Girls’ Day School Trust
The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the leading network of independent girls’ schools in the UK, educating approximately 8% of all girls in independent education across 24 GDST schools and two academies throughout England and Wales.
Mission Possible: Connectivity as the enabler for change
The GDST achieves exceptional levels of academic achievement over a large cohort of students and is publicly committed to investing in areas such as ICT, facilities and forward-thinking educational initiatives. In support of this, and as part of the Trust’s mission to become a progressive and technically astute organisation, it embarked on an ambitious IT project to significantly enhance the connectivity infrastructure across the entirety of its schools and academies.
Putting its ‘Trust’ in Timico
After a detailed review of the market, the GDST selected Timico to complete the project – the biggest it has ever undertaken. Using its expertise and knowledge of providing connectivity across multiple locations, Timico equipped all 26 schools and academies throughout 42 locations with resilient fibre connectivity and a hosted Cisco Unified Communications system – significantly improving the Trust’s connectivity and communication services.
Using a fully-managed Private Wide Area Network, IP telephony and hosting services, Timico created, specified, designed and rolled out the ambitious project on time and to budget in a matter of months, ready for the new school year in September 2013.
Technology at the Heart of Education
Rolling out tablet computers, making use of webinars from specialist teachers across the whole organisation, and increasing remote and interactive learning are all among the GDST’s plans to revolutionise the way that technology is used in its classrooms, all of which would be supported by the new advanced IT infrastructure.
Richard Martin, Head of ICT at the Girls’ Day School Trust, said: “Technology is moving at an incredible pace, so it’s imperative that we have our finger on the pulse in order to pass on the necessary knowledge and skills to our students before they enter higher education or the job market – and equip our teachers with the facilities to do so.”
“Ultimately, we want to harness technology to help us provide the best possible education for our students and this is what the Timico solution has enabled us to do.”
The Power of the Network
Since the move to a fully-managed service, the Trust has seen significant improvements in service management – from fewer calls into the central ICT helpdesk to a positive impact on delivery against SLAs. A more resilient, scalable network has also enabled the GDST to consider and realise further enhancements to its ICT offering, from video conferencing to off-site data storage.
Richard continued: “Being one step ahead of expectations is an important part of our culture and from an ICT perspective it’s all about the power of the network enabling you to do things in a more efficient and technologically advanced way.”
“With the stable, fully-managed infrastructure now firmly in place and ‘business as usual’ ICT operating in our schools with very little intervention, we now have the breathing space to develop and innovate even further. Cloud-based learning and immersive 3D are two hugely exciting trends we are keen to pursue – and we are now able to do that with ease.”
Looking to the Future
Andrew Fox, Director of Managed Networks and Connectivity at Timico, added: “The GDST has big plans for the future, so needed a completely flexible solution which was responsive to change yet solid and dependable. The GDST has a fantastically rich heritage, so it’s been really exciting for us to support the Trust in this phase of its development. The implications this technology could have for the future of education are fascinating and we are excited to be a part of it.”