Ken Stimpson Community School

Apr 19, 2017

Lee Chambers, Technical Services Manager

Tell us about Ken Stimpson Community School…
Ken Stimpson Community School is an 11-18 secondary school in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. It first opened in 1982 and today has over a thousand students coming through the gates each day. The school is currently run by the local authority, although with a new head teacher in place, it is now working towards achieving academy status. Ofsted rates us as a “good” school.

What are some of the main IT challenges you face?
By far the biggest challenge our IT department has is our shrinking budget. It’s one of hardest times we’ve had, without a doubt. But in terms of clients, one of the biggest challenges is not knowing immediately when there’s a fault with a computer in any of our classrooms. We obviously check them all regularly, but it’s handy to know in advance whether something isn’t working and have the opportunity to fix it between checks – which we can now see quickly and easily through NetSupport DNA.

How has NetSupport DNA helped at Ken Stimpson School?
NetSupport DNA has helped us in that we’ve moved away from our previous solution, which we used to use for remote support. The fact that now that we can use DNA and NetSupport School together – and remote onto a client computer and it’s pretty much instant – has really helped us work more efficiently. It works really well with dual monitors too, and that’s also a big plus for us.

How have you found the remote support tools in NetSupport DNA?
The remote support tools are very good! We can connect quickly and do what we need to do – and being able to mass power on computers and reboot them easily is really convenient and saves so much time. For our staff, we ensure we have the consent options activated, so that they know we’re only working on their PC when they have given us permission to do so.

How has NetSupport DNA helped with supporting your safeguarding efforts?
Our previous safeguarding solution would mark everything as an alert, producing a long list of e-safety notifications each day – the reasoning being that they didn’t want you to miss anything. However, going through them obviously took up quite a lot of staff time and many would be low level alerts of little interest, so there was a danger that important things could be missed. One of the things I like about DNA is that it groups alerts by severity, so now we can find out about the high level alerts first. It’s much better at making sure you see the most important alerts rather than them just getting lost in a big pile. So in terms of our e-safety, NetSupport DNA is leagues apart from our previous solution.

What do the IT staff at the school think of NetSupport DNA?
Our technicians find it much simpler now they can remote onto computers quickly and effectively. The energy monitoring and power management features are also really helpful for us to reduce our utility bills too. We really like the reliability of NetSupport DNA and the fact that we know it’s going to work without any problems.

NetSupport DNA includes NetSupport classroom management – what are the main benefits to teaching?
The teachers find that they can click on the NetSupport School Tutor console, it connects reliably and “just works”! They also like the fact that if they set up restricted website lists, there’s simply no way that the students will be able to access them. Our music teacher finds NetSupport School especially useful, as his students regularly use headphones. Previously, he would have to get the students to save files and then open them again on his own PC. Now, he can just listen in to see what they’re doing, so that’s a real benefit.

What’s it like working with NetSupport? Is the support good?
The support has been very good. When I’ve had an issue, I’ve emailed and the tech support team has got back to me within a short space of time, which is great.

How does NetSupport DNA compare to previous solutions the school has used?
Initially, we used a combination of Impero and Securus, and this appeared to offer what we needed. However, after experiencing quite a lot of problems which were never resolved, to now have one single solution to carry out all of our IT asset management, safeguarding and classroom management requirements is much more practical. NetSupport DNA is reliable and it works perfectly – and that is vital for us during a busy school day with hundreds of staff and student computers to manage.

How do you see NetSupport DNA supporting the school’s IT into the future?
At some point in the future, we’re planning to introduce the Report a Concern feature for students. Most of the e-safety issues we have are Facebook-based, so the fact that the students can easily take a screenshot of the detail they are concerned about as evidence is great. The student interface also is very user-friendly and shows photos of the staff they can report their concerns to and so on. In addition, we’ve just started to use the application metering feature to see which computers and which rooms certain applications are being used in. This helps us to manage our software better and ensure that we’re not paying for licences that aren’t being used fully. So this is a feature we’ll be using much more in the future.