About Darlington College
Darlington College serves the communities of South West Durham, Darlington and North Yorkshire. The college has 2,100 full-time and 6,500 part-time students, with 600 higher education students and employs over 550 members of staff. Their ICT support is provided by RM to help ensure that their students have the best possible learning experience during their time at the college.
Tim Grant, Darlington College's Principal and Chief Executive, kindly spoke to us about the college's experience with their ICT support service from RM Education...
1. Please can you give a brief outline of the college, particularly its focus and philosophy?
Darlington College is a further education college, serving the communities of South West Durham, Darlington and North Yorkshire. The college extended into a new facility in 2006 and has recently refurbished areas like the Learning Resource Centre, Student Services Area, science, construction and engineering facilities and has also introduced a new outdoor recreation facility.
The college aims to create an environment more like a university than a school, with outstanding facilities and a purposeful learning atmosphere. A partner college provides A-levels in the town and Darlington College provides for the needs of everybody else.
Darlington College and its ICT support service
2. How important is ICT to your college?
In a modern learning environment, ICT is an essential utility - as important as gas, water and electricity. Without ICT the college would be unable to function, so we need to guarantee our ICT services.
3. What made you decide to look for a managed service for your ICT support?
Darlington College is a large organisation needing a high quality ICT service, but is not large enough to support a high calibre network team with all of the expertise needed.
In looking for a partner, there were two key requirements:
- The company provided a well-thought-through service level agreement
- The company was flexible and prepared to change
In the lifetime of the contract, we expect massive changes in technology. For example, in the last four years we have moved from a position where we provided lots of desktop PCs, to one that actively makes use of tablets and smartphones and has now seen a reduction in fixed location PCs. We enabled 'bring your own device' (BYOD) with a managed wireless solution that provides staff and students with online access wherever they are in the college.
4. What are the main reasons you selected RM Education as your partner?
There were two main reasons we have continued to partner with RM Education:
- We have a good track record and relationship with RM, built over 13 years of operation. We get good support from the RM central team
- The RM team on the ground is very good
5. What has your ICT support service from RM enabled you to do?
The goal of the service is to be not noticed as there aren't any problems. We have had nearly 100% availability.With 2,100 students, we can't afford to have the network down.
Staff use Outlook to manage their time and, without this, they simply don't know where they are supposed to be. Likewise, we use Office 365 for students, utilising email and storage. Using this cloud technology means we need 100% network availability.
We also expect our partner to be hot on new technologies to help the college save money or improve the service offered. We have recently adopted RM Unify to provide simple access to our cloud services.
6. Would you recommend a flexible ICT support service fro RM to others?
I would definitely recommend that colleges outsource the management of their ICT network and infrastructure and, given our good experience over a number of years, I would recommend that they look at RM as a potential partner.
If you would like to talk to RM Education about a bespoke ICT support solution for your school, delivered by a trusted partner, please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get in touch, or call us on 0808 172 9534.