Birchwood High School
Steve Bolton | Head of ICT and Network Team

When I was appointed Head of ICT and Network Team at Birchwood High School in September 2003 I joined the school at a very exciting time in its development. The School had successfully completed the First Phase of Technology College Status (Maths, Science, Technology and ICT) and has just been invited to apply for the shortened Phase Two (PE and ICT).

Governors, Herts LEA, Staff and the new Headteacher Chris Ingate [pictured below] have combined to successfully bid for a £12 million redevelopment of the site which will include a new Sixth Form Centre and a new Sports Centre, amongst others. This will enable the school to improve Community Provision on the Stanstead Airport side of Bishop’s Stortford.

Another project for which the school made a successful bid is the ‘Classroom of the Future’. This building, named the ‘Birchwood Development Centre’ was pre-engineered and delivered mid-August and was running functionally with wireless tablet projection six weeks later for 2000 visitors at our Open Evening.

During the Spring and Summer Terms of last year I looked at various laptop and tablet solutions from a number of manufacturers. I was impressed from our very first conversations with RockDirect. They understood our requirements and responded quickly with sensible and helpful solutions at competitive rates. They understood the pressing nature of our deadlines and really got involved with us as a partnership. The Rock T200 tablet/laptop gave us both the functionally of the laptop with the exciting possibilities of working in tablet mode with a stylus. The handwriting recognition is amazing. It seems to parse joined up writing better than separate letters, which could revolutionise note taking. RockDirect really have come up with the right product and I could not find a comparable product which offered such value for money.

At very short notice a RockDirect representative drove down from Warwickshire to join in our Open Evening to help answer questions about technology in our new centre and distribute information. We also had a good look at the first available prototype of the Pegasus TL laptop which Andrew managed to bring with him. This ultra-light laptop is aimed at the student market and has some very neat ideas. Apart from the competitive pricing and full functionality, we liked the dual boot into Linux and the low power mode button. The small size, wide screen and robust cover were impressive. We are very keen to start
leasing this technology to our Sixth Form Students.

I have a very experienced network manager who over the years has dealt with a number of suppliers. She describes Rock as a ‘pleasure to work with’. In conclusion, I would not hesitate to recommend Rock to any other Educational establishment.


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