Leigh Technology Academy

The Leigh Academy is one of the highest achieving state comprehensive schools in England

The Challenge

In September 2007, The Leigh City Technology College became The Leigh Technology Academy. In January 2008, the Academy occupied the new state of the art buildings which allows them to continue to deliver the ground breaking model of education.

Gaia was selected to help the Academy deliver its ICT Project. The Leigh is one of the highest achieving state comprehensive schools in England and wants to become the best – a centre of excellence for education.

The Academy consists of four Colleges, each with its own Principal. The smaller schools within the Academy, develop deeper relationships and lay stronger foundations for learning which underpin outstanding achievement. The Academy offers three specialisms – Business and Enterprise, Sports and Technology. The Academy also has a national reputation for innovation, research and development.

What We Did

Gaia worked closely with the Academy to implement a wireless cloud to enable Anywhere Learning.

Over 70 Wireless Access Points were distributed in key locations of the building to enable students to securely roam without interruption in and around the building and regardless of the number of simultaneous student connections tothe wireless network. This discreet use of ICT has been a major contributory factor in the school’s increasing levels of attainment.

The Outcome

The progress of the construction project dictated that parts of the old campus would continue to be used for administration and teaching. It was therefore necessary to establish a link between the new Academy building and the old Campus. The link needed to be a reliable under all weather conditions. Also connectivity needed to run at sufficiently high speed to enable heavy data, voice and media traffic. Using its long experience in wireless technology Gaia designed and implemented a 70/80Ghz radio link between the buildings which comfortably delivered a 1.2Gbps high quality data and voice link. Users in the old Campus are served using the new infrastructure across the road.

Gaia worked closely with the Academy to design the state of the art LAN infrastructure. As a leading Cisco Partner, Gaia helped the Academy design and implement a Cisco based infrastructure that would protect their investments for many years to come. The design involved two 10Gbps linked 6509 switches acting as a Core and linked up to 48 Cisco 3650 Switches with teamed up 4Gbps fibre SFP in 6 distribution zones around the Academy.

Gaia worked with the Academy to design and implement a telephony system that is based on Cisco VoIP Call Manager and Unity. Gaia needed to upgrade the existing system that the Academy operated and migrate its functionality to the new system. The migration included new lines, PBX, Voice Mail, and Handsets including wireless based ones. Cisco Unified Communications Manager provides voice, video, mobility, and presence services for up to 60,000 users. The system is a scalable, distributable, and highly available enterprise-class IP telephony call-processing system.

The Academy has chosen to use Apple devices. Nearly 1,000 iMacs have been deployed in the Academy. That is an average of one computer for every 1.2 students. This all-new, all-in-one iMac packs a complete, high performance computer into a beautifully thin design incorporating 20-inch widescreen. It includes built-in wireless, the new Mac OS Leopard and the new iLife ’08. The new iMac will allow the students to do everything from sharing photos to creating movies to building websites. To complete the picture, Gaia also helped the Academy specify the Apple MacBook as the portable device for students and teachers. Over 300 MacBooks have been deployed throughout the Academy using secure Apple trolleys. A special education pricing deal with Apple, meant that the Academy was able to maximise their budget.

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