Lion Academy
Trust

The Project:

The Lion Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust comprising 10 academies throughout the UK. Founded originally in Waltham Forest, the Trust now operates academies in London, Essex, and Wellingborough. With over 4,800 pupils and 700 staff, the trust has grown through working with schools in need of a structural solution to address legacy underperformance. Key focus areas for the Trust include infrastructure, the built environment, and the operation of key services to support teaching and learning.

Challenges:

Schools in need of support have often neglected their core infrastructures, from network cabling through to facilities management. The Trust needed to ensure they were able to successfully deliver the technologies that are key drivers for the Trust’s school improvement model, such as Google Chrome devices, cloud-based management systems and finance and asset management platforms.

Schools taken on by the Trust often require investment to transform existing systems and infrastructure components that have suffered from historic underinvestment and mismanagement. Examples of this include domestic grade WiFi systems, inadequate structured cabling, and poorly designed networks.

The Trust required consistent high-capacity coverage in all teaching areas, across all sites, with the flexibility to operate equally effectively in outdoor or group spaces. The Trust also required seamless connectivity, always providing the same end-user experience, along with the need to be able to access content and services across all areas.

The Solution:

The Trust wanted a ‘cloud’ based solution to fall in line with their IT Strategy which prioritised cloud-based services at the core. The Simpli-Fi solution is based on the more intelligent and leveraged Ruckus features such as AI, Beamflex, ChannelFly, SmartCast and airtime decongestion. Hosting all the sites on a centrally managed platform, provided further benefits in operational efficiency, along with cost savings for on-site infrastructure and maintenance.

The Trust now deploys a cloud-based Ruckus network with seamless integration across all sites, hosted and supported by Simpli-Fi with over 200 ‘AC’ Ruckus Zoneflex access points. This delivers a fast, reliable, and secure network for the Academy at all sites.

The Result:

“Highly resilient and accessible networks are a core component of the overall operational model we deploy in all our schools. By taking a commercially astute and risk-assessed approach to selecting the best solutions to support our pedagogical model, The Lion Academy Trust has built a vendor ecosystem of trusted providers who operate to meet the exacting operational demands of all our schools. Simpli-Fi has made the process of installing, monitoring, troubleshooting, and updating this core infrastructure straightforward and affordable. The combination of knowledge, helpful staff, and a keen focus on our needs as their customer is greatly welcomed. Given the priority we place on high availability connectivity, the Simpli-Fi service and team continue to provide critical support for our academies”
Christopher Stark – Commercial Director at Lion Academy Trust

Ruskin Infants
School

The Project:

Ruskin Infants School is based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with 190 pupils on roll. The school had an ageing WiFi network and insufficient cabled network capacity to support their existing teaching and learning requirements – which was uncovered during the due diligence process prior to conversion to joining the Lion Academy Trust in January 2020.

Challenges:

At the point of joining the Lion Academy Trust, the school was reliant on poorly installed domestic-grade network infrastructure with large areas of the school premises experiencing no wireless coverage at all.

Following a full network audit, Simpli-Fi needed to install a temporary network to give the school full connectivity whilst the team installed the permanent upgrade required to support the mobile devices the school were introducing as part of their transformation to meeting the Trust’s operational standards.

The agreed programme for delivery of the installation of the dedicated leased line into the school was delayed by that provider with no mitigation of the delay being possible – meaning the school faced opening without a fully operational network on the first day post-conversion. The Simpli-Fi team, at no additional cost to the school, worked over the preceding weekend to deliver a fully commissioned and configured temporary network to accommodate all staff and pupil devices for launch on the Monday morning.

This interim solution was still significantly more robust and widely distributed than the legacy network and enabled the school to launch the Trust’s new curriculum in all teaching spaces from the outset.

The Solution:

The first requirement was to deliver a full rewire and upgrade to Cat6 cabling, along with installing a new comms cabinet and termination point for separately procured fibre-broadband. This was procured through Simpli-Fi’s partner installation company and project managed and overseen by the Simpli-Fi account management team. All legacy domestic-grade network infrastructure was removed prior to the installation of a new Ruckus wireless network, as part of the agreed Simpli-Fi managed WiFi service.

The Result:

“The team did an excellent job, working against an extremely challenging timeline to ensure we were ready to activate all new digital devices at the launch of the school year. The requirement to replace much of the infrastructure meant that a temporary line needed to be installed to meet the deadline. This was accommodated quickly and efficiently at no extra cost to the school, whilst the necessary upgrades were completed.”
Craig Nel – Project Lead

Sparrow Farm
Primary School

The Project:

The Sparrow Farm Infants and Junior schools amalgamated to form Sparrow Farm Primary School in January 2021. Simpli-Fi had been providing a managed WiFi service to the independent schools for the past nine years, working in partnership with Platinum ICT. Both schools were using a different WiFi network and were operating as two separate teams. Simpli-Fi worked with Platinum ICT to manage the merger of the WiFi network between the two schools.

Challenges:

The junior school had already updated their WiFi network, but the infant school was using a legacy system. This meant that the schools were running two separate wireless networks, using different hardware solutions. We therefore needed to make adjustments to the overall network, and link the two schools by joining the networks to one domain.

The nature of the work meant that the network was offline during the installation so although the work was completed during half term, there was pressure on the team to minimise the down time on the IT network across the sites and complete the work before the school reopened.

The Solution:

The schools were previously using different systems, with the Infant school using a legacy HP Aruba WiFi network and the Junior school a new Ruckus WiFi network. As it was not technically efficient for the newly amalgamated school to use different systems, we recommended an upgrade to the Ruckus system for the former Infant school site. This ensured the best possible wireless service across the campus.

Simpli-Fi will now provide a managed WiFi service to the primary school within a new three year contract.

The Result:

“Having worked with Simpli-Fi for over eight years, we have complete trust in their ability to deliver their service on time and on budget. This project was no exception, the work to amalgamate the two networks was achieved seamlessly, meaning that we experienced minimal interruption to our teaching and learning.”
Sparrow Farm Primary School

Marjory Kinnon
School

The Project:

Marjory Kinnon is an all-age (Reception – Year 11) SEND school in the London Borough of Hounslow.

In March 2018 the school opened a brand new, purpose built, £30 million school building which offers state-of-the-art facilities to pupils. The new building incorporates fully fitted subject rooms, separate libraries for primary and secondary pupils, dedicated sensory rooms, and a therapy suite. The school also has extensive outside space which includes designated teaching areas.

Simpli-Fi were initially engaged by the local authority to help with the design and delivery of the IT network for the new school building. The team worked with the council in the early stages to plan the IT infrastructure requirements, and were then employed by the main contractor to deliver the IT network as part of the new build project. This included the design of the core network and cabinet locations, fibre backbone network, data outlet locations throughout the school and wireless provisions.

Challenges:

Being involved in the early planning stages gave us the advantage of designing the school’s technical infrastructure. As Marjory Kinnon is a SEND school, we needed to understand the adaptive technology that was going to be used in the classrooms so that we could plan the wireless network accordingly.

There is a strong focus around technology being a driving force in the teaching and learning at Marjory Kinnon, so the wireless network is essential to the success of this. Although the density of the wireless network is low, due to the nature of the school, the size and layout of the site meant more external coverage was required to allow for the focus on outdoor learning.

The Solution:

A cloud-based solution was proposed to avoid the need for an on premise wireless controller. Simpli-Fi recommended a Ruckus cloud-based solution with R320 zoneflex access points, providing internal coverage around the site, and T310 external access points to the external teaching areas of the school. These were all centrally managed through our hosted virtual smartzone controller, which provides operational savings and improved maintenance.

This solution is managed through the Simpli-Fi WiFi as a service, which includes unlimited onsite and offsite support, next day hardware swap out, firmware updates and the benefit of an annual payment plan.

The Result:

“We engaged Simpli-Fi 4 years ago when we were in the process of planning the infrastructure for our new state of the art school building. The Simpli-Fi team were invaluable in the planning stages, ensuring that our infrastructure was designed to support a system that was critical to the technology we use for our teaching and learning pathway. As a SEND school, we use an array of adaptive and assistive technology that is crucial for some of our students and enhances the learning experience for others. The Simpli-Fi managed WiFi service has also been a welcome addition to our tech service portfolio, ensuring our network is always optimised and secure.”

Mark O’Brian – Chief Operating Officer

St James
Independent Schools

The Project:

St James Boys’ School building sits within a picturesque and breathtaking 30 acre site. The Head Teacher, David Boddy, always had the vision of ensuring he had a “State of the Art” wireless network, both within the school buildings and across the external campus, to allow flexible learning and anytime access to the school network and internet services.

The school required a wireless network which would be able to support large numbers of wireless clients (in excess of 30 users in all classrooms), and both data and VoIP traffic across the entire campus including the 6th form areas, admin areas, various outbuildings, dormitories and external areas of the school. They needed reliability, quality of service and peace of mind that the product and service selected would meet all their requirements.

The security of the system was paramount but so too was the necessity for the wireless network to provide both VoIP support for the new school telephone system users, and data access for any other IP devices.

It was important that three wireless networks could be broadcast for the teachers, students, visitors and boarders at the school; namely a secure wireless network for general data connectivity, a guest network for all visitors to the school which would only allow secure connectivity to the internet gateway, and also a Voice over IP network which would provide a guaranteed (QoS) service for the roaming VoIP telephone handset users in all areas of the school.

Our Solution:

Simpli-Fi proposed the Aruba Managed Wireless solution after an extensive wireless survey of the Campus.

The system proposed and installed comprises a 3600 Aruba Controller, complete with licensing and a 128 Policy Enforcement Firewall License. 71 dual band Access points provide internal 802.11AC coverage, while a further seven access points provide external coverage with a mixture of high gain directional and omni-directional antenna.

St James Boys’ School selected the Simpli-Fi managed wireless service option which provides them with all the hardware, installed, commissioned and fully maintained with remote monitoring, performance guarantees and extended hardware warranties as part of a rolling 36 month Service Level Agreement Contract.

The Result:

“Having battled for years with insufficient and patchy wireless networks that were unable to cope with even a small system load, we have been given a new lease of life for a wireless network within the school. Simpli-Fi’s service is of the highest class, and we benefit from blanket coverage all over the site, with seamless transition between Aruba access points and high data speeds. The wireless service is so good that we are able to use our wireless phones on it without compromising on quality. The staff here rely on the Aruba wireless network for their teaching and as a school there was no question that Simpli-Fi offered the best solution for us. I would recommend them to anybody due to their unsurpassable customer service, top-quality product, and their friendly and helpful nature.”

David Atkinson – Network Manager, St James Senior Boys School

Ockbrook
School

The Project:

Ockbrook School is a coeducational day and boarding school for children aged 3-18 years, situated in beautiful rural Derbyshire. Simpli-Fi were procured to design, install and maintain a managed WiFi network across the school complex.

The school had a number of legacy wireless solutions in place as new spaces were added over time, so too were new wireless systems as part of the various construction contracts. This meant each of the buildings’ WiFi systems were working independently, which made managing the overall campus connectivity almost impossible.

The school wanted to consolidate the systems and maximise the use of the space within the campus, enabling students, staff and guests to join the network and stay connected anywhere within the grounds.

Our Solution:

We proposed a Ruckus Managed Wireless solution after an extensive wireless survey of the Campus.

The system proposed and installed comprised a ZD3000 Controller, complete with licensing and firewall. 25 dual radio Access points provide internal 802.11AC coverage, while a further six access points provide external coverage with a mixture of high gain directional and omni-directional antenna.

This technical solution was paired with our Managed WiFi service, which guarantees the school will always be able to login 30 devices concurrently within any teaching space in the complex. Our Managed WiFi service also provides unlimited emergency onsite support, 24/7 remote monitoring and next day hardware replacement with any equipment failures.

British College of
Osteopathic Medicine

The Project

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) is internationally regarded as a leading specialist osteopathic education institution. Located in London, the campus has multiple buildings with the osteopathic teaching clinic offering approximately 20,000 patient appointments each year.

The compact campus environment offers a large lecture theatre, air conditioned practical rooms, the latest equipment for practical lectures and research, Human Performance Laboratory and student facilities. Their priority was to provide a truly mobile user experience so that students and patients can stay connected anywhere on the campus with a fast, reliable and secure WiFi solution.

BCOM had been struggling for years with really poor performance and coverage across the site, and with a mixture of legacy networks installed it was an impossible task to centrally manage the wireless network. They needed a solution that was fully managed and allowed students, staff and patients to seamlessly roam the campus without disconnecting. They required a wireless network which would be able to support large numbers of users (in excess of 90 students in lecture theatres), and both data and VoIP traffic across the entire campus, admin areas, various outbuildings and external areas of the college. Reliability, quality of service and overall peace of mind were also essential elements of the brief.

Our Solution

Simpli-Fi proposed a new Ruckus AC solution to provide coverage across the multi building site. This allowed for high capacity usage in all teaching areas and lecture spaces, as well as sitewide blanket coverage to provide a flexible teaching and learning environment across the campus.

This solution was provided as a fully managed service which included the Simpli-Fi service guarantees of unlimited emergency onsite support, 24/7 remote monitoring, and firmware and security updates, across a 3 year service level agreement.

The Result

“We have worked with the Simpli-Fi team for over 7 years and it has been a complete game changer for us. Their solution includes a Managed WiFi Service which means that we don’t have to worry about anything. The system works brilliantly and they are always on hand to support us if we need anything. The Simpli-Fi WiFi Managed Service is unbeatable and I would highly recommend it.”

Harry Cowling – Manager – Estates and Facilities, BCOM