Three Challenges Independent Schools Will Face in 2022

The last two years have been a challenging time for all schools, the sudden need to have a flexible workforce and a large online presence doesn’t come without its challenges, especially when your ‘workforce’ isn’t just employees it’s also hundreds of students all requiring an all-encompassing online workplace. Whilst it seems highly unlikely independent schools will have to close their doors again it’s clear that covid-19 has left a shadow of changes that are here to stay.

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Why top tier wifi should be the goal of all independent schools

In a recent survey by Gartner, seventy-four percent of CFOs agreed that they will pursue some form of remote working strategy in the future, even after the Coronavirus pandemic is over. Twitter has told all its employees they can work from home indefinitely. Most of the so-called ‘Big Four’ have also suggested that home working could become a major feature of their workforce policy from now onward.

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children in school

e-Learning: A Burden or an Opportunity?

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2021 edition of "The Bursar's Review" a magazine published by the Independent Schools' Bursars Association, published in March 2021. To view the original article, please follow this link.

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remote learning

Microsoft v Google: Which is best for your independent school?

They are two of the biggest names in the business. Microsoft and Google have been the cornerstone of business software for decades, and in recent years they have turned their attention to the classroom. With education becoming increasingly reliant on the digital world, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts schooling. If they haven’t already, independent schools across the country are turning to online e-learning tools to maintain their high teaching standards despite the disturbances of Covid-19. That leaves them with an important question, one that crosses the minds of every school looking to expand their teaching online: Microsoft or Google?

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Child learning at a laptop

Teaching in the 'new normal'

Across the world, schools are having to adjust to an unprecedented change to their operations. Unlike workplaces, which have been able to impose rigorous social distancing measures through the ability to work from home, schools were expected to return to full capacity in September. Of course, it is right that pupils return to school, as numerous studies have highlighted the long-term damage of a stunted education. However, returning to school in the midst of a pandemic does mean schools must adjust to this ‘new normal’ in record time, whilst also minimising disruption.

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what we really need in IT is someone who has super power

Why every Independent School needs a Super Hero!

Originally posted on 12 December 2016

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the network went down when someone stepped on a crack in the sidewalk

How would your Independent School cope with 22 hours of ICT Downtime?

Originally posted on 12 June 2017 In the wake of British Airways catastrophic IT Failure which left so many passengers stranded at airports at the start of half term, I thought it would be timely today to talk about disaster recovery. As anyone who has ever experienced network downtime will know, it is amazing how crippling an ICT system failure is to a school, and how far reaching the consequences can be. Not only does an outage create classroom and administrative operational chaos, it can also have serious consequences for the school’s reputation, particularly where there is loss of critical data such as pupils’ coursework, or a breach of security around confidential pupil data. Interested in finding out how educateIT could help improve your schools disaster recovery? Download our FREE White Paper >> Whilst many schools I talk to tend to associate ICT downtime with large events such as fires or floods, the reality is that the majority of ICT downtime has much more mundane causes which can include hardware failures, loss of power, cyber security breaches (such as ransomware attacks) and software failures. And in many cases the downtime is considerable, with the EMC Global Data Protection Index 2016 study showing that the average length of unplanned downtime was 22 hours. Indeed the situation seems to be worsening this year, with ICT downtime caused by ransomware attacks in particular often running into a week or more. And while many of us can work around a short system outage, when such outages are extending into days or even weeks there can be a serious impact on the school’s operations and reputation. As such, it is critical that the senior leadership team have a thorough understanding of their risk management processes and contingency procedures around network resilience, backups and disaster recovery. So is it enough to have a disaster recovery plan? Sadly I fear not. I’m sure BA had a disaster recovery plan, but how well did it work when it was used in anger? For many schools, I find the disaster recovery plan that was put together some years ago and has sat in the fireproof safe ever since, without testing or updating. My experience is that this document needs to be constantly evolving, as our use of technology in education has moved on apace, and what was an acceptable recovery plan a couple of years ago may now be totally inadequate. In addition, our systems are constantly changing, with software updates and security fixes being installed on a regular basis, all of which can impact on the technical success of a recovery. In order to ensure ongoing relevance, I always recommend that schools continually re-assess and test their plans around resilience, backup and disaster recovery, against the operational needs of their school and their changing use of technology. Some points to consider would include:-

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