Falinge Park High School
Simon J. Roberts | ICT Technical Systems Manager

When I was appointed as the “ICT Technical Systems Manager” for both Falinge Park High School (FPHS) and Rochdale City Learning Centre (CLC) in May 2003 I inherited many incumbent suppliers.

Within my first few months I arranged meetings with them and found out that the majority of them were merely suppliers adding little value to my educational community. Most of them viewed the educational business sector as “an easy target” or a “quick sell”.

What FPHS and Rochdale CLC needed were strategic partners who were willing to listen to our technical business requirements and propose cost effective mutually acceptable solutions. As an educational community we were looking for “commercial partners” in the following areas, amongst others:

  • WAN and LAN solutions (based around a Cisco infrastructure)
  • Provision, support and development of software, including: operating systems, email, core applications (Microsoft based) and bespoke educational packages
  • Supply and support of pc’s, including: servers, desktops, laptops and pda’s
  • Supply and support of other peripheral equipment, including: printers, scanners, faxes and photocopiers
  • Supply, installation and support of projectors and electronic whiteboards (ewb’s)
  • Supply and support of miscellaneous innovative “educational solutions” which “add value” to both child and adult learning

One of the then suppliers was “Rock Direct”, part of the Rock Group. They had supplied some mobile computing solutions to both the school and the CLC. At our initial meetings we found it a refreshing change that they were willing to listen to both our current and envisaged needs. It soon became obvious that they were not just a supplier of mobile computing solutions with a “take it or leave it” approach. They wanted to add value and provide strategic solutions in line with our requirements.

Several phrases and comments immediately come to mind about Rock Direct during our discussions and negotiations with them:

  • Willingness to listen
  • A genuine understanding of our business requirements
  • That they (Rock Direct) needed to be price competitive without compromising on quality or service
  • That they (Rock Direct) could “think out of the box” and were very aware of the changing or rather evolving technological computing requirements of the educational business sector
  • Openness to suggestions
  • Investigate the possibility of tailored solutions to meet customer needs
  • A genuine interest in what both the school and the CLC were trying to achieve
  • Rock Direct wanted to be one of our value adding, strategic partners
  • A detailed understanding and recognition of the role of teaching and teachers. Rock wanted to simplify the use of mobile technology for teachers…. Providing them with a trouble and hassle free “laptop” that enabled them to prepare and deliver quality lessons in the classroom
  • A genuine interest in working with FPHS and the CLC in new projects that involved “e-delivery” or access to “e-information”.

Some of Rock Direct’s solutions are very apt and cost effective for classroom environments with little or no IT infrastructure. The portable classroom solution is one such example, and uses robust, state of the art laptops and wireless technology to seamlessly integrate into an existing network.

I would not hesitate in recommending Rock Direct to any educational institution. They are totally focused on delivering quality, cost effective solutions that are tailored to “your requirements”. The have extremely helpful customer services, help desk and product solutions/enquiries departments with a “nothing is too much trouble” approach.

Rock Direct have an ethic of “continual business improvement” and are always striving to raise their levels of quality and product reliability / performance. As both FPHS and Rochdale CLC we have viewed our relationship with Rock Direct as “teamwork”, i.e. we work together to meet our business goals and objectives.

In short they are totally customer focused with an understanding of the educational business sector that is second to none. A failure to discuss your educational business needs with Rock Direct would be a lost opportunity to improve the level and quality of service that you offer.



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