Case Study - Philip Morant School and College
Philip Morant is the only comprehensive school in Colchester to have its own Sixth Form College. Housed in purpose built accommodation and with Technology College status, Philip Morant has become known as a centre of excellence for post-16 education.
There are approximately 1,400 students in the School and around 170 in the College, all of whom enjoy a high staff to pupil ratio and ethos of mutual respect, and a reputation of academic excellence.
In 2002 the School embarked on an ICT project to provide laptops to all 100 teaching staff. At that time Philip Morant’s ICT managers had the foresight to install a wireless network that would play an intrinsic part in the development of their technology infrastructure.
In 2004 the School introduced a laptop purchase scheme into Year 12 in the College. This enabled students to purchase a laptop at a significantly reduced rate. These laptops travel around with the students: to home, to College and between classrooms or study areas.
Initially a pilot study, this rollout has been so successful that the College plans to introduce laptops for the next intake of Year 12, which will mean that most sixth form students will have their own fully mobile IT resource.
Before the pilot study began the College recognised that issues of security and re-charging of batteries would need to be addressed. The wireless network would allow students to work in many areas of the College but they would require somewhere secure to store their laptops when not in use at breaks or lunchtimes.
Philip Morant expects high standards of behaviour from its students, but with expensive – and mobile – IT equipment on site, the College knew that it must take this aspect seriously. With a battery life of around 2.5 hours the laptops would also need frequent re-charging; although the College is housed in modern accommodation, power supplies to classrooms were not designed to cope with the needs of today’s IT environment.
The College purchased three LapSafe® Ambassador™ units, which were installed in December 2004. Situated in the College library, they provide a secure repository for laptops when not in use.
The library is always staffed and its location, adjacent to the computer room, makes it an obvious choice for security and accessibility. Laptops are not stored overnight and hence ‘out of hours’ security has not been an issue that the College has had to consider.
The robust construction of the cabinets with their anti-drill, claw locking system and alarm does, however, provide secure storage during the school day.
The LapSafe® Ambassador™ units are static and take 25 laptops in modules of 5. They can accommodate printers and other devices as well as laptops and include sophisticated options such as Wake on LAN and remote access.
One of the benefits to schools is that the footprint of each unit is small, especially important where space is at a premium. Each laptop bay is fitted with an individual lock that can be opened by separate keys or a master. Automatic temperature control and electrical surge protection provide added safety and LED indicators show when laptops are fully charged.
As Deputy Head, Leigh Hunter, explains: “One of the uppermost requirements in our minds at the time of purchase was that of security, but in actual fact the most significant function the LapSafe® Ambassador™ units provide for us is the facility to re-charge the laptops quickly, easily and safely.”
The students confirm this saying: “It’s easy to plug in the laptops because all the cables are at the front of the cabinet. Its our responsibility to make sure our laptop is charged frequently because there simply aren’t enough power sockets around the school.”
Mobile LapSafe® SmartLine™ Mentor cabinets are also used in the College teaching area. These are equipped with laptops that are used in lessons as required, rather than personally allocated to individual students. The cabinets are fully mobile and can be moved to various locations within the block. This provision of laptops in a mobile unit allows teachers to ensure that all students have access to a laptop in lessons when required.
Philip Morant is recognised as being a dynamic School and College where academic standards are high.
It has been praised by OFSTED Inspectors as “outstanding”, and its staff are committed to the use of technology for both students and teachers. The rollout of laptops to the remainder of the Sixth Form students, planned for September 2005, will give equal learning resources throughout the College.
The in-house ICT team manage both laptops and Lapsafe® cabinets, supported by technical skills from FRAB Limited, who are working with Philip Morant on future developments.