George Mitchell School

George Mitchell All Through School

The Challenge

George Mitchell All Through School has funding from the ESFA for a new build Secondary School and a new build Primary School.

The old accommodation consisted of a very old three storeys secondary school, one storey primary school and a one storey nursery school split over three locations. The secondary school also had two remote buildings used for Art and DT.

Each building presented its’ own unique issues in the provision of a stable passive and wireless network infrastructure, with an active and server network comprising of numerous ‘add on’ servers and switches; many of which were redundant and very little documentation about what was controlled by these.

What We Did

We worked closely with the school’s Business Manager and Network Manager to understand the timescales and logistics of a phased move from 5 locations to 2 over a three-and-a-half-year period. This phasing also included the secondary school moving into a two storey temporary accommodation on the school site, whilst their new build was taking place and then the primary school moving in to this temporary accommodation once vacated by the secondary school.

A full survey and assessment of the network infrastructure, servers, switches, user devices, AV and software was required to assist with the building of the new technical solution to serve the All Through School. This had to accommodate the IT requirements not only in the new buildings but also the interim temporary and existing accommodations still being used.

The Outcome

The first phase of delivering the new IT solution was to deliver three new ADSL lines as back up lines into the secondary, primary and nursery schools. Closely followed by a 1GB fibre to the secondary site to be used for the temporary accommodation and the new secondary building, a 500MB fibre to the primary school site for the existing building and then for this to be re-used in the new building and a 1GB LAN extension from the secondary site to the primary site.

The second phase was to ensure that the existing IT solution was maintained prior to the secondary school being decanted from the old accommodation to the temporary accommodation and before the switchover to the new domain in readiness for the move to the new secondary building. This also meant maintaining the connectivity and services for the primary school when moving from their existing building to the temporary accommodation and subsequently to their new building. In addition, we improved the connectivity to the existing nursery school by installing a point to point wireless on the roof of the new secondary building and the existing nursery.

Concurrently, once the assessment of the user devices, software and AV was completed, the new equipment for all three schools was introduced and with an associated CPD/Training plan agreed with the school, to ensure that the staff had the opportunity to use the new equipment to its’ full potential.

The current status is that the secondary school has successfully moved into the new building, the primary school into their temporary accommodation on the secondary school site and the nursery remains in its’ existing building. All have an excellent IT infrastructure, which is much improved from the original and educationally they make much more use of mobile technologies. In addition to this project, Gaia also improved the passive infrastructure to an existing outbuilding and installed an iMac suite with AV for the Arts Faculty.

In the last phase during the summer 2018, Gaia will decant the IT and AV solutions from the temporary building occupied by the primary school, into their newly built school. At this time, the nursery school will join the primary school in the new building.

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