The main aim of the Computer Services Department is to deliver a prompt and effective IT support service via a single point of contact for both staff and students. In addition to providing first level support, the department is tasked with maintaining the school's data, telephony, security and audio visual infrastructure and all associated IT equipment.
The primary network operating system is Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, upon which runs the schools Active Directory environment, file, print and email servers utilising Microsoft Exchange 2013, as well as an extensive number of virtual servers. During the summer of 2010, Microsoft's Windows 7 Professional desktop operating system was deployed across the site to the schools workstations. The preferred deployment method is Windows Deployment Services running alongside Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 (MDT 2010). Windows 10 deployment is due in 2017.
Virtualisation technology is provided by the VMWare ESXi hypervisor operating system in a 4 node cluster connected at 10Gbps, managed by VMWare vCentre Server. This environment also has direct management of both the physical and virtual server environments including the Cisco network infrastructure for Madeley Academy.
Within the virtual environment, features such as High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and VMotion are taken advantage of, providing automatic redundancy, failover and the ability to move live virtual servers between cluster nodes on the fly.
The School has a significant Internet presence at Telford with a primary 100Mbps connection and a diverse secondary 10Mbps connection. Multiple dedicated web servers running Windows IIS, host all online content, including Thomas Telford School's Online Curriculum and web sites. Additionally, Madeley Academy and Bulwell Academy web sites are hosted within our data-centre. Historically our content has reached over a million students nationally, and over 1,000 schools have previously subscribed to our online content. All servers are managed and maintained by the Computer Services staff.
The School Extranet, a private connection to our network, makes all user content accessible to Students and Staff from anywhere in the world via our own homepage. This virtual office environment allows both Staff and Students to transfer work to and from school. Only staff and students with current user IDs and passwords are able to make use of this facility.
A Unified Threat Management solution was installed in the spring of 2016 with the deployment of 2 Sophos UTM SG450 Appliances. Internet content filtering, Email Spam and malicious content filtering, corporate and guest WiFi networks and network firewall services are a selection of the services managed by these devices. Additionally, redundancy and failover of the schools 2 internet connections is also managed by these appliances, ensuring that the school does not experience any internet down time.
This is complemented by Sophos Anti-virus products, which are installed site wide to provide the school with protection against virus infection and the installation of malware and spyware.
Network maintenance and system monitoring is managed centrally. All PCs have remote management capability, which enables the system administrator to monitor, and if required, take control of any PC where a student may be having difficulties.
For almost 2 decades, high specification Dell Precision Workstations have been the corner stone of IT in the classroom. Offering extreme reliability and performance, these workstations provide a solid solution for computer provision throughout the school.
Additionally, Dell is also the preferred provider for our Server and Storage solutions within the schools dedicated data centre environment. Dell PowerEdge servers provide the power and capacity to run all of the schools computerised systems and extensive virtual server estate.
A Dell Compellent Storage Area Network (SAN) provides a reliable and scalable storage platform for the schools data storage requirements. Consisting of a dual controller primary SAN in the main data centre; a secondary SAN located elsewhere in the building provides direct replication of the primary SAN data in the event of disaster recovery.
The school has always embraced the use of digital media. To keep ahead of such media consumption, 2 video editors and 2 web developers are employed full time.
Our video editors take advantage of numerous professional facilities to capture, edit and produce the professional content that can be seen every week in the schools broadcast and on numerous achievement videos throughout the year, as well as any content required for the schools online curriculum. HD cameras are primarily used to capture content, whether it be on the sports field, green screen equipped recording studio or throughout the school itself.
Avid Media Composer is used to edit and produce the captured footage.
Our web developers complement this with the design, production and maintenance of the multiple in-house platforms we implement to satisfy our digital needs. Using the latest Microsoft Visual Studio tools, web sites for Thomas Telford School and associated academies are developed as well as the schools long standing Online Curriculum and other bespoke web and data packages.
Within the Computer Services Department there is a continued desire to move the existing technology forward and maintain Thomas Telford's position as a leading City Technology College both academically and technically. To this end we intend to continue to research new technologies that will complement the delivery of the curriculum. We believe that we are in a position to make available a range of exciting tools that will make the learning experience for our students both effective and enjoyable.
Dave Smith - IT Director
Chris Watson - IT Support Engineer
Leigh Smith - Senior Developer
Jonathan Hammond - Video Editor
Martin Davies - Video Editor
Connor Bradley - Web Developer
All Information Technology support for both staff and students is managed via the Computer Services Department. Computer Services provide a ‘helpdesk’ facility, which is located centrally within the School. Students and staff can call at the helpdesk between 08:00 and 17:15 to receive help and support.
The IT Director is responsible for the day-to-day running of the department. In addition all IT purchases and maintenance issues are made at this level. The IT Director is a qualified Novell MCNE and ultimately responsible for support, maintenance, and future planning of the entire network.
The IT Support Staff provide a first point of contact for both staff and students. All service requests are logged, prioritised and allocated at the Help Desk. The IT Support Staff provide a rapid response to service requests. They are required to resolve all manner of IT related problems effectively and in an informative manner.
All Online Curriculum and Website support for both staff and students along with video, editing, web, graphics and flash animation work is managed and produced via the Media Services Department.
A weekly Broadcast is produced and uploaded to the website along with a weekly Star Student.