Sale Grammar School is a state-funded academy located in Sale, just south of Manchester. Sale Grammar School is committed to the learning and self-improvement of all students, therefore it comes as no surprise they have been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. With 650 PCs and 200 mobile devices, including laptops and iPads, Sale needed to upgrade its existing classroom management and online safety solution to control what students were accessing online to achieve their vision of creating responsible world citizens.
Before Education Pro, Sale Grammar School were operating Ranger for Networks to control the network and focus learning in the classroom. However, this product was eventually discontinued and would therefore no longer prove compatible with any Windows server updates. Following the release of Windows 10, Sale Grammar School was eager to push this version out across their school network, leaving the existing solution redundant. Sale was also interested in refining its online safety procedures, with web filters and trackers available through the use of Smoothwall, Sale wanted to actively monitor students alongside filtering content. This limited online safety solution, and an incompatible classroom and network management software drove Sale Grammar School to look for a new software solution.
As an avid Edugeek user, the ICT Manager turned to the forums section of the website to identify what other schools were using for classroom management, network management and online safety. A couple of recognisable companies were idenitifed and investigated further. The ICT Manager had already seen demonstrations of Education Pro at the Bett Show and another conference held by the Association for Network Managers (ANME) but wanted to see what was new. After viewing an up-to-date demo of Education Pro and trialling the product himself, the ICT Manager was very impressed with the extensive modules included; this helped to confirm his decision to adopt Education Pro for network management, classroom management and online safety at Sale Grammar School.
The roll out of Education Pro across 600 devices proved stress-free. No major problems came about during implementation and the support team at Impero were on-hand should any issues have arisen. Once Education Pro was up and running, the teachers were quick to start using the classroom management features. Although teaching staff, were already actively using similar tools, they reported that Education Pro offered more functionality and was simpler to use.
Since installing Impero Education Pro, Sale Grammar School has realised a variety of benefits:
focuses learning: Compared to Ranger for Networks, Education Pro provides greater classroom management functionality, including the ability to launch websites and applications directly on an individual’s screen, or a group of student’s computers. The console is always open in the IT suites so teachers are able to see the whole class at once, and identify what they are accessing. If a student is misbehaving, they can lock their screen and take control of the device to direct the student back on task.
comply with Ofsted: With a comprehensive online safety monitoring solution, which captures at-risk activity with a time-stamp to be later used as evidence, as well as an anonymous safeguarding reporting tool, Sale Grammar School is meeting a number of aspects required by Ofsted during inspections.
saves time: Come 4 o’clock all computers on the network should be turned off, unless needed by staff. With a click of a button, the 600 machines on the network are shut down, removing the need to switch each individual machine off manually; this saves masses of time and reduces energy costs.
Q&A with Simon Rowlands, ICT Manager
how has Education Pro made your job easier?
It’s hugely beneficial. Compared to Ranger for Networks, Education Pro has its own group policies on top of the group policies already included in Windows. It saves a lot of time. I can deploy software using a mimic script and schedule all machines to be powered on and shut down at the end of the day, without leaving my office. We’ve got a relatively large network at Sale but with Education Pro you are able to see and manage all devices from one screen.
how has Education Pro helped you manage online safety?
A very important module to us, which is amazing to be included as a free piece, is the Confide tool. Available on all staff and student machines, the anonymous reporting tool helps us address issues that come about from social media and cyberbullying. We’ve promoted this throughout the school during assemblies to show students that all issues would be dealt with in a safe place by the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Prior to Education Pro trying to track and enforce online safety policies at Sale was a lengthy process. We would have to spot an incident, log that student off, gather evidence and then alert the last person. Education Pro cuts out the middle and directly alerts the Head of Year or SLT about the incident and creates an audit trail as it goes.
what are you next steps?
Despite using a lot of the classroom management features in Education Pro, we’ve not been utilising the exam and question modules included. This is something we plan to educate staff on, in order to promote its use more actively in lessons.
how would you summarise Impero Education Pro?
A must have piece of software for all network managers. It is the first piece of software I open in the morning and the last to close when I finish at the end of the day.