SCHOOL ICT NEWS BULLETIN No 120 - 29/02/2008

Published by Children’s Services


Norfolk Schools Internet eXchange (NSIX) Upgrades

Proxy and Filtering service

All primary schools were notified in eBulletin No. 117 dated 17/12/2007 of the intention to migrate their internet content filtering service and proxy service to the system currently being used by Norfolk high schools. A group of primary schools are currently in a pilot phase of the service and it is anticipated that a staggered roll–out will commence in early March 2008. We will advise each school of the date we would like to migrate them to this new service.

What does this mean for my school?

The new service comes with the following benefits:

  • Greater proxy capacity to meet your increased Internet usage and your expectation of fast and reliable access to Internet applications, such as, the Netmedia learning platform and Pearson–Phoenix e1 Management Information System (MIS)
  • Better support for multimedia Internet content such as streaming audio and video
  • More content filtering categories to increase safety and reduce surprises
  • Continued product support – the Symantec Web Security product is nearing its end–of–life and the migration to the Bluecoat product will guarantee service continuity
  • Dynamic Real Time Rating (DRTR) for secondary and primary schools. DRTR assesses a web page before it is served to the end–user and denies it if it is not previously categorised by Bluecoat and / or does not contain sufficient information for it to be allocated a category.

Email service for head, office, ictc and chairofgov accounts

The Exchange 2007 email service is currently being configured and information packs regarding the changes you need to be aware of are currently being compiled. A staggered roll–out should commence in April 2008 and we will advise each school of the date we would like to migrate them to the new email service.

Some of the benefits include

  • Improved spam and email virus protection
  • Shareable calendar
  • Out of office assistant
  • Tasks
  • 300mb storage space (a 15x increase)
  • Full functionality web access

Please note: Individual pupil and staff RM EasyMail Plus accounts are not affected at this point.

Author: Mark Carway

Getting the most from E2BN: free training opportunity for all schools

The East of England Broadband Network (E2BN) would like to offer your school the opportunity to take advantage of a series of free workshops being held at venues around the region. All teachers and support staff in primary, middle, upper, high and special schools within the E2BN region are eligible to take part in these workshops.

The sessions will be focused on making schools more aware of the freely available content which E2BN has created for educational use. The programme will also include an opportunity to become familiar with the wide range of resources available to schools via the National Education Network (NEN). For instance, you may not be aware that E2BN has created a gallery of high–quality images and video clips which is freely available to schools, that West Midlands Net has produced a site looking at Climate Change, that Cumbria and Lancashire has developed a resource to support teachers wishing to work with animation and that E2BN is putting together a free online resource to support the development of students’ thinking and discussion skills.

Please visit our website for more information and details on how to book.

Author: Amanda Carr

Training Courses

Details of our training courses for the next academic year are now available on the ICT Solutions website. These include Phoenix Gold Assessment Manager Data Entry, the popular course that helps schools with recording assessment results and sending their returns. We are also offering training workshops for the Annual Update ("Rollover"), with one course specifically for e1 users, and a different course for Phoenix Gold users. Please take care to book the correct course.

To see our full range of courses, find out costs and/or book a course, please see the ICT Solutions website; from the sidebar select Training Services – Book a Training Course, or select the following link: http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk/training/booking/

Author: Amanda Carr

Assessment Resources 2007/2008 for e1

Updated resources for KS1, KS2 KS3 are already available. Help sheets will be available after Easter

Author: Jay Zelos

Assessment Resources 2007/2008 for Phoenix Gold

Updated resources for the forthcoming assessment series for KS1,KS2,KS3 are now available to download from our website.

Resources for FSP and QCA Assessments will be also be uploaded onto this site as and when they are received.

The processes for importing these resources are the same as in previous years, however revised documents will be uploaded as and when they have been updated to reflect the new Academic Year.

Author: Jay Zelos

e1 Upgrade Delayed

Pearson Phoenix have notified ICT Solutions (ICTS) that the upgrade scheduled for 28th February is to be delayed by one week . It will now take place on Thursday 6th March – again from 5pm.

The reasons are two–fold:

  1. This is a very large upgrade with well over 200 enhancements/improvements; many quite complex. Pearson Phoenix want to be confident that all areas are thoroughly tested, and feel that they should take a little more time to do this.
  2. In addition, we are advised that there needs to be some work on the e1 server in Leeds, not major, but necessitating taking down the system for a while. This work cannot be done before next week.

To clarify, then:

There will be no software upgrade on Thursday 28th but instead on 6th March – again from 5pm.

The Release notes will be published as soon as they have been confirmed and made available to ICTS.

Author: Jay Zelos

Heartsease Node Move

Easter Downtime

The Heartsease Node is being moved to the professional development centre at Woodside. This will result in some Internet downtime over the Easter period for schools connected to this Node. The planned dates are 31st March to the 2nd April inclusive. There may also be a very brief outage before core hours on Tuesday the 25th of March while a UPS is moved.

Schools Affected

The schools affected are: Acle St Edmund Primary, Alpington & Bergh Apton Primary, Blofield Primary, Brooke Primary, Brundall School, Dussindale Primary, Harleston Primary, Heartsease High, Heartsease Primary, Hemblington Primary, Hillside Avenue Primary School (Thorpe), Lingwood First & Nursery, Lingwood Junior, Lionwood Infant and Nursery, Little Plumstead Primary, Loddon Infant, Loddon Junior, Manor Field Infant & Nursery, Poringland Primary, Rackheath Primary, Rockland St. Mary Primary, Salhouse Primary, Seething and Mundham Primary, Fairhaven Primary, St. Mary’s Junior, St. William’s Primary, Stalham Junior, Stoke Holy Cross Primary, Surlingham Primary, Thorpe St. Andrew School, Thurton Primary, and Trowse Primary.

Remaining Evening Work

ICT Solutions would also like to remind schools of the remaining evening of planned work that may result in Internet downtime.

  • Monday 3rd Mar after 3:30pm
  • Monday 10th Mar after 3:30pm
  • Monday 17th Mar after 3:30pm

Author: Jay Zelos

Primary Bluecoat Pilot Speed Queries

How does Bluecoat download pages

The way Bluecoat works is that the first request for a page causes it to be virus scanned, once its scanned the Bluecoat system will not then scan it again until the content changes. This is the same for other files such as audio and video formats. With the pilot schools being the first primaries on the system we might find over the first few weeks that the content in use has not yet been scanned, particularly if this content is not something the secondary schools would use. This might help to explain why some pages seem to take a few seconds before appearing, although when they do appear they do so all at once rather than being built up bit by bit as per a normal home connection.

Of course, the other option is there could be a problem that ICT solutions need to investigate, but this might help to explain what's happening if some pages are really quick but odd bits of content seem to exhibit a delay before appearing in the browser.

Author: Jay Zelos

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