School ICT News Bulletin No. 166 - 16/07/2010
Published by Children’s Services
E-mail Provision for Norfolk Schools
We would like to inform you that ICT Solutions are planning a rollout of Google Email. This is to replace RM EasyMail Plus as this contract is coming to an end. This is a positive move as Google is feature rich and intuitive. Initially we will be supporting the Google Email provision only. However, included is a range of apps which schools are free to use: these are Docs, Sites, Calendar, Video and Groups. We are interested in your feedback on these apps should you choose to use them!
We have been successfully piloting the Google Email service since May with input from 10 schools. Schools have given positive feedback and here is what some of them had to say:
“Google is intuitive and easy to use”
“Increased storage space is helpful to schools”
“Staff and students have embraced this product”
The full rollout will begin in September. Details are being developed and the latest updates are available to view on the ICT solutions website at: http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk/Email/Google
This plan is flexible and will be updated regularly. The rollout will take place between September and November 2010. There will be a migration period to allow schools to set-up accounts and migrate Emails, after which RM EasyMail Plus accounts will be removed.
As we will be setting up 150,000 accounts across 500 sites, we will be unable to offer training to schools. However, Google is intuitive and there are a range of excellent guides available & FAQs on the ICT Solutions website. The Service Desk are fully trained and will be able to assist with any queries.
We will ensure that every user has a period of time where access to RM EasyMail Plus continues alongside Google Email.
The project team will:
Communicate to each school ahead of the migration
Update the information on the ICT Solutions Website
Update the rollout plan
Request data from non-e1 schools so that accounts can be set up
Confirm when the Google accounts are active and can start to be used
Can I use my Google account instead of my generic account -firstname.lastname@example.org?
Generic accounts are used for important communications from the Local Authority and the Department for Education. We have also implemented a solution to ensure that email sent between .norfolk.sch.uk and .nortfolk.gov.uk email accounts do not traverse the Internet but stay within our Norfolk private Wide Area Network (WAN).
Please view http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk/nsix/sending_emails_securely.aspx
Author: Jo North
MIS for Norfolk – Contract Award
Further to MI Sheets MI 79/10 (published on 8 May 2010), MI 26/10 (published on 6 February 2010) and MI 213/09 (published on 31 October 2009) we would like to inform you of the result of the Tender.
The outcome of the evaluation process has resulted in a new supplier for Norfolk – Capita SIMS. All three suppliers have been evaluated using exactly the same methods. The process itself consisted of a number of activities involving both the LA and School representatives whom together identified Capita as the preferred supplier.
The schools involved in the process were:
Alderman Swindell, Great Yarmouth
All Saints Primary, Winfarthing
Brooklands Pupil Referral Unit
Chapel Break Infants, Bowthorpe
Kinsale Junior, Hellesdon
Recreation Road Infants, Sprowston
Rockland St Mary Primary
Rosemary Musker High
The Belfry Primary, Overstrand
The Bishops Primary, Thetford
The Rosebery Centre, Gaywood
WaylandHigh School, Watton
West Walton Primary
The evaluations have been independently checked and verified by ESPO.
Therefore the evaluation process is now complete. ESPO informed all three suppliers of the outcome on 9th July and Contract Award will be officially made to Capita on 19th July 2010 subject to no challenges from the unsuccessful suppliers. There is a ten day stand-still period for this to happen. If a challenge is made then Contract Award will be delayed.
The Contract from Capita includes the following core licence modules:
Curriculum with Assessment and Reporting Suite
Reporting to parents
Lesson Monitor (Secondary only)
In addition to the core licence the modules below were identified as being important to schools. You will have the option to choose these as part of your SIMS system. These optional modules are available at additional cost:
Partnership Exchange 14-19
SMS Text Messaging
As soon as the Contract is officially awarded we will be working closely with Schools and Capita to determine the options for transition before finalising the implementation plans. We would hope to start implementation early in the autumn term with those schools who want to be “early adopters”.
We will be setting up a web site to keep you regularly updated on progress. In the meantime please let me have your feedback and views.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I want to stay with e1?
The current contract for e1 with Pearson Phoenix will expire thus the need to enter into a new contract and the purpose of this retender exercise.
Once all the schools that want to use the Capita service have been migrated the LA will no longer have a contract with Pearson Phoenix. Therefore if your school wishes to remain with e1 you will need to make your own contractual arrangements directly with Pearson. We will inform you well in advance when the current LA Contract terminates.
Capita will provide a scalable Fully Hosted, Fully Managed Web-based MIS with first class service across the County with immediate positive impacts. Schools can:
Benefit from a functionally rich database that reduces administration tasks by the principle “enter data once, use many times” not just for single child records but for families.
Achieve better outcomes for all learners. SIMS impacts on the teaching, learning and pupil outcomes. By utilising the contextual, attendance, behaviour and performance data that SIMS possesses schools can deliver personalised, differentiated, target-driven learning for each pupil.
Benefit from Capita’s annual programme of events, to include Regional Software Update Seminars and Regional User Groups sharing best practice, shared forums for product development and enhancements at operational and executive level to ensure quality of service
Why should I use this Contract?
The Contract pricing is fixed for 5 years
Capita offer different price breaks depending on the uptake from Schools so the more schools that use the Contract the cheaper it will be.
Capita have guaranteed that schools in Norfolk individually contracted to them will be able to take advantage of this Contract without any financial penalty, they would transfer over to the new pricing and Terms and Conditions. However, NCC would not be able to refund any schools that have already paid their licence costs if they wish to transfer midway through their existing Contract.
What if I want to use this Contract but I have a Contract in place already with another supplier other than Pearson e1?
You will need to check the terms of your Contract. You may have an option to terminate early but this may carry a penalty charge and you will need to assess whether it is worthwhile to terminate your existing Contract early or wait until renewal. You will be able to join the NCC Contract at anytime during the five year period should you wish to do so.
What about training?
The training programme will be closely based on the following activities:
Phase – for each phase of conversions:
Week 0 – Collect School data and convert;
Week 1 – Return data; install SIMS including the new database;
Week 1 – Training days 1 and 2: Familiarisation and basic data management and Attendance recording delivered enabling immediate access to the data within SIMS and ongoing day to day activities to proceed;
Week 3 – return for Training day 3: Reporting and trouble shooting plus additional data management;
Week 4 – return for Training day 4: Assessment Tracking Pupil Performance.
Can my bespoke reports and information be migrated across?
NCC and Capita will assess the centrally created documents to migrate if these are not available in SIMS. This is a new system with new functions and every effort will be made to accommodate your requirements. We are confident that the vast majority of data will be loaded into the new system electronically.
What will it cost my school?
As now, schools will be required to pay for this service.
The school based charge will be higher than the current charge – all three suppliers quoted a higher level of cost than the current charge.
The charging regime is currently being developed and schools will be notified of the charges early in the autumn term.
Author: Jo North
Powering core networking equipment over the Summer holidays
We would like to ask schools to refrain from turning off the power to the core networking equipment over the Summer holidays. Core networking equipment includes routers, switches and cache servers, often in a wall or floor cabinet. These devices are monitored by ICT solutions and BT and turning off the power results in false alarms. This could result in your school incurring a charge for an engineer visit.
If there is no alternative to powering off the communications cabinet and core equipment then please contact ICT solutions to advise us in advance.
Author: Richard Cornelius