Microsoft Cloud dramatically modernises the Trust’s IT services in order to drive collaboration, boost remote working and address data security across all four school sites.
Vision Multi Academy Trust currently comprises a community of four primary schools based in Bury, Greater Manchester. Focussed on putting excellence in teaching and learning at the heart of what they do, the Trust is dedicated to helping children thrive, flourish and achieve their full potential within a supportive and caring environment.
“All four schools within the Trust were operating separately with physical servers on site,” reveals David Waites, Executive Headteacher at Vision Multi Academy Trust. “Content was stored locally, and to this end, the schools were unable to undertake any kind of remote work or collaborate between them.”
Coupled with hardware stock rapidly reaching end of life, the IT systems were failing the schools, students and staff. David continues: “Faced with syncing issues, we really needed to reduce the reliance on local servers and IT support, while at the same time address the ageing kit in order to futureproof our schools.”
David recognised the need to dramatically modernise the Trust’s IT services in order to drive collaboration, boost remote working and address data security across all four school sites.
Heading to Bett, the annual EdTech exhibition in London, on the hunt for a super server solution, David was introduced to AspiraCloud and presented with a concept that he was yet to consider: The opportunity to migrate to the Microsoft Cloud.
Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner, AspiraCloud, worked with David and initially two schools, the East Ward Community Primary School and Sunny Bank Primary Schools, to make the move to the Microsoft Cloud, before migrating the other two schools within the Trust.
AspiraCloud also introduced Vision Multi Academy Trust to the Shape the Future Scheme, a programme backed by Microsoft and the major OEM providers to deliver affordable, robust and reliable new devices, with a focus on pen and touch technology, to schools all over the UK.
David continues: “With a dire need to upgrade our hardware, the Shape the Future Scheme recommended by AspiraCloud was invaluable as it enabled us to cost effectively invest in competitively priced devices for our schools.”
With the support of AspiraCloud, Vision Multi Academy Trust also implemented Microsoft Teams to drive communication between staff. David explains: “From a strategic leader to lunchtime supervisor, every member of staff can access and use Teams to swiftly communicate and collaborate.”
After the successful cloud migration of the first two primary schools, AspiraCloud supported the introduction of the next two primary schools into the Trust, Peel Brow and Higher Lane. This event coincided with the need to re-purpose all the devices provided to the schools as part of the Covid device handout programme. As the schools were already in the Cloud, the devices managed by the Department of Education could effectively be registered to the Trust system, negating any need to rebuild.
AspiraCloud also provides all four schools with Cloud First Support, a cost effective IT help desk service that negates the need for local IT services and ensures the schools’ data, apps, networks and hardware remain securely up and running.
With their extensive Microsoft knowledge, AspiraCloud reviewed and addressed the Windows licences in place to help the schools get the best value from Microsoft. Working in partnership with Pugh Computers, a specialist Education License provider, the Trust was confident they would receive the best products at the right prices.
All four schools now operate as serverless schools, staff communications are now on Teams, which has allowed teaching to successfully continue from any location, and all staff devices have been upgraded to new kit.
“This strategic move to the cloud introduced a completely new way of working,” continues David. “Despite some initial reluctant to change, all of us are now enjoying the benefits it brings. There’s no longer a need to connect to a VPN in order to work; staff can now access OneDrive from any location. It’s easy connect to printers, everyone can work on phones, securely read their messages and move seamlessly between schools to work from any site. Microsoft Teams also presents a really friendly interface to encourage adoption and drive collaboration.”
Combined with the addition of AspiraCloud’s Cloud First IT support service, the reliability of IT services has dramatically improved and any issues are swiftly resolved.
“AspiraCloud really understand the Education sector and the specific budgetary challenges faced by schools,” says David. “Adrian speaks with real clarity and the recommendations to work with forward thinking partners were instrumental in forging this successful cloud project and hardware upgrade for Vision Multi Academy Trust. We no longer rely on old kit and in-house IT support – everything just works!”
“With help from AspiraCloud and the support of Shape the Future Scheme, our Multi Academy Trust is now ahead of the curve, where we can easily replicate the migration model delivered by AspiraCloud to any additional schools who join the Trust in the foreseeable future,” explains David. “We are now looking at rolling out cloud access to our MIS system and a new back-up solution to further futureproof our school environment.”
Adrian Edgar, Managing Director at AspiraCloud concludes: “Offering significant discounts and competitive pricing, many of our education customers are already seeing the benefits of Microsoft’s Shape the Future Scheme. With many new features in the pipeline, we look forward to supporting Vision Multi Academy Trust and other schools obtain maximum value from this program.”
If you want to find out more or do the same for your school, simply get in touch.