!  And of course power problems have been a common cause of downtime for many schools over the years.  Coming from a business background, where there has been a reliance on 'always on' ICT for some years now, I am well versed in ways to overcome these challenges, so I thought it would be useful to share a few pointers:- 

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that's usually not a good sign

Knowledge is power for bursars in independent schools

With technology now intrinsically embedded in pretty much every element of school life, both inside and outside the classroom, the ability to make empowered decisions about the strategic use of ICT within the school has never been more important. The Bursar frequently has the unenviable job of ensuring that the school ICT system simultaneously delivers:  • The best possible learning experience to pupils  • Provides for the smooth running of the administrative side of the school  • Safeguards the pupils  • Complies with all relevant legislation  • Serves to attract new pupils to the school  And he or she also needs to achieve all of this within the confines of a limited budget! 

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he is a creature of the web

Web access in Independent Schools – Protect or Educate?

One of the common themes I get asked about when I visit Independent Schools, is that of web access.  It's one of those areas where many schools find it difficult to get the fine balance right between safeguarding and usability. 

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