"Good ICT is a necessity, not a luxury"

Having renewed the E2BN IT Procurement Framework contract with Think IT, we thought we should ask Neil Watkins, Think IT Director, why he thinks ICT is so important for schools? 

Very simply, good ICT is a necessity for a school, not a luxury. You can’t run an organisation the size of a school smoothly, effectively or efficiently without it. One of the biggest challenges facing schools though is ICT skills. How can a school be an expert in Broadband connectivity, network infrastructure, cyber-security, equipment, Cloud storage, productivity tools, online safety and everything else required to keep staff and learners productive and safe? I would argue that one person, or indeed one company, can't do it all. That’s why we bring together the right expertise for each individual school, all under one simple to administer contract. Our aim is to make ICT easy for schools.

Why would an organisation choose to use Think IT?

The main benefit is that we save you time and money. You don’t have to get three quotes or go out to tender – just tell us what you want and we’ll get it for you. Buying through the framework means you’re fully compliant with DfE guidance and UK procurement law. Because we work with thousands of schools across the country, we can achieve excellent value for money.

We can also help schools identify what they need, especially if they want to transform IT across the whole estate. Our Think IT Readiness Assessment starts with a 'Visioning Workshop' to identify where the school is now and where they want to be. Every single aspect of technology within the school is considered as a whole - teaching, learning, classroom management, business support, connectivity, communication and of course safety and security. The Readiness Assessment informs the IT Strategy. If required we will project manage the entire transformation.

As I've worked with so many education organisations I'm often asked to share my experience. I’m speaking at the Academies Show in London on the 25th April; my presentation is entitled “7 ways to mess up your schools’ IT….REALLY BADLY”. Everyone has at least one story about a school who got it or 'IT' spectacularly wrong. So if any of your readers have a story they'd be happy to share, anonymised of course, please contact me.

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What are people saying?

“Since using the services of Think IT and their partners, we have seen improvements in staff productivity and collaboration, and an increased use of innovative technology to support teaching & learning.”

David French, Curriculum Manager at Beeches Primary school.

"The framework provides access to the full spectrum of educational IT suppliers without the need for mini competitions so schools can buy direct without having to get 3 quotes or go out to tender, saving both time and money."

Kirstie Phillips, ICT Traded Services Manager at Nottinghamshire County

Spring Edition 'Learning Matters'

Get your copy of this term's E2BN Learning Matters here.

If you are from an E2BN member school, there should be a copy of the 'new look' E2BN Learning Matters in your staff room. If you can't find it you can access an online, interactive version here. 

To make sure that you see a copy every term why not sign up for the E2BN Blog? You'll get a copy of Learning Matters delivered directly to your email box.

E2BN renews its procurement framework partnership with Think IT

After four years of providing schools across the UK with a safe, cost-effective and easy to administer EU Tendered ICT procurement framework, the East of England Broadband Consortia (E2BN) has renewed its contract with IT product and service provider, Think IT.

The framework, specifically designed for education, was put out to tender six months early due to changes in government procurement legislation which include stricter product CPV classifications and impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The framework, which guarantees value for money, guides schools through the new legislation and removes the need for time-consumer tendering, is the Department for Education’s (DfE) recommended route to market.

Chris Kastel, CEO of E2BN said, “After evaluating several IT providers to partner with, it became very clear that Think IT was the only supplier who had the same ethics as us. Many suppliers simply want to make money regardless of what is best for the school; Think IT provides and guarantees the level of business integrity that we demand for our schools”. 

E2BN’s EU tendered procurement framework has grown over the past four years to include more than 100 approved education suppliers in 18 different product categories. The range of technologies ensures that schools can achieve the best three-year technology strategy.

Neil Watkins, managing director of Think IT said, “The past four years have seen an exceptional level of success for E2BN, ourselves and more importantly our client schools. The number of new suppliers on the contract has also exceeded our expectations. From small start-up companies to large, established organisations, this breadth ensures our schools can be guided towards the optimum solution for their specific goals”.

For further information on the procurement framework please visit http://think-it.org.uk/

Child Abuse via Live Stream

You may have seen news coverage in the last few days about the increased threat of sexual offending via Live streaming apps. As well as directing you to our new resources on Live Streaming #LiveSkills that can be used to educate children, young people, parents and carers about Live streaming, it was important that we address the behaviour of sharing images and videos of sexual abuse. 

This week, CEOP received an unprecedented number of reports about a sexual abuse video, involving two children, which has gone ‘viral’. We hope you understand that for the purposes of the ongoing safeguarding for the children involved, we are unable to release specifics about the content in the video, however, we can inform you that the children are safe and that a man has been arrested and charged with several offences in connection with this incident.
 
The advice from police in relation to this video is that if children and young people receive it on any social media platform, they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.
 
It is really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. The police have been clear that they do not want to criminalise children and that children won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.
 
For professionals and parents finding out that images and videos of abuse are being circulated by young people and adults on social media, it can be a stressful time and difficult to know what course of action to take immediately. Here are some clear steps to take and important things to remember.

  1. Please never share a video or image depicting any kind of abuse involving children
  2. Each time a video or image of abuse is shared it re-victimises the child and increases the likelihood of blackmail, feelings of self-blame and powerlessness
  3. Report it to the platform it has been shared on e.g YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc
  4. Report it to CEOP if it is an image or video of sexual abuse involving a child with a link to where the video or image is hosted e.g YouTube, Facebook.
  5. If it’s not on a public platform and in only exists on a device ie. Phone, tablet. Once reported, with authorisation of CEOP or the Police, delete it from the device it has been sent to (if offender usernames are visible make note of them)
  6. Encourage other people to report if it is being shared publicly

If you work in a school or college and are concerned about what to do with peer to peer sharing of sexual images or videos you can refer to the ‘Sexting in schools and colleges guidance’
 
If a parent or carer is worried about a child seeing inappropriate things online Thinkuknow/parents has more information.

E2BN Broadband for Central Bedfordshire Schools

E2BN specialises in providing broadband and web filtering directly to schools and can provide your school with a replacement broadband service with minimal disruption.The E2BN broadband service includes the latest version of Protex web filtering, firewall, remote access (VPN) and local technical support and guidance.

Most schools taking the E2BN service in the Central Bedfordshire area will see a price reduction for a 'like for like' service and many will have the option of a faster connection.

In order to help you make an informed decision about buying broadband, we would like to invite you and any of your colleagues to an E2BN Direct workshop session. You will have the opportunity to discuss your quote and get answers to the specific needs of your school.

We are offering the following sessions:

Thursday 11th January at Clipstone Brook Lower School, Brooklands Drive, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 3PG

There are 3 sessions available at 1.00pm, 2.30pm and 4.00pm. 

 

Monday 15th January at Shefford Lower School, School lane, Shefford, SG17 5XA

There are 2 sessions available at 10.30am and 12.00pm. 

 

To book your place, please click here

If you haven't received a quote from us or can't attend one of the workshops and would like to discuss your requirements please contact us on 01462 834588

Broadband Leaflet

Protex Web Filtering Brochure

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