Oakbank School

Simplifying school systems

Oakbank is a secondary free school in West Wokingham, near Reading. Since opening in September 2012, it had grown organically to over 400 students, and needed to update its IT systems accordingly.

The school’s IT & Network Manager, Vince Lagdon, visited the 2016 Bett Show in London, which showcases the use of IT in education, in search of a new provider. He spoke to Blue Sky Systems and explained what the school was after.

Protection and support

“I wanted a more standard Microsoft system for the school, backed by both remote and local support. Blue Sky Systems rationalised the virtual server farm and put in an online back-up system so we have a disaster recovery plan, which we never had before. Previously, the back-ups were running to a machine directly below the servers, so if there was a fire or a flood we were in real trouble!

“They unified and simplified all our desktop PCs, laptops and iPads, bumped up the memory on the main servers and helped out with ISP issues. Because they can remotely access our system, they don’t need to come on site often, but if I do need them here, they’re always willing to visit. All of their people know exactly what’s here and what’s going on.

Blue Sky Systems is far more flexible than our previous supplier, who were too big and didn’t know my site.

Supporting local apprentices

“We’ve also taken on an apprentice, employed by Blue Sky Systems through a locally-based company. Tom is on a structured, year-long apprenticeship, including six weeks of off-site training. The rest of the time he’s permanently employed at Oakbank.

“It’s working extremely well, and Tom has slotted straight in. He’s built a relationship with Blue Sky Systems, so if there’s an issue he deals with it and reports how it’s been resolved. It’s even meant that I felt comfortable enough to take half term off, which I ordinarily wouldn’t do.

“Blue Sky Systems were clear from the start that everything had to be done properly, and I’m very, very pleased.”

What we did

We carried out a complete IT re-design, bought new hardware and provide ongoing support for over 150 pieces of IT equipment – all on a very tight budget. Additionally, we employed an apprentice, providing much-needed IT support for the school and offering a vocational role to a young local person.