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Shortly after working as a support role for Pendle’s internal IT team, covid-19 and lockdown hit. The trust required advice and support in helping them modernise their infrastructure, and rapidly adopt cloud-based communication and collaboration software to enable them to work remotely, delvering lessons and resources online.
Pendle Education Trust is a family of five academies based across East Lancashire (three primary schools and two secondary schools), with over 2,000 pupils. The Trust is sponsored by Nelson and Colne College, an Outstanding Further Education college.
Pendle’s IT team initially approach BCN to provide third-party IT support. However, shortly after we were engaged to work with them, the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the subsequent lockdowns ensued.
In response, the trust required advice and support to modernise their infrastructure, and rapidly adopt cloud-based communication and collaboration software, enabling remotely share lessons and facilitating the allocation of online learning and teaching resources.
As a first project, BCN provided third-line support to the Trust. From this, we began helping them to identify and break down the problems that were holding them back and limiting them from an IT and infrastructure perspective.
The Trust had aging on-premise infrastructure that was not fit for purpose and did not lend itself to the new blended learning environment – a combination of class learning and online learning. Covid-19 magnified these challenges with staff being required to deliver classes and resources online as well as in a live environment.
Prior to the work BCN started with Pendle, four of the five schools had access to Microsoft Office 365, however its usage was limited – some people used the email function, but it was not widely adopted, most users were on old versions of Outlook, and many PCs did not have Windows 10. In addition, data and documents were stored on on-premises servers with no cloud backup.
These inconsistencies across licenses and devices caused a multitude of problems leading to an inability to communicate and operate securely, efficiently, and productively. Each of the five schools had a separate tenancy, meaning that collaboration, communication, and shared access to data and files was not possible between sites.
From a Trust-wide perspective, this made it difficult for management to get a single view of what was happening across the Trust. Compiling management reports was a manual process and as a result time-consuming. Data was held in silos across tenancies, often replicated, with no central data repository.
Separate tenancies made it difficult for teachers from different schools to collaborate, communicate and share resources and information. Some teachers worked across sites but only had access to one tenancy.
Working alongside Pendle Education Trust’s IT team, we helped identify and break down the problems that held them back from an IT and infrastructure perspective.
In the ten months BCN have been working with the Trust we have delivered the following:
The above changes have transformed how the Trust operates, which was essential to continue delivering education during the pandemic. The Trust now uses the Microsoft 365 suite consistently and extensively for all teaching and business practices, including meetings, lessons, calls, document storage, homework, communication channels.
Having initially been taken on to predominantly provide third-line support to the Trust, BCN Group now provide integrated support and solutions across cloud transformation, security, infrastructure, software, and procurement of kit.
We continue to support the Trust with their ongoing IT and infrastructure evolution in an affordable and manageable way. Our regular ‘blue sky’ meetings allow us to share insight, updates, ideas, and ongoing recommendations for the Trust’s ongoing digital transformation.
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