How to Develop a Sustainable, Self-Improving IT Strategy
‘Nurturing the talent of tomorrow’ runs through the very heart of The Romero Catholic Academy. This family of one secondary and seven primary schools offers a seamless learning journey for children aged two to nineteen years, while its centralised operations enable the Coventry-based multi-academy company (MAC) to deliver economies of scale and operational efficiencies.
Committed to developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system, The Romero Catholic Academy continuously looks for new ways to drive forward pedagogical approaches and enhance MAC infrastructure. Embracing digital transformation as part of this development path, The Romero Catholic Academy reviewed its existing IT estate to identify key areas for improvement.
Led by the Head of IT, Hitesh Vara, this evaluation concluded that a move to cloud computing would deliver a sustainable foundation for digital development across the entire estate, starting with bringing all schools on to a shared network: “Our secondary school, Cardinal Wiseman, was operating in a cloud-based Google environment, the primary schools had on-premise infrastructure with Microsoft 365,” explained Hitesh.
A consistent and commercially sound strategy
With the decision made to transition all eight schools to cloud computing with Microsoft 365, Hitesh and his team simultaneously appraised how this would work with the teaching technologies.
“In the same way that we started with a mixed communication network, we were also faced with a broad range of display technologies being used throughout the MAC. To achieve truly sustainable digital development and seamless transition for our learners, we needed consistency in all aspects of the IT estate.”
For The Romero Catholic Academy, it was important to focus on IT staff and teacher training, as well as the creation of Digital Champions.
Hitesh talked through what this looked like in practice: “Delivered in partnership with Primary Goal, Digital Champions is supporting us to bring a new Digital Support Technician up to apprenticeship standard. Crucially, this programme focuses on the solution we’re using – specifically the Promethean ActivPanel - as well as wider digital literacy, adoption of cloud technology and online safety. This content aligns perfectly with our priorities and IT roadmap.”
Tailored training for targeted impact
Hitesh was keen to implement a flexible training programme for the teaching team, which provided access to both virtual and onsite sessions and was delivered by Promethean. Making sure there were early opportunities for teacher upskilling in place meant that teachers were equipped with the essentials of using the key features of their new system from the start. Moreover, with cloud-computing now a key part of the academy’s strategy, there is growing interest in cloud-based software that connects classroom devices and supports interactive activities such as polling.
“As the ActivPanel comes with a choice of software, we’re able to give teachers the flexibility to choose which will best support pedagogy at a given time. By helping them to develop competence and confidence in using the full Promethean solution, teachers will then have the freedom to embed the technology in a way that best suits them,” explained Hitesh.
An accelerated approach
Although The Romero Catholic Academy has moved forward at pace to accelerate the ActivPanel upgrade programme, the successful installation of 200 panels is only the start of the Promethean journey: “The MAT Accelerator proved a critical success factor for our MAC-wide IT strategy, giving us access to a structured programme that supported our unique objectives. It’s been an excellent springboard, but we recognise the real value lies in a long-term commitment, and we’re excited to move to the next stage of our journey in partnership with Promethean,” said Hitesh.
Promethean will be showcasing the all-new ActivPanel at this year’s Bett show. Visit stand NL41 to learn how the ActivPanel 9 and ActivSync technology deliver the most robust, seamless and secure user experience yet.
This article was written by Jim Wallis, Head of UKI Market, Promethean
An IT industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience working within some of the UK’s largest education technology resellers, and heading up the Promethean UK&I business for the last 3 years, Jim has successfully delivered a number of major EdTech projects across multiple technologies and now focusses on creating and delivering programmes for Promethean that engage students and pupils and help support teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the UKI.