Auditing

Suitability, Viability & Sustainability

With members of our team having worked in both primary and secondary schools, we clearly understand many of the challenges faced.  This, combined with our understanding of larger infrastructure projects, places us well to audit and review both large and small school IT networks and provision.

Key to any review is understanding the suitability, viability and sustainability of the current network and IT infrastructure and considering how this fits with both current and future needs.  We look to advise on this from the perspective of value for money, physical asset analysis and reviewing software and tools used.

We also look to advise on where investment may be needed in the short, medium and long term and where systems and processes could be used to reduce spending.  Suggestions around efficiencies and systems that could be used to save cost (such as the implementation of different VoIP technologies, digital platforms, etc) can also be included.

Primary Schools

Primary school ICT budgets are always tight, and getting the most out of the available capital is key.  We look at how effective the systems and hardware in place are at delivering ICT provision for pupils, streamlining and aiding the workflow of teaching and support staff, and keeping your pupils safe.  We look to identify possible areas of cost saving and plan for longer term investment.

Secondary Schools

IT challenges in secondary schools are complex.  Networks often span large campuses, and pupils have multiple ways of accessing digital content: through the school’s provision and their own personal devices.  We look at the performance and suitability of the network and hardware deployed, the provision of safeguarding enablement tools and the use/opportunities of auxiliary services such as access control and building monitoring.  We also look at the way ICT provision can assist remote learning and personal development.

Audit Areas

Security & GDPR

We look at the security of your network and the data stored on devices both internally and externally within the school.  We assess the measures used to protect your data and to prevent malicious access or harmful software being installed.  With the increased requirements placed on schools by GDPR, we assess how the data you hold is affected and what protections are put in place to adhere to the legal guidelines.

Security can be a burdensome and expensive problem for schools, particularly with budgets being tight, so we take a pragmatic approach to what is practical and necessary.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding within an increasingly digital environment is getting more complex.  With multiple ways of accessing content available, schools have to be clever about the way they control content and educate children about online safety.  We look at everything from content filtering to reporting and alerting systems (including tools used to flag up behaviour patterns such as self-harm or drug-related issues) to the security of data held about your pupils.

Staff off-site access to data is often a key issue raised, and we look at the procedures and tools used to protect this data, while not prohibiting staff from doing their jobs.

Financial Assets & Inventory

With larger ticket items, tracking and identifying what assets the school owns and determining their current financial value is an important task.  Where an asset register has not been maintained, verifying this and the hardware and software supplied by external agencies can be daunting.  We work through purchase history to either verify or create an asset registry, determining current values and states of maintenance.

As part of this, we identify risks where spending may be required to replace old or missing hardware in the short to medium term.

Skills

The skills of the people, either internally employed or externally contracted, who maintain and monitor your IT infrastructure will have an impact not only on the value that you get from it and the stability of it, but also on the longevity of your investment.

We work to identify strengths and weaknesses within the total skills base and look at ways it can be enhanced and supported (often through training) to better leverage the resources you have.

Where there is reliance on external contractors, we assess the value for money you are getting from contracts against your requirements.

Disaster Recovery

Most schools have disaster recovery plans.  However, they tend to emphasise provision of education through the supply of temporary facilities and staff.  With data driving how we evaluate and educate our children and playing an increasingly integral part in the support of their development and the services around them, an IT disaster recovery plan is vital.

A disaster recovery plan should cover everything from a single server failure to the loss of a supplier to complete system loss.  We look at what systems and procedures are in place for this, and where needed we help to refine and implement a plan.

Network

The heart of any school’s IT provision to both staff and pupils is the network.  Our experienced network engineers look at the current network provision, assessing its capacity, longevity and flexibility for future needs.

With more school solutions becoming cloud-based and remote access to learning and teaching materials becoming expected, we also assess how this may need to influence future investment and where the current hardware and assets can be leveraged further.

We also looking in depth at the support systems in place to ensure the school’s infrastructure is always on.