Booker Avenue Junior School Case Study (Open PDF)

Northcote Primary School

Northcote Primary School approached MGL in 2013 to discuss how they could upgrade their current broadband provision, which they felt was not fit for the purpose of delivering the new Primary Curriculum. The school’s vision involved children producing content which would be published online as well as being able to access media rich resources which supported their learning. The broadband service in school however did not support these ambitions. Teachers had become frustrated by the speed of Internet access, the inability to access sites such as YouTube and other sources of educational content, as well as the inability to be able to access the school network from home. Despite the many thousands of pounds the school had invested in technology such as laptops, wireless networking and iPads, teachers still felt reluctant to base their teaching around the use of the Internet due to speed and reliability issues. In addition to this, the school felt that it was untenable that the school was paying several thousand pounds per year for a service that was far worse than most children and staff were enjoying at home. Headteacher, Roy Morgan explains, ”As a custodian of public money, especially that attached to children, it’s difficult to justify a position were we as a school were paying more than schools in other authorities and getting far less for our money. Equally, all of technology should enhance teaching and learning – when there were issues in accessing Google, we felt that enough was enough”. The school contacted MGL to see whether alternative provision was available and in early 2014 a new broadband service was implemented which provided – a super fast fibre link to the Internet (offering download speeds in excess of 80Mb), a localised filtration system based upon the Smoothwall solution which was the only filtration service recommended by Becta, training which allows teachers to update settings themselves and facilities which allow access from home.

Key Features

  • Direct, fibre link to the Internet
  • Filtration solution hosted at school which can be updated and managed by your teachers
  • Scalable solution which will be upgraded when local exchanges upgrade
  • Onsite and telephone support
  • Remote updates on content filtration
  • Remote access to the school system
  • Access to SIMS and SIMS Support services
  • Used by over 100 primary schools across the North West

Frequently Asked Questions

Will be still be able to access SIMS Support from the Local Authority?

Yes. MGL provide broadband to over 100 primary schools across the North West in 5 different Local Authority areas and each of these schools uses SIMS. Our team will work with your current provider to ensure that they have the access to your system they require to support SIMS.

What about other services such as HR and payroll?

There are no services currently delivered online that you would not be able to access using MGL Broadband. In Liverpool we are aware that LDL have asked schools moving to our service to purchase a ‘digital fob’ to provide added security to some services but they are still available.

What will the disruption be in school?

Often our installation will take place outside of school time however it normally takes 6-8 weeks for schools to order MGL Broadband and have it installed and working. In our experience, the longest a network has been out of commission is 3 hours.

Who’s responsible for the content filtration and other E-Safety issues?

As is the case now, the school is ultimately responsible for the content accessed in your school, only now you have no control over what that it. Our service will block all obvious, undesirable content. It is then up to individual schools what they want users to be able to access with levels of access available for different user groups. For example, you may not wish for children to access Facebook but if a teacher wants to deliver an E-Safety session using Facebook, you may wish to allow it.

What speed can I get?

This is subject to site survey but in Liverpool minimum speeds are around 32Mb with most areas enabled to 80Mb.

How long am I committed for?

One of the frustrations schools have is the length of contract they’ve been subjected to with either 3 or 5 years offered. MGL’s contract is 12 months with a 90 day notice period.

What happens if technology improves?

Your service improves with it. MGL work with BT and Virgin in order to provide the maximum speed available to each site. This will continue throughout your contract.

What is the Service Level Agreement in terms of support?

Telephone and Email support from MGL to deal with training issues such as adding websites to the ‘banned’ list etc.. is limitless and available from 8 – 5.30 during school terms time. Should there be a technical difficulty preventing broadband connection getting to your school due to a problem at the on-street exchange, the response time is 4 hours.