ICT Update for Schools 1

1. Introduction

The Chromebook rollout has now been completed and more than 22,000 devices have been provided to Primary and Secondary schools – this means more computers in schools than we’ve ever had! The success of this was recently recognised by Members at the Care, Learning and Housing Committee.

Other initiatives completed to support the Chromebook rollout included the ‘Schools Ready’ programme (where all schools were visited by C&L staff to discuss the preparation needed in schools to embed the use of Chromebooks), and the Network Refresh project (which replaced all out-of-date network equipment at every site in the Highlands).

The purpose of this update is to remind you about the strategy behind the Chromebook initiative and the schools computer refresh, as well as introducing a couple of new initiatives that schools need to be aware of.

2. What does this mean for schools?

The Chromebook rollout was a key deliverable of the ICTiL Strategic Action Plan 2015. Central to this strategy was the availability of educational applications via GSuite.

This meant that fewer Windows devices would be required in schools. The savings from the cost and maintenance of Windows devices could then be used to fund the Chromebook Model.

The agreed model for Primary schools is as follows:

o New laptops for all teachers

o New desktop computers for admin and office staff

o Chromebooks to replace all windows computers for pupils (includes 1 Chromebook for all P6 – P7)

The agreed model for Secondary schools is as follows:

o New laptops for all teachers

o New desktop computers for admin and office staff

o Desktop computers in learning suites where applicable e.g. graphic workstations or VDI terminals.

o 1 Chromebook for every pupil in S1 to S6

Pilots of this approach have successfully concluded at Milburn Academy and Milton of Leys primary and the remainder of the Millburn ASG schools are due to have their refresh shortly.

3. What is the impact to my school?

The good news is that although there will be a reduction in pupil’s Windows devices. Overall there will be a significant increase in pupil devices due to the investment in Chromebooks, however, secondary pupils will access Windows computers/software in learning suites for specific subjects.

4. What happens next?

Wipro are in the process of completing the refresh of the remaining Millburn ASG primary schools. They will shortly be planning the next set of schools and will be in touch with each school to discuss the details of how they will approach each site.

Change network briefings will be scheduled shortly after the October break to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

5. Other Initiatives

Requests for additional devices on the network

Our schools network is sized for approx. 22,000 Chromebooks and 3000 windows computers. Adding devices to the network can and does impact ICT infrastructure in a number of ways (e.g. network capacity, performance and security) and therefore it is critical that we manage requests for additional computer devices in schools carefully.

If you are considering ANY additional devices for your school, and definitely before anything is ordered or purchased (whether Chromebooks, Laptops, Raspberry PI’s or any other device), you must raise a Service Request via the Wipro Service Desk.

Please note that it is not acceptable to purchase first and then ask for them to be added.

Once the Service Request is raised it will be assessed through the appropriate governance channel to consider any capacity, performance or security implications.

Chromebook warranty repair and replacement (known as the ‘break fix’ service)

Following feedback from many schools, it is clear that the warranty management and support with Dell is not working as effectively as it should be.

Care and Learning and ICT Services have agreed to set up an in-house team that will manage all the break-fix requests from schools.

As part of this, we will be introducing a new courier service, to despatch warranty replacement devices and collect broken devices to take back to our base here in Inverness. We will also have the capability to repair devices in-house, as our support staff will be Dell certified.

Full details of the process and timescale for the service to start, will be published in due course.

Remember: Change network briefings (all Head Teachers as a minimum) will be scheduled shortly after the October break to discuss these arrangements in more detail. If you have any queries before these sessions are arranged please email ICT.ImplementationTeam@highland.gov.uk