We were delighted to unveil the all new JSPC Showroom last month. We’re in our same location in Sompting, but we’ve completely modernised the space to reflect the cutting-edge technology available from JSPC.
Whilst we can all benefit from researching online, there really is no replacement for getting a hands-on test of any technology you might want to buy. Our friendly and knowledgeable team are on hand to help you consider your options from our new and refurbished PCs and laptops.
If you have a custom-built computer in mind, you’re also welcome to pop in and visit. You can see what is available and talk to a member of the team who will be able to understand any specifications or requirements and translate that into a PC that is designed to suit your needs.
We’re delighted at the new look of the showroom but underneath the fresh coat of paint, it’s still the same dedicated, expert service and high-quality technology products, services and support that you have come to expect from JSPC.
We are delighted to announce that JSPC is now a certified Google for Education Partner. That means we’ve been fully trained to help our schools make the most of the many exciting Google for Education tools. We pride ourselves on providing a personal service and the very best technology available for our school clients and this latest partnership ensures that we have the expertise to continue to help educators harness the value of technology in their teaching.
Making the most of technology
The possibilities for technology within the classroom can be dizzying, but our understanding of the tools available and the varying needs of schools means we can provide advice and consultancy to ensure schools make the most of the technology and embrace the many possibilities. Just like the teaching profession, we take a results-focussed approach to ensure that the tools we provide make a positive impact for teachers and pupils alike.
Maximise your technology budget
We understand that budgets remain under pressure and that’s another reason we are glad to have the training and expertise to support and deliver Google for Education, which offers an affordable solution with numerous free educational tools. The option to manage in the cloud and use shareable devices means that you can make the most of your IT investment and adapt the tools to a range of learning environments from one-on-one work to a whole class and everything in between.
Explore the benefits of Google for Education
There are a lot of benefits to Google for Education tools, but above all is the fact that they work and that’s why we’re keen to support our schools in implementing the technology. It can help with everything from engagement and personalised learning to productivity tools. We see first-hand the passion and dedication that teachers bring to their classrooms and tools such as these which are simple to set up and make an immediate impact let them concentrate on what really matters – teaching.
If you’re interested in finding out how Google for Education could transform your school, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk it through.
IT security has been on everyone’s minds this year – if you follow the news you can hardly have missed it. We’ve written articles which have appeared on this blog as well as in education magazines and business publications which highlighted how cyber attacks work and more importantly, how to protect against them. We were keen to share these articles because we think it’s important to keep up to date and take control of your IT security. That’s also why we decided to follow our own advice and get the company certified for Cyber Essentials.
Implement basic protection
Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack. It has become a prerequisite for some companies looking to supply to public sector organisations to be certified, which shows how seriously the government is taking the various threats to IT security. It also shows that organisations – from businesses to schools and public sector providers – need to take the initiative and make sure they are protected.
Five key controls
The Cyber Essentials programme has developed a robust system of self-assessment against five key controls:
- Secure configuration
- User access control
- Malware protection
- Patch management
Take IT security seriously
We have gained the Cyber Essentials certification not only to protect JSPC, but to ensure we have the latest knowledge and best-practice frameworks available to help our clients get informed and protected about IT security threats. The certification is an outward sign to demonstrate how seriously we take security at JSPC. Also, as an accreditation that should be renewed annually, it demonstrates we are committed to staying up to date and on top of the latest security threats.
If you’re interested in getting accredited for Cyber Essentials, you can find out more here: www.cyberstreetwise.com\cyberessentials. If you’re concerned that your skills or your equipment won’t pass the assessment, you’re welcome to give us a call and we can talk through the requirements and any additional training or investment you might need.
Upcoming changes to the data protection rules mean a raft of new obligations for the storing and management of data. The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) have a particular focus on data held on children and young people, which means schools are under pressure to ensure they are compliant. There are stringent fines for organisations who don’t meet the new standards; fines will be levied in accordance with the size of the organisation and the severity of the issue. Whilst schools may not be liable for fines in the hundreds of thousands of pounds like large corporate offenders, the nature of the data means that the ICO is likely to prove a tough moderator and could result in a fine and poor publicity for the school.
We’re not trying to scare anyone with this update – the rules are important and significant but from what we know of the schools we work with, very few will have any significant issues. The challenge, however, is that organisations are not only required to comply with the rules but also provide clear evidence that this is the case. At JSPC, we’re experts on technology and can provide support on how to keep your data secure, for example, or solutions for responding to data access or deletion requests, but these rules are as much about processes as technology.
This is why we’ve partnered with a specialist company, GDPR.co.uk to help schools take control and manage their own compliance. The online tool allows you to assess all aspects of current procedure and available technology and will not only highlight where action needs to be taken, but also provide confirmation of where current processes meet the required guidelines. Once you’ve identified any gaps, it’s easier to take action on the key priorities before the rules come into force in May 2018.
The new GDPR is a significant piece of legislation, brought in to reflect the changes to the way data is used and stored due to rapid technological change. We recommend the GDPR.co.uk tool because it will help you ensure compliance but also it will promote best practice across the school. Rather than seeing the new rules as a burden, it can be an opportunity to streamline processes, bolster security and provide processes which not only ensure compliance, but also support better communications with teachers, pupils and parents.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help with your school’s journey from GDPR uncertainty to full compliance.
We were delighted to have been shortlisted for Employer of the Year in the upcoming Federation of Small Business (FSB) Awards. To be on the shortlist for any award is, of course, a great honour, but in this case we’re particularly pleased because it recognises our strong commitment to teamwork. Businesses need great people to achieve any success, and we believe the people at JSPC are amongst the best!
Valuing our team means that we invest in training – not only does that mean that they’re all up to date on the latest legal requirements for schools and technical solutions but also everyone is constantly learning, keeping each role new and fresh with plenty of opportunities for the future. In addition, we also have team building days to make sure everyone works well together and each individuals’ skills is valued as part of the team.
Every single member of our 25-strong team is integral to the great service we provide to schools across the region. We genuinely feel like this nomination is a reflection of just how much we value our team, and how much great work they all do for schools every day.
The awards take place on 6th March 2018 at Sandown Park Racecourse, and we’re looking forward to the event. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the final result but either way, we feel that as an employer, we definitely have a team worth celebrating.
The Internet has introduced us all to a new world of entertainment, education, communication and much more besides. Sharing information has never been easier, which has its advantages and disadvantages, particularly for young people who can be encouraged to behave in a way they never would face to face.
It is vital that young people are given the tools to avoid these situations as much as possible and be aware of the correct way to respond should they encounter anything suspicious online.
With this in mind, this Safer Internet Day, we have collated some important tips to help you and your children stay safe online.
· Never give out personal information such as your address or phone number
· Never send pictures of yourself to anyone
· Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know
· Don’t become online ‘friends’ with people you don’t know
· Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online
· If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it
For more information on staying safe online visit www.saferinternet.org.uk or if you have a question for JSPC, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We always work closely with schools on getting as much as possible for their budget. Our work with Camelsdale School is a great example of a school making the most of the available funds and finding creative solutions to balance the books.
The school was looking to replace several old whiteboards that were long overdue an upgrade with the latest Clevertouch Plus interactive screens. Their first port of call was to apply for an Aviva Community Award but although they secured an impressive 20,000 votes, they missed out on the prize. They were, however, awarded £500 and that gave them enough motivation to keep going and launch a crowdfunding project. The crowdfunding, which started in February when Valentine’s Day brought out the generosity in the school’s parents and supporters, was also supported by the tireless efforts of the PTA.
The campaign gained momentum; the school raised enough for six of the seven screens, in part thanks to a single large donation from an anonymous donor inspired by the school’s efforts. The Community Partnership then secured the funds for the last screen from a local community grant.
It was inspiring to work with the school, not only for their great enthusiasm but also, they had a clear knowledge and understanding of how technology benefits the classroom.
Having worked so hard to raise the money for the new resources, we did all we could to make the transition as smooth as possible, removing the now obsolete white boards, transferring resources and installing the new Clevertouch Plus screens.
It was a great project to be a part of, we’re proud to have helped Camelsdale School. If there are any teachers out there who have been inspired and are thinking of crowdfunding, we’re always happy to help with the best value technology for schools.
As part of our work supporting academies and schools, we’ve undertaken some large-scale implementation projects. From classroom extensions to whole new classrooms, Learning Resource Centres and even newly built schools, any new IT resource requires careful planning and management to ensure that the installation runs smoothly. That’s why JSPC uses the PRINCE2 project management method and why we use PRINCE2 qualified consultants to head up any new implementation.
What is PRINCE2 and what does it mean for the school?
PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a structured project management method, which is widely recognised in both the public and private sector. PRINCE2 is methodical and process based, which is why JSPC has adopted it. We take all projects a step at a time and make sure that all objectives are met at every stage of the process. This can stop any problems cropping up further down the line, and save a lot of time once the solution goes live.
Does that mean our new IT will take longer to deliver?
In most cases, PRINCE2 doesn’t add any time to the length of a project. The guiding principal for any new installation is “more haste, less speed” and so having a clear system to check every stage of the project can often lead to a much smoother installation. There’s no point in taking short cuts to get a new system up and running if it breaks down the following week. We work on the basis of being both efficient and effective in all our IT projects.
What do you offer project management for?
Our expertise is with technology – from school computers to broadband installations and switching. If you’re planning any significant investment in technology resources, it’s worth ensuring that it’s managed correctly. This will ensure that the project stays on time and the budget doesn’t spiral out of control. Most of all, when it’s finished everything should work as its meant to. We’ve worked in schools and academies both as a sole provider and managing projects that require a range of different providers coming together to deliver what’s best for the organisation. In either instance, whether as a provider or as a consultant, we recommend an experienced project manager at the helm to keep a project under control. This will help you make the most of your resources and save you a lot of stress in the long run.
The 10th Worthing and Adur Business Awards took place last week on 10th November, and we at JSPC are very proud of our involvement, and the business community of the region. As part of the Adur & Worthing Business Partnership (AWBP), a not for profit organisation that is run by local businesses for local businesses, we have helped to ensure that the awards remained just as prestigious under the new management, and welcomed new entrants to represent the diversity and success across the area.
The high calibre of entries was incredibly inspiring. Our judges reviewed so many good news stories of growth, development and environmental responsibility across a range of sectors and from businesses of all sizes.
We were particularly proud that JSPC sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award, which this year was awarded to Sue Dare MBE, who has been part of the further education community in Sussex for more than 35 years. She held the title of Principal of Northbrook College from November 2009 until March this year and under her guidance it has become England’s third highest performing college. Over the years Sue has also been involved with the Sussex Learning Network, Adur & Worthing Business Partnership and was integral in setting up the Greater Brighton Economic Board.
As well as recognising the contribution of people like Sue and business talent from across the Worthing and Adur region, the awards also raised money for the charity Love Your Hospital. This is a dedicated charity for St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, Worthing Hospital and Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.
You can find out more about the awards and view a full list of this year’s winners here: https://awbawards.com/2017-winners/
As budgets are being squeezed across the education sector, we’re receiving more and more demand for refurbished technology. From laptops and tablets to storage and infrastructure, if you’re looking for a way to make your IT budget stretch as far as possible, refurbished kit might be the best approach and there are a number of advantages.
The primary advantage that attracts many of our customers is the cost; refurbished kit is from 15% – 30% cheaper than brand new equipment and this can make a huge difference if the budget has been slashed or remained static despite an increased intake of students. That lower cost also means you get more for your money – avoiding the newest model may mean you can choose an earlier option which has greater storage and faster RAM. Using refurbished kit also offers advantages beyond the obvious cost and value benefits.
Using refurbished technology means you can hedge against obsolescence and ease into any transitions without disruption. In addition, it means you can maintain compatibility across an institution, rather than the technical issues (and possible dissatisfaction) of some parts of the school having newer equipment than others. This might also mean different people are on different versions of software, which not only costs more but also can cause difficulties with workflow.
This approach can also help your IT team as it means that everyone is on the same integrated, compatible system. Rather than needing a whole new procedure for each new release and addition to the IT resources, refurbished equipment from previous generations can allow you to have the same kit across the school, making procedures and support much simpler.
Refurbished technology is also great from an environmental point of view and if you have goals relating to sustainability then this is one way to achieve them. Often, there is nothing wrong with the equipment prior to refurbishment, it could be an old store display model, or have one faulty part which is quickly replaced. However, if this technology isn’t refurbished and resold, it will end up in landfill. This means you’re not only helping your IT budget go further, you’re also making sure the school does its bit to reduce e-waste and save the planet.
Making the most of your IT budget can also mean that you’re able to install a wider range of technologies and allow students to take advantage of this and test them to their limits. You may not be comfortable letting a class loose on brand new, sensitive tablets which cost a fortune and may shatter during the first lesson. However, if you’ve managed to get a significant cost reduction, and you’re able to opt for a model which is proven to be robust, for example, or particularly suited to your needs then it’s not just about how much of a cost reduction you can get on your IT resources, it’s about all the value that can be returned to the classroom.