Steeped in history, with its origins dating back to the 1500s and the tumultuous times of Henry VIII, Hutton Grammar School has some very strong roots, in providing the highest level of education to its pupils.
Five hundred years on, with 700 boys aged 11-16 to educate, as well 200 in a mixed 6th form, Hutton Grammar School is keen to ensure its pupils are motivated and engaged in their learning and use technology to aid the delivery of this objective.
The school started its ICT journey around 11 years ago with the installation of a network in the office and providing staff with laptops through a government scheme called “Laptops For Teachers”. This has developed considerably over the years and the school now has 500 computers, various servers and a wireless network.
Initially, the computers were used for traditional ICT-related activities such as design technology, however, this has expanded to include a music suite and computers in the science, English and history rooms.
Nick Holme, Network Administrator at Hutton Grammar School commented, “ICT has made a huge impact in our school, we’ve seen real benefits through better pupil engagement and have some very inspired and enthusiastic boys as a result of this. These children see computers as a natural resource for learning and use them instinctively. It’s a great tool when integrated into the curriculum and managed properly.”
Hutton Grammar School has been able to invest in this technology with relative ease because it buys refurbished equipment through education technology specialist, ICT Direct. Having bought brand new computer equipment through large manufacturers for many years, Hutton Grammar School came across ICT Direct through Edugeek, a specialist ICT forum. The equipment ICT Direct supply is high-quality business standard computers, and in the majority of cases is of a higher spec than the machines schools would normally buy from an IT company.
Some schools will only consider brand new equipment, so they can boast they have the latest technology in their school, but the reality is, the HP, Dell, Lenovo PCs and laptops ICT Direct supply are of equal quality, if not slightly higher in some cases, and are half the price.
Nick continued, “When we originally got a quote from ICT Direct we were amazed, it was 50% cheaper than prices quoted by other companies. So, we decided we’d invest in twice as many computers, giving the children more access and opportunities for learning. The ICT Direct equipment is fully tried and tested and you would never know the machines were refurbished. Each computer comes with a brand new mouse and keyboard, free of charge. They have excellent warranties, as good, if not better than some new lower-quality equipment, but we’ve rarely had to use them. On the odd occasion when we have used the warranty, the machine is replaced immediately without any quibbles. We have great faith in ICT Direct’s support and regularly seek their advice on other ICT-related issues.”
The next stage of the journey for Hutton Grammar School is to purchase Google Chrome books for each pupil. These will complement the computers already in place and will give the school the opportunity to take advantage of some of the functions of Google Chrome such as its cloud-based services.
Nick concluded, “If we hadn’t wisely invested in the ICT Direct equipment, we wouldn’t be taking this next step. We would certainly recommend any school looking to invest in ICT equipment speak to ICT Direct first. They could save thousands and thousands of pounds and we have some very sophisticated equipment which easily delivers more than the curriculum requires. We believe the original ethos of the school, to provide the highest standard of education to all pupils, is certainly being achieved through our innovative use of technology.”