With its reputation as one of the ‘top 50 most improved specialist schools’ in the UK, along with its position as one of 12 outstanding schools serving disadvantaged communities (by Ofsted* 2009), it is clear why pupils fight hard to get a place at Harton Academy.
Originally founded in 1885 (as South Shields High School), Harton Academy undertook a dramatic renovation project in 2010 as part of the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) initiative, including completion of a £25 million construction project on a new Technology and Sixth Form Building holding specially designed DT (design technology), Math and Science sections.
The mixed secondary school and sixth form is based in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. Since being rated ‘Outstanding’ in 2006 by Ofsted, the school has received three Government Achievement Awards, with its executive Head Teacher, Ken Gibson, knighted as part of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours list for 2013 on the grounds of ‘excellence in administrating education.’ It was again rated as ‘Outstanding’ in an Ofsted inspection in January 2013.
With around 1600 students at Harton Academy, the goal of this project was to make devices as accessible as possible to all students, whilst retaining total control over security and ensuring the safety of devices, protecting them from theft and damage.
AT A GLANCE
The school needed:
- a simple solution for mobile device deployment.
- an effective and safe storage solution, protecting devices from theft.
The school, which has been using a large number of laptop trolleys for several years, was attracted to LocknCharge by the FUYL Tower due to its innovative design. Because it is free-standing, it can be left in view of students in open areas, where they can then collect devices independently or charge and store their own devices safely.
Ian Harrison, Director of ICT at Harton Academy says, “In the library, we have a number of free-issue laptops for students to borrow when required. Library staff typically issue laptops by scanning a barcode located on the reverse of the laptop and use a biometric system of fingerprint reading to assign it to a certain student.”
“However in instances where students have late lessons or twilight lessons and are working on devices in private study time, this can cause a problem as when they go to return the item the librarian may have left for the day. In this case, a number of devices may be left in a heap. It then becomes very difficult to keep track of the devices and who they are with at any one time.”
“The major benefit of the FUYL Tower is when a student returns a device they can put the device back on charge and lock the door independently. It is conveniently logged and is much more secure out of hours.”
“We also noticed that students would often unplug one of the school desktop PCs that were ready for students to log into, in order to charge their own portable devices with their own charger. Other students would then go to use the PCs and be frustrated that they didn’t work. But after a member of staff was called to look at the ‘fault’ it would be found that it was as simple as the PC not being plugged in!”
FUYL Tower – The school has a mixture of school-owned laptops held by the library, as well as students working on their own devices. The FUYL Tower provided a perfect solution to the problem of deployment and safety both in and out of school hours.
Putnam 16 – In the music department, iPads are used to display sheet music to students and as screens for some MIDI keyboards. Prior to the Putnam 16, iPads would have to be left plugged into expensive keyboards and left with the power on overnight in order to charge. This posed a big security risk as they were constantly out on show. After a few attempted break-ins at the school, staff became concerned for these vulnerable machines. The iPads can now be locked away every night.
iQ 10 – An iQ 10 Charging Station is held in the PE department where iPads are used for registering students on the school management information system (SIMS) when in the gyms or changing rooms, away from desktop machines. They can also be used in lessons as an interactive tool, for example, to show students the ideal way to do a long jump, record a student’s attempt and then play it back, show the students their mistakes and allow them to rectify them. The charging station is kept in a lockable store cupboard, out of sight to deter theft.
iQ 10 – A second iQ 10 was placed in the learning resources area for students who may have difficulties with learning and need the help of mobile technology. With it iQ 10, devices can be stored securely and accessed only by staff when they’re ready to be issued to students.
RESULTS TO DATE
Ian continues, “The team from LocknCharge who scoped our initial requirements were very good and talked us through the most suitable charging stations in an online webinar which was very helpful. We were able to see equipment demonstrated and work out which device would suit each location best.
“The units were delivered then set up by an engineer very efficiently, and although we did have to install a new version of software onto the FUYL Tower ourselves, even that process was smooth, and the replacement SD card was easy to swap for the original.
“Our library staff are now releasing bays on the FUYL Tower and enjoying the journey into using the software. Students are changing their bad habits, and we are looking forward to usage increasing further. I would recommend LocknCharge products as a solution to potential theft, security and also some of the inconvenience of managing laptops and portable devices.”
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For more information about Harton Academy, click here.