School ICT News Bulletin No. 244 - 17/12/2014

Published by ICT Shared Services


ICT Shared Services service quality during the Autumn term

In June we told you about the changes we were making to our structure which were designed to improve customer service. Unfortunately the re-structure combined with excessive demands on support from within NCC, schools and our other partners has severely impacted on the availability of the Service Desk, response times and overall service delivery at peak periods this term. In October and November requests for assistance were double the normal trends.

We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused and to give some assurances that posts are now filled and supplemented by additional support to cover the additional levels in demand.

On the Service Desk four staff are fully trained on schools‘ services and dedicated to schools’ calls.  Other Service Desk staff are also being trained on school services as additional cover for peak periods.

We are now focusing on service improvement and quality and have implemented improved processes with our new posts supporting change management and problem management. We are reviewing customer feedback from a number of sources, visits, meetings with Heads and the Services for Schools survey monkey and will update you on progress with this in the new year.

 

 

Author: ICT Shared Services

 

Update on Smoothwall Filtering and Google

You may have received a communication from E2BN regarding changes being made by Google that could affect what can and can’t be searched for in schools.  This is to assure you that we are already in communication with BT to ensure that Safe Search and YouTube safety mode continue to be enforced following this change from Google.

This means that for schools using broadband from ICT Shared Services, there is no need to take any further action and the current levels of e-safety with using Google and YouTube will be maintained through January and beyond.  Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused or for any undue concern you may have had following the email received from E2BN.  We will, of course, always be happy to answer any questions and deal with any concerns you have around e-safety in schools.  In addition, schools can always access the E-Safety Toolkit while further information regarding Smoothwall filtering is available on our website

 

Author: ICT Shared Services

 

Digital Norfolk Ambition - DNA

Lower priced devices

Norfolk has successfully been accepted by Microsoft into the Technology Access Programme (previously known as Shape The Future) This programme is the mechanism for delivering lower priced devices. This means that Microsoft minimises the cost of the top version of Windows which makes a significant difference in the overall price.

Since June we had been working with HP to finalise a new HP device offering. This had taken longer than anticipated to agree due to ensuring that pricing was competitive with other framework suppliers. The final steps are to complete the contractual change and backend process with HP which are now part of contract management discussions.

In the meantime our existing suppliers Ergo, Stone and Dell have already applied the Microsoft Technology Access Programme and their current pricing has reduced to reflect this.

Whilst the Technology Access Programme is designed to support a 1:1 device approach. Schools and academies are able to purchase any number of curriculum and admin devices based on the Technology Access Programme pricing model.

More information about Microsoft Technology Access Programme is available on our website here

 

Microsoft Office 365

We have been working with Microsoft to add Office 365 as an option via the Norfolk Cloud Portal as well as making available options for schools that prefer to have Office 365 via an active directory solution.

The Norfolk Cloud Portal version also means that schools will be able to use both Microsoft and Google Apps but will need to select one as their email solution. The nsix.org email accounts will remain the same and will continue to give all staff and pupils access to the other learning resources in the Norfolk Cloud Portal.

We are also reviewing new licencing models for Office 365 web apps and client software  models with our suppliers.

We aim for this to be in place for April 14. We will soon be asking schools to be involved in a pilot for this in the January.

 

Author: ICT Shared Services

 

Working with other ICT education providers

 

Apple Education event in September

Apple Education held events in Norwich - Norfolk Leadership Summit in September as well as a slightly more technical event in October.  Both were well attended by many teachers across all sectors. The event was designed to support school staff to get the most out of their investment in ipads.

Apple Education are working with ICT Shared Services and NIEAS to explore more opportunities to demonstrate how Apple services can support learning.

Similarly we continue to work with Google Education.

Our approach is to offer a range of products and services with information to support your choice of suitable solutions for your particular learning objectives.

                                                                                                               

ICT Shared Services would like to thank you for your custom over the last year and wish all of you a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2015.

 

Author: ICT Shared Services

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