When Cathedral School needed to replace its ageing computers and whiteboards, it chose Total Computers to provide new devices through a three-year HP leasing deal. Total images and asset tags the machines, installs the whiteboards and has helped the school simplify life for its teachers by ensuring every classroom has identical equipment.
Cathedral School, in the Cardiff suburb of Llandaff, is an independent day school catering for boys and girls, aged from three to eighteen. Founded more than a hundred years ago, originally to train choir boys for Llandaff Cathedral, former students include singer Charlotte Church, author Roald Dahl, ex-MP and Cabinet Minister Simon Hughes, and two recipients of the Victoria Cross.
Expansion of the school and investment in a new building had created a demand for new IT equipment. At the same time, much of the school’s existing IT estate was reaching the end of its useful life.
Like many educational establishments, the school had historically acquired IT piecemeal, with a variety of computers and whiteboards from different suppliers.
“We had a mismatch with many different types of computers and whiteboards in different rooms,” explains Nic Patterson, Head of ICT at Cathedral School. “This made it difficult for teachers to move from classroom to classroom, so we wanted to streamline the equipment to have the same thing everywhere.”
To address these issues, the school decided to replace its computers and whiteboards, standardising on HP laptops and desktops, and SMART whiteboards. It chose to work with Total Computers, based primarily on strong previous relationships, and on Total’s competitive pricing.
The upgrade was planned in three rollouts over three consecutive years, each to take place in the school summer holidays. So far, the first phase is complete, with the second phase planned and about to start.
“The cost of doing the refresh in one go would have been too high, and it’s easier to manage the rollout in three parts,” says Robert Leek, Bursar at Cathedral School. “We also had some fairly new equipment that we had recently bought, and didn’t want to replace that straight away.”
Total helped the school select the right units from the extensive HP range to obtain best value pricing. To date, Total has supplied and installed 26 interactive whiteboards, and around 250 PCs and laptops, and in the next rollout will provide 108 tablets. Overall, it will supply 24 computers each to the school’s three IT suites, as well as machines for other areas such as the library, music technology suite, the art studio and every classroom will have a new whiteboard and a PC linked to it.
All the equipment is leased from HP, and Robert comments, “The cost of leasing was the same as depreciating bought equipment over three years, but by leasing we benefit from extra support from HP, such as next day repairs, and we don’t have to dispose of the assets at end of life.”
“The first rollout was very successful, with Total working well with us. Now, every classroom within the senior building and the new building has the same equipment, and we’ve also given some laptops to staff,” says Nic. “The plan for the next phase is similar.”
The HP computers are first delivered to Total, and Total then images, asset tags and warranty registers each machine, before re-boxing them and shipping them to the school.
“The imaging and asset tagging saves time for us and makes our life easier – we would not have had time to do this ourselves,” says Nic. “Total manages the timing well of when to ship the equipment to us, and aligns costs with our budget timetable – they’ve always kept their promises.”
“We’re getting a very competitive price,” says Robert. “We obtained multiple quotes, and researched costs, and Total came out best – the competitive pricing and the service on offer were factors we considered when deciding the company we’re going to buy from.”
Previously, the school had whiteboards that were different sizes, so the computer desktop appeared differently, and multiple versions of software. The PCs in the classrooms were of different ages, and had different profiles and boot-up times.
“Now, the whiteboards are the same and set up identically, so teachers can teach easily in any classroom, which is important to us,” says Robert. “The staff are more confident in the technology, it’s eased their frustration, and we’re not getting firefighting issues like we did before.”
“We have an excellent relationship with Total, and when we have questions, they respond very quickly,” says Nic. “Our Total account manager acts as a good link to HP and SMART, and helps those relationships run smoothly.”
“Total has never let us down, and they’ve done what they said they’d do,” says Nic. “They talk to us like humans, not as if we were strangers.”
Robert concludes, “Total understands the education market, and our needs as a school, rather than treating us as just another business.”