James Allen's Girls' School
James Allen's Girls' School (JAGS) is a high-performing, independent, day school delivering education to girls, ages 4 to 18 across two sites in Dulwich, London. JAGS has worked to strike the right balance, building on the foundations of its rich 270 year history while looking to the future. The school's leaders believe that the ICT environment is of the utmost importance to the delivery of an excellent education and service to the School's pupils and parents.
In 2013, growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the school's ICT was hindering the use of ICT to support teaching, learning, administration and parent communications. The school needed to demonstrate that ICT could be reliable in order to increase confidence in its users. They wished to offer a more flexible way of working for students and staff. Improvements in the use of ICT for parental engagement was also critical.
JAGS commissioned Novatia to carry out a full review of their ICT vision, systems and processes with a view to developing a fully budgeted 5 Year ICT Strategy. Novatia provided an educational, technical and commercial ICT advisory service to ensure the resulting Strategy covered all areas and aligned with the educational aims of the school.
Our advice and support of the school enabled them to take action and JAGS now benefits from:
- A reliable ICT solution
- A high performing ICT support team
- Anytime, anywhere access to school systems
- Best practice processes in place for future planning and decision-making
- Greater certainty on current and future costs
Our service consisted of stakeholder engagement, analysis of systems and services, recommendations for improvement and documented outputs.
A Current State Analysis (CSA) provided a valuable starting point covering two distinct areas—the technical solution and the support arrangements. The technical audit was delivered through desk-based analysis of asset information and site visits. The operational review included sensitively moderated staff self-evaluation to establish skill levels and experience of best practice. The resulting report informed recommendations regarding operational changes and identified specific areas for improvement to the ICT systems.
The full range of the school's stakeholders contributed to the development of the ICT Vision through the use of web-based surveys to students, staff and parents along with face-to-face engagements with key leaders and users of the systems. A key requirement identified through this process was the ability to access learning materials—though the same interface—whether at school, at home or elsewhere. This engagement was hugely beneficial to the school as it resulted in an aspirational ICT Vision that represented the school's full requirements and ambitions.
Taking the CSA and ICT Vision as inputs, Novatia developed the ICT Functional Specification to reflect the school's requirements for flexible use of technology built on a secure, robust and scalable infrastructure. Alongside this we built a flexible 5 Year Cost Model that ensured JAGS had a complete view on the Total Cost of Ownership for both the existing and new elements of the ICT Solution.
This approach enabled JAGS to build their solution in phases—firstly consolidating and extending the school's wireless infrastructure, and then building the central services required for a robust remote access solution. Subsequent phases include the provisioning of mobile devices and the refresh of legacy equipment.
Novatia supported JAGS in the procurement of their solution, developing the tender documentation, soft market testing, and providing technical and commercial evaluation of the submitted bids. Through our extensive and current knowledge of the ICT market we were able to ensure that suppliers proposed solutions that were 'on market'.