Pershore High School, Worcestershire
Doubling internet speeds while increasing reliability and security.
The Solution deployed?
When Pershore were looking for a new Internet Service Provider, we deployed a 200mb fibre internet circuit alongside an autonomous EoFTTC backup. To support their new fast and reliable connectivity, we also provided enterprise-grade security through Sophos Firewall & Web Filter, Sophos SG430 Network & Web Protection, Sophos Endpoint Protection (Anti-Virus) & Intercept X (Anti-Ransomware).
Years Being a Virtue Customer
Increase in Change
Completion of Change
Requests within SLAs
Customer Satisfaction Score
for Our Support Desk
Customer Satisfaction Score
for Our Project Work
Pershore High School is an Academy with over 1,000 students. A former comprehensive, the school was established in 1973 and has supported students aged 12 to 18, coeducationally ever since. At Pershore, they strive to instil a life-long love of learning in their students to enable them to reach their full potential.
Part of the Avonreach Academy Trust, Pershore is the MAT's only Secondary school, it joins Orchard Primary and Preschool, Inkberrow Primary School and Norton Juxta Kempsey CofE Primary School. The MAT is a family of schools working collaboratively, and forging links with parents and the community.
Prior to switching to Virtue Technologies, Pershore had had issues with their local council provided broadband. Struggling with their internet in terms of reliability, speed and several periods of downtime. As a newly formed MAT, they also wanted to build connectivity for their entire Multi Academy Trust, the Avonreach Academy Trust, and needed a flexible platform in order to move it forward. In particular, they needed change requests to be fulfilled speedily, which was not happening under their current provider.
The team at Pershore High School were concerned about their internet provision and their IT support, both of which were being provided through a local education authority contract. The Leadership, Finance and IT Teams all wanted something new. They went out to tender to ensure that a new IT partner would be the ideal support for them.
When looking at a new internet solution, they knew they wanted something that was more flexible and reliable than their current solution. However, the speed of the connection was also an important consideration.
In terms of a Support Service Provider, the quality and response speed were of paramount importance, especially the speed of change requests as the current slow turnaround was having a direct impact on teaching and learning.
We didn’t know the team at Pershore prior to tendering for this opportunity, however, we saw from their tendering documentation that, as a newly formed Multi-Academy Trust, an ability to join their internet provision for multiple sites may be advantageous. We set about detailing a solution that focused on security, budget maximisation and ensured we built-in contingency plans as the school would struggle to run effectively without some critical applications, like their VoIP solution and emails.
Supporting Pershore's Stakeholders
When we began working with Pershore, we realised that providing their new internet provision for secondary school, was just the first stage in their wider IT plan, which would eventually lead to a MAT wide deployment. This meant that our solution not only needed to be right for the secondary school, but it also needed to be flexible enough to adapt to a multi-academy trust multi-site set-up.
For Pershore initially, the key factors were that the new internet provision needed to be reliable and quick. And as a provider, we would need to give high levels of quick response support to Pershore.
Looking at the wider Trust plan, we knew we’d need to be able to support the whole Avonreach Academy Trust with quick-change management, sticking to strict and tight SLAs and providing flexibility to set-up was key to their future plans.
We worked with the Leadership, Finance and IT teams to understand each of their project needs to ensure the solution was fit-for-purpose for all the key stakeholders, and therefore Pershore as a whole.
Pershore High School was struggling to find a fit-for-purpose,
joined-up IT strategy, especially on-time and within budget.
For the Trust and Pershore’s own Leadership Team, we ensured that the solution would be reliable and flexible enough to support the multi-academy trust as well as the high school. We knew this was key to ensuring the organisational image and credibility of the new MAT was maintained. As the only secondary school in the MAT, the team at Pershore feel a great responsibility to support the wider MAT and be forward-thinking when it comes to IT provision.
The Finance Team of the school and the MAT, however, have to balance the forward-thinking approach with costs and ensure that their tight budgets are kept in check. Ahead of this large IT project, they were concerned about both the total costs and escalating additional expenses, which had happened previously on projects with other providers.
For the IT Team at Pershore and the wider MAT, the ease of management of a solution and the level of support available were their priorities. As they looked to adopt a new internet solution, Andrew King the ICT Technical Services Manager at Pershore High School wanted the comfort of integrated enterprise security. He was keen that a new solution would link their firewall to their endpoints to create a wider, joined-up approach. They were also keen to find a provider that could give them the reliability of service to support cloud technology.
Working with Virtue’s to find a solution
We provided Pershore with a new internet connection to lead onto a MAT wide deployment. Their new connection needed to be reliable, quick and with high levels of quick response support. Change management and flexibility were key to their future plans.
Using our installation & support expertise, we designed a secure,
agile platform that was 100% within budget.
At Virtue, we designed a solution to provide the flexible and reliable internet Pershore required. We offered a 200mb Fibre circuit with autonomous EoFTTC backup to ensure business continuity for their VoIP and critical applications, in the event that their main internet provision fail.
To ensure their network is safe, compliant and secure, we advised Pershore to adopt Sophos Firewall and Web Filtering, alongside SG430 Network and Web Protection. We also provided Sophos Endpoint protection as an anti-virus and their anti-ransomware solution, Intercept X to provide a fully-rounded, enterprise-grade security solution.
Because Pershore High School told us how much they would value quick, high-quality support, we put them on our Gold Support Package. It means that there’s a maximum 4 hour response time for change requests when they’re done through our Helpdesk.
It also means we can offer in-depth support and control of what to block and allow on the school’s network.
“Support change requests are dealt with quickly and professionally from Virtue. Websites and changes can be unblocked and easily made in house so teaching in the classroom is not affected. The Sophos products supplied have been exceptional in blocking incoming malicious attacks and inappropriate material.” Andrew King, ICT Technical Services Manager, Pershore High School.
In budget industry leading security and full-service delivery.
Knowing how important budget was to balance with a good quality internet service, we designed a solution with an additional autonomous failover to EoFTTC line installation as well as the main 200mb fibre line. Pershore haven't actually needed to use this yet. However, we've helped them run their critical applications, like email and VoIP over these lines, to check them and ensure they were fit-for-purpose. This separate failover line has created a level of flexibility their system sorely needed and hadn’t previously had. The autonomous backup line has been thoroughly tested and has worked brilliantly, and as expected, throughout those tests.
- Quicker Speed of File Transfer
- More Uptime
- Faster Support Provider Response Time
- Tight SLAs for Change Requests
Following the problems they’d encountered with their previous provider, Pershore were unsure of what to expect from their new installation.
“The connection update has been almost 100% which is a massive improvement on the system we had in place before. Speeds of file transfers are astonishing and levels of service and support and knowledge by Virtue is fantastic.” Andrew King, ICT Technical Services Manager, Pershore High School
The work was all booked and scheduled in school holidays to ensure minimal disruption to teaching and learning. And aside from that each of their concerns; reliability, speed, system flexibility, security and cost, we all addressed by the solution Virtue developed and deployed at Pershore.
Because we create fixed cost quotes, we can easily help our customers control costs and stay within their tight budgets. Our engineers’ skills sets and expertise give us the ability to offer in-house support, giving our customers quicker access.
Knowing that the speed of change requests was of high importance to Pershore, meant that we could focus on that area of support. We assured them we would build in SLAs to their support ensuring that we could fully support their purchasing of new technology and the improvements to learning outcomes it could bring.
We have open and honest lines of communication with the team at Pershore meaning they have more control over changes to their internet and wider IT. Our robust control processes give them peace of mind and ensure that we communicate any issues and respond quickly to them.
With Virtue, Pershore’s quality of service and their internet uptime has vastly improved. They have no more concerns about security following our deployment of the Sophos suite of security solutions.
Andrew King, ICT Technical Services Manager, Pershore High School said “Our new connection, which is also twice as fast as the old one and includes an autonomous backup line, was actually slightly cheaper than the renewal price from our old supplier. I was amazed, it’s meant we can reallocate that budget elsewhere. There were no hidden costs with Virtue. The installation of the new connection and support from Virtue throughout was second to none.” Andrew concludes “We would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone seeking a new connection.”