CASE STUDY: Giffard Park Primary School

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Giffard Park Primary School upgrades wireless to support digital learning

Giffard Park Primary School is a community school based in Milton Keynes. They teach 375 key stage 1 and 2 pupils between the ages of 5 and 11. Since April 2011 the school joined a partnership with several other schools in the area, forming the Aspire Learning Partnership, who work together to deliver projects and develop services that will benefit pupils, parents, and the local community.

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The Background

The existing wireless network, at Giffard Park, had been in place for 5 years, originally installed by Your IT Works, and due to the technological restraints at that time, and the school being situated in a Victorian building, the school suffered from incomplete coverage, with multiple black spots throughout the grounds. Since this time Giffard Park have made it their aim to deliver a digital learning policy within every subject, with every Key Stage 2 student being supplied with a notebook; this meant that the traditional wireless network was no longer fit for purpose.

The school therefore knew that upgrading their wireless infrastructure was imperative, with the goal to fully support a high proliferation of devices, giving Giffard Park the ability to seamlessly deliver digital learning.

The Challenge

In order to provide digital learning that pupils truly benefit from, delivered in a manner similar to the way they consume content at home, wireless connectivity is seen as critical at Giffard Park. Not only did the school require a solution that supported 219 notebooks, 20 laptops, and 14 tablets, they needed to invest in a wireless network that could be capable of evolving with the school’s future plans to supply each child with an iPad.

With much of Giffard Park’s curriculum using online resources, such as Purple Mash, which allows students to access educational activities from their device anywhere within the school grounds, they required a wireless infrastructure that could deliver consistent high performance internet access, without any compromise on the e-safety of the pupils.

The Project

Giffard Park Primary School contacted Your IT Works, a gold certified Xirrus partner, due to the proven level expertise and top-class service they provide. A Your IT Works wireless specialist took the time to understand their requirements and was able to construct a solution using Xirrus wireless technology, which met all the school’s needs.

After deliberating over their options Giffard Park chose the Xirrus wireless solution. This was due to the unique design of the Xirrus wireless architecture that solved the challenges the school were facing, while in the long-term, offered a lower total cost of ownership, and upgradability.

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Your IT Works Ltd worked closely with Giffard Park and conducted a full on-site survey to ensure that the network would provide Giffard Park with the connectivity and performance it required. After a simple installation process, Your IT Works deployed the fully managed Wi-Fi network using the cloud-based Xirrus Management System (XMS), which also gives the ability to remotely manage all aspects of the network going forward.

The Outcome

Since Your IT Works installed Xirrus wireless into Giffard Park, the teachers and pupils are now able to access online resources and applications from anywhere within the school grounds, without any lag or dropouts, and share files in a secure environment.

The highly reliable and high performance network allows the pupils to use their notebooks in every class; this means that the school no longer needs to maintain a dedicated ICT suite, giving Giffard Park the ability to provide its pupils with an enriched and collaborative learning environment.

The features of the Xirrus wireless network, such as Application Control, meant that the schools has been able to create a safe and controlled environment, without imposing the restrictions of traditional wireless networks, giving the pupils the freedom to explore and learn in a way that helps them truly develop.

Giffard Park Primary School’s future-proof investment in Xirrus wireless will now allow them to peruse their plans to provide each pupil with an iPad. The modular design of the network makes upgrading as simple as swapping the access points, within the Arrays, with the latest in wireless technology.

Wireless connectivity is absolutely critical to the learning environment. We pride ourselves in being ahead of the curve when it comes to ICT and our Xirrus network will enable students to use their notebooks in every class. The fact that Xirrus could provide us with a future-proofed network was very important, especially with our pending migration to iPad devices. The Xirrus Array modularity means that we can easily upgrade in line with increasing user demands and its unique design helped overcome the previous issues we had with black spots. We also have control over all aspects of security, which ensures that all pupils are safe and secure when online.

 – Natalie Goodman (Business Manager, Giffard Park)

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