Rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, St Augustine’s Catholic School place great value on the individuality of each child in their care. St Augustine’s strives itself on creating a welcoming environment with pastoral care of paramount importance. With various devices used by students at the school, such as iPads, laptops, netbooks and PCs, St Augustine’s required a better solution for monitoring and online safety.
Prior to Education Pro, St Augustine’s utilised Securus for online safety alongside a free classroom management solution, however both presented issues. Securus operated using its own hardware and software, rather than being present on a server; this caused some reliability issues and prevented it working to its full capacity. With the free classroom management solution limited to only viewing screens, the lack of engagement and lack of activity logs started to become an issue. With limited functionality, the Network Manager would have to troll through the firewall log and export it to Excel just to identify what students were accessing during a lesson. This combination of issues led the Network Manager to look for an alternative solution better suited to St Augustine’s growing needs around monitoring.
The Network Manager, along with several other schools, joined forces to look for a new software solution to help overcome these aforementioned issues. The group received a demonstration of Education Pro and were so impressed that they selected the solution. As a consolidated solution, Education Pro was able to replace both Securus and the free classroom management solution.
Installing Education Pro proved incredibly easy and the Network Manager was able to tailor policies immediately to meet St Augustine’s needs. Any initial issues were dealt with by the support team, described by the school’s IT team as ‘fantastic’ throughout the process. If the Network Manager didn’t know anything or needed guidance, the support team were on hand to help. The school’s Network Manager has been consistently pleased with Impero’s customers service, fuelling the decision to continue using Education Pro over alternatives. Impero schedule remote sessions to support customers through the adoption process, rather than just sending over literature, which the Network Manager at St Augustine’s really appreciated.
Since installing Impero Education Pro, St Augustine’s Catholic School has realised a number of core benefits:
focuses learning – By writing policies to block certain websites, applications and access to USBs, teachers can ensure students are engaged in the lesson without distraction. With Education Pro student behaviour has improved as teachers can immediately see what students are accessing and take necessary action.
saves money – Through scheduling PCs to power on and shut down during lunchtime, the end of the school day and over the weekend, St Augustine’s is significantly reducing electricity costs.
saves time – As well as saving money, automatically powering on and shutting down PCs saves time as the Network Manager is no longer required to race across the school building simply to turn off idle computers. The Network Manager can complete other tasks and also remotely fix issues on teacher and student machines from his office to avoid disruption to learning in the classroom.
Q&A with Gareth Jones, Network Manager
how has Education Pro been utilised by the whole school?
It does everything that’s needed. Education Pro is a consolidated solution that caters for all aspects of learning and online safety; it’s easy to use for IT, teachers and safeguarding staff.
For IT staff it really helps save time, being able to remotely fix machines when teachers are busy without leaving the room. Using MSI to push updates across all 300 PCs and scheduling them to power on and off means I can confidently leave Education Pro to do its thing and deal with other IT requests.
For teachers, the classroom management features help to control behaviour and engage with students in a different way. With quizzes and discussions teachers can actively use PCs and laptops to allow students to see how they are progressing and all equally get their say, which might not be possible in verbal group discussions. For visually impaired students, teachers can broadcast their screen to student devices at a click of a button, which they find invaluable.
For the safeguarding team the online safety aspect of Education Pro provides evidence of any safeguarding or child protection issues that occur on the school network. Through severity labels and statuses, the Deputy Headteacher is able to identify key captures for vulnerable or at risk students.
how does Education Pro helped you manage online safety?
In addition to using Smoothwall to block inappropriate websites, Education Pro provides us with an additional layer of protection to identify any inappropriate activity students may be partaking in. With teachers actively monitoring student behaviour in the classroom, they have immediate access to each student’s log. If they notice anything of concern, they can flag these and pass them onto the Designated Safeguarding Lead at St Augustine’s, our Deputy Headteacher. With multiple members of staff, including myself, looking at the captures we are utilising a whole-school approach as required by Ofsted. The captures are reviewed weekly where anything of concern is escalated through the key procedure policy.
what are the next steps?
Currently, we are using a standard email address that students can use to report any safeguarding issues about themselves or a friend. However, I’ve recently discovered Confide, an anonymous reporting tool included as part of Education Pro – adding this extra layer of anonymity would help St Augustine’s further align with Ofsted requirements, it’s definitely an area to look into further and discuss with our Deputy Headteacher.
how would you sum up Impero?
Invaluable and time-saving! A fantastic tool for all areas of the school.
“I have found Impero to be a very effective tool when it comes to organising my classroom, from handing in work, to quickly checking understanding with a survey. Obviously the ability to monitor students working is a huge benefit but I find the software offers a great deal more than this with very little effort needed to discover how.”
Stuart Norton, Computer Science Teacher
“It’s of considerable benefit to the school to have a straightforward method of monitoring internet use, and to be able to report on the level of misuse with confidence. Where classes are using PCs or laptops, especially in dispersed groups or under the supervision of cover staff, it is a tremendous advantage to be able to quickly and easily check with pupils are on or off task from another location, and take necessary action before matters escalate.“
Paul Griffin, Deputy Headteacher (DSL)