Hammond Primary School
State-of-the-art learning environment enabled through thin client technology at The Hammond Primary School
In 2003 Leverstock entirely designed, managed and installed a new 35-seat ICT suite at Hammond Primary School in Hemel Hempstead. The school is a Hertfordshire community nursery and primary school offering all ability educational provision for children aged 3-11 years.
Gail Porterfield, the Headteacher explained the school’s requirements:
- To provide a state-of-the-art environment for our children, allowing for future growth and technological advance.
- To maintain our school network of up to six PCs and a printer in every classroom, linked admin PCs and allow easy laptop access to the system.
- A link to our separate Nursery building.
- A reliable system.
- To ensure that we did not become dependent on one member of staff for maintenance.
I had a clear vision of the learning environment I wanted to provide for our children. I investigated several options, ranging from trolleys of laptops, to systems available from major companies. None fulfilled a sufficient number of my criteria. Most would sell kit, with little prospect of support in the future.
Then I came across Leverstock, who had installed an ICT suite in another local primary school. I visited, viewed, explored, spoke with Richard Clarke, Managing Director at Leverstock, and realised I had found a company whose staff shared my vision of what children deserve in ICT. Here was the expertise and passion to translate my requirements into a project plan.
Leverstock were the only company who were prepared to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the requirements I had. Richard and his colleagues provided total system installation management – essential for me, as I could not leave my class or school management responsibilities to manage this project. They have the experience in setting up systems for schools, and could advise on everything from room design and software to setting up security levels for users. We have a relationship where options for future development can be discussed.”
A new 35-seat suite based on thin client technology, removing the need for individual PCs and enabling the centralisation of all applications. This has many benefits, not least the fact that software needs only to be installed once, to be available on all the terminals in the ICT suite.
The incorporation of existing old classroom PCs into the network and converting them into thin client terminals. This removed the need for expensive replacements and enabled the same applications to be accessed in both the ICT suite and the classrooms.
Hands-on training, which was an integral part of the project, ensuring that both teachers and pupils were comfortable with the new technology.
Gail Porterfield is absolutely delighted with the new ICT suite, named ‘The Heywood Suite’ after Anne Heywood, the then Deputy Headteacher at the school.
“The new installation more than fulfilled my expectations. All work was carried out on time with minimal disruption. We now have a wonderful ICT suite which is a pleasure for staff and pupils to work in. Choosing Leverstock as our provider of this complete solution has been a great decision!”
Since the installation of the suite Gail has continued to work in partnership with Leverstock in an on-going programme to ensure that the teaching of all subjects takes advantage of the latest technological advances in ICT. This has included the installation of laptops and interactive whiteboards throughout the school. The school now has a wireless network giving total coverage throughout the school, its own e-mail system based on Microsoft Exchange Server and staff use iPAQs to work wherever they are.
In February 2004 Hammond School was amongst the first schools in Hertfordshire to be awarded the Naacemark quality assurance for ICT in Education. Gail adds:
“Leverstock helped make this award possible by providing a reliable state of the art ICT platform and sharing our vision of excellence in ICT.”
The story continued as later in 2004, Leverstock transformed an area which was unused and unsuitable for teaching into a new Learning Resource Centre, followed by a new Internet Café.
By choosing thin client technology, Hammond have been able to invest their ICT budgets, not in replacement equipment but into buying new additional equipment thus allowing them to further improve their ICT facilities and increase their pupil:ICT ratio.
The original ICT Suite is still performing today as well as the day it was installed. There has been no down-time due to failures or equipment becoming obsolete. With new equipment added each year, their pupil:ICT ratio now stands at better than 2:1 – a fantastic achievement for a primary school.
In 2008, Leverstock recommended a completely new approach to using ICT in teaching. This involved the provision of mobile desking units in the classroom each enabling six pupils to work with individual combined monitor/thin client terminals, thereby giving the pupil the opportunity for whole curriculum learning from his/her computer at any time they wanted.
It was decided to transform Year 3 classroom in this way. The school discarded all the old desks with five new desking units, thereby providing 30 pupils each with their own dedicated learn space. The units being mobile also gives Hammond the flexibility for their future use should they decide to make changes around the classrooms.
This is a completely innovative and unique way of using ICT in teaching. The children are given freedom to use the computers for research, to communicate and to develop their ICT skills. They are able to select what they feel is the most appropriate way to record their work, giving them control over their learning.