Counterpoint MTC Ltd
Counterpoint MTC Ltd

Case Study: Thurston Community College, Suffolk

Installed Solution

School Details

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Pupils: 1,700

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Thurston Community College is a comprehensive school for pupils aged 11-18 years, and following the integration of a former middle school, is now the biggest school in west Suffolk. Performing arts have long been a strength of the school.

By 2014, the music and media departments had accumulated approximately fifty Apple computers, operating in a standalone network. There were no links to the main Windows network, students couldn't access their work from other subjects, and user names and passwords were not consistent across the two platforms.

Despite this, it was evident that Apple computers were highly productive within a lesson timeframe; students were able to achieve results of a high standard, but they were restricted to using one system consistently, and work was not robustly backed-up.

Thurston Community College

To coincide with the expansion of the college to include a new sixth-form centre some distance from the main school, Thurston's IT Services Manager, Thomas Phillips, set out to investigate prospective Apple partners.

"We had worked with two of the major UK Apple resellers over the previous six years, and we were determined to realise improvements in the operation of our Mac's. Fundamentally, we wanted our Apple computers to work as well on our network as our PC's do, but none of the previous Apple suppliers had been able to provide this."

Counterpoint were one of several companies approached by Thurston, following recommendation from other Suffolk schools.

"From the outset, Counterpoint were different. Their concepts and confidence was unique; as was their understanding of education. All the other companies offered various levels of compromise, but Counterpoint offered the level of integration with our Windows network that we wanted, and they were confident they could deliver an integrated solution that would work across our two sites."

- Thomas Phillips, IT Services Manager

Counterpoint were subsequently appointed to provide OS & RAM updates to all existing Mac's, new Mac's for the new site, servers & storage, and full network configuration including ongoing technical support.

"Counterpoint's installation process was exemplary. The team were well briefed, they worked quickly and well to achieve results, and placed minimal demands on our own technical staff. We were impressed with their attention to detail and efficiency, and their testing was extensive - which is important for a school."

- Thomas Phillips, IT Services Manager

Following the opening of the new site, Counterpoint's technical team have been providing support to Thurston's IT team and teaching staff.

"Our relationship with Counterpoint is ongoing, and they have the same approach post-sale as it did pre-sale. The speed and quality of Counterpoint's technical support means we don't see a requirement for an onsite Apple technician, in fact technical support issues are few and far between."

For pupils and staff at Thurston Community College, the new Apple network is delivering to expectations.

"We were always reluctant to accept compromises, but all the other Apple suppliers were offering the same level of operation; only Counterpoint offered what we actually wanted. We now manage user accounts centrally, work is automatically saved to the students Mac home folders on the network, and they can access their Windows home folders from the Macs."

The quality of media and music projects now is outstanding, and a significant improvement over previous years. "Students are more engaged in the creative subjects, and more consistently on-task. They are treating the systems with greater respect, and achieving more than they were able to before."

"Counterpoint's Apple network configuration is the first I've encountered which I would describe as being fit-for-purpose within a School."

- Thomas Phillips, IT Services Manager

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