ICT Services 4 Education


School ICT News Bulletin No. 184 - 14/06/2011

Published by Children’s Services


The ICT Services for Schools Project is now complete. We would like to thank all the schools that have contributed to the project through the questionnaire and workshops – your feedback has helped us to shape the new service.

The new, single ICT shared service has been established under the leadership of NCC’s Head of ICT, Karen O’Kane. ICT Shared Services is providing services to schools, the County Council and other public sector organisations.

Karen has appointed Lynn Parvin as the ICT Shared Services’ Schools’ Business Partner. Lynn will ensure that ICT services to schools continue to evolve to meet changing business needs and is now your main contact for the development of the ICT service to schools going forward.

The new service design is described in the Moving Forward paper approved by the Project Board at its final meeting held in May. The key points are summarised below (to see the full document click the link: MI Sheet 136/11 ).

Governance and Communication

  • Service delivery will be supported by strong two way communication and collaborative working between ICT Shared Services, schools and Children’s Services
  • ICT Partnership Group will become the lead consultation group.  We will, in addition,  create ICT forums and user groups focused on key elements of the service that meet regularly

The Broadband Network Service

  • The only essential service as it provides the connectivity to the majority of ICT Services 
  • As a result of some secondary schools raising concerns about poor performance, the overall network design has been reviewed – this highlighted several issues, some of which have already been addressed, and schools are already reporting an improved service.  The remaining issues will be resolved by a major piece of work taking place over the summer
  • Internet Filtering – the fully managed service will continue to be provided, but for those schools who wish to take responsibility for their own filtering this facility will be provided

Support Services– we will:

  • Develop web–based “self Service” facilities eg Frequently Asked Questions, hints & tips etc
  • Deliver support remotely where possible
  • Continue to offer a “named field support engineer” but also build Locality Teams who have a full range of skills that can be made available to schools
  • Enable access to County Council contracts to achieve greater economies of scale
  • Provide Annual ICT Health Checks to ensure that each school’s ICT equipment/infrastructure is set–up in the most appropriate and advantageous way

Management Information Systems (MIS) – Capita SIMS will be implemented and supported as a long term strategic MIS for the County

Learning On–Line

  • Fronter is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for secondary schools and primary schools who choose to use it
  • A simple to use, secure and supported VLE with access to Espresso and other content has been developed using Google Apps for primary/special schools who do not wish to use Fronter. This is currently being piloted and will be implemented from September. We will be contacting all primary/special schools before the end of the summer term to ask whether they wish to use the Google VLE

Web Services – we will create and support a standard Web site template that can be easily deployed in schools

An ICT Shared Services’ Service Catalogue is being developed – this will ensure that schools are clear about the nature of each service and what they can expect as customers.

Karen O’Kane

Head of ICT Shared Services

Paul Fisher

Assistant Director, Business and Compliance

Lynn Parvin

ICT Shared Services Schools Business Partner

Author: Jo North