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Eastern Community Campus

The opening of Eastern High School was the culmination of a three-year, £26m project, jointly funded by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government through the 21st Century Schools programme. The Eastern Community Campus, built on former Cardiff & Vale College land on Trowbridge Road, replaced the existing Eastern High in Rumney, with the new campus housing 1,200 pupils from Eastern High, as well as 300 Cardiff & Vale College students.

The project sought to create an innovative partnership that addressed all technology requirements, allowing the two institutions to share the site seamlessly from day one of the school becoming operational, whilst also providing pupils with a smooth transition from GSCE’s to post-16 education and training.

Circle was awarded the contract in Autumn 2017 and began the project working with the school to shape the bespoke solutions, which would allow them to meet the on-site challenges of working in a shared facility.

The challenge

With building contractors having control of the site until days before the school opened, the challenges were vast but working together, we deployed the required infrastructure and all with minimum disruption to the actual build process.

The school needed a technology platform that was robust and could adapt and cope with future changes.

Working to a tight deadline to meet the opening of Eastern Community Campus, Circle needed to ensure a solution that would allow both organisations to share the same facility and one that was ready by the time it welcomed students in the January.

The solution

Our solution has been designed to provide the speed and resilience required to deliver a modern, media rich curriculum. The solution provides the bandwidth and performance required to support the school’s deployment of Chromebooks, ensuring that wherever and whenever a student requires IT access they can connect quickly and enjoy an ultra-fast user experience.

We also supported the integration of all business systems for both Eastern High School and Cardiff & Vale College to ensure the two organisations could share solutions such as pull printing, cashless catering and building access.

The project saw Circle creating a network using Dell EMC Networking S4000 series core switches and N2000 series edge switches. The entire site was kitted out with servers based on Dell EMC Poweredge R630 with Microsoft Windows 2016 Hyper V, allowing reliability and performance for all 1,500 users.

Our work didn’t stop with the newly implemented technology, we also provided considerable device management to support a mixed use of systems as well as end user device imaging and deployment.

The benefits

Circle delivered a succinct work programme that has allowed Eastern Community Campus to focus on its number one objective – education. We have provided reliable support that has meant the transition to the new IT infrastructure has been seamless and ensuring the school has not experienced any downtime with their network or server infrastructure since opening.

Circle’s Account Manager on the Eastern Community Campus project, shares: ‘We put in a lot of effort into recognising the challenges of the environment, especially when it comes to working in the education sector. Knowing the end goals of an institution helps us understand what we can bring to the partnership.’

As well as the successful delivery of the project, Circle provide Eastern with comprehensive managed IT support with Circle staff based on campus.

We chose Circle due to their fantastic reputation within the education sector, receiving good reviews from other institutions whilst their willingness to listen to our project needs was paramount.

The best thing about Circle is that they listen and are willing to work closely with us to meet our needs, such as the complex requirements of sharing our network with another institution, which they implemented smoothly.

We’ve been very impressed the partnership and the quality of their staff.

Eastern High School Headteacher, Armando Di Finizio

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