Excelsior Academy was set up by the Excelsior Academy Trust and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
The academy serves the community in the west of Newcastle and actively involve families in supporting their children’s learning.
The Academy occupies new state of the art buildings which allows the delivery of a ground breaking model of education. Gaia was selected to help the Academy deliver its new build ICT Project.
Gaia delivers on time and on budget
Gaia was able to call on its own implementation teams to ensure that exact products were delivered and that work was meticulously planned in order to avoid any overruns. The focus and attention Gaia paid to the project meant that significant sums were saved from the £1.8m budget.
Secure Wireless Cloud
Gaia worked closely with the Academy to implement one of the largest wireless clouds in any school in the UK- in order to enable ‘Anywhere Learning’. A colossal 240 Wireless Access Points were distributed in key locations of the building to enable students to securely roam without interruption in and around the building. This number of Access Points is much higher density than normal and was determined to be necessary to accommodate the large number of simultaneous student connections to the wireless network.
This discreet use of ICT has been a major contributory factor in the school’s increasing levels of attainment as Notebooks used within a wireless infrastructure have provided pupils and teachers with greater access to information across every subject.
The flexibility to learn without time and place restrictions has suited pupils’ schedules, resulting in high-quality coursework.
Delivery Against the Odds
The design of the building and the weather caused delays in the construction project which endangered a delay in the Academy’s opening.
At the time of commencing work we had to deal with a number of issues surrounding support infrastructure to the Interactive Whiteboards, water leaks in the Server Rooms, and Construction delays.
Gaia, along with everyone else on site, worked tirelessly throughout the evenings, weekends and the insertion of multiple support teams in order to ensure that the delays did not cause the Academy to open later than planned. As a result, Gaia teams received the highest gratitude from the Academy Leadership Team for their dedication and their Delivery Against the Odds!
Cisco Systems as a Base Infrastructure
Gaia worked closely with the Academy to design the state of the art LAN infrastructure.
As a leading Cisco Partner, Gaia helped the Academy design and implement a Cisco based infrastructure that would protect their investments for many years to come. With industry-leading services and performance, the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch is Cisco’s flagship switching solution. It delivers the most comprehensive feature sets for core or distribution deployments.
The design involved two 10Gbps linked 6509 switches acting as a Core and linked up to 60 Cisco 3650 Switches with teamed up 4Gbps fibre SFP in 6 distribution zones around the school.
State of the Art VoIP as Standard
Gaia also worked with the Academy to design and implement a telephony system based on Cisco VoIP Call Manager and Unity.
The migration included new lines, PBX, Voice Mail, and Handsets including wireless based ones. Cisco Unified Communications Manager provides voice, video, mobility, and presence services for up to 60,000 users. The system is a scalable, distributable, and highly available enterprise-class IP telephony call-processing system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager creates a unified workspace that extends enterprise telephony features and capabilities to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, voice over IP (VoIP) gat
eways, mobile devices, and multimedia applications.
Largest Implementation of (IBM) Lenovo
The Academy has chosen for its user devices, Lenovo (IBM). Nearly 1400 Lenovo Machines have been deployed in the Academy. That is an average of one computer for every 1.2 students. An impressive ratio by any standard.
This all-new Lenovo equipment packs a complete, high performance computer into a beautifully thin design incorporating widescreen. It includes built-in wireless, the new Vista and the new Office 2007. The new devices will allow the students to do everything from sharing photos to creating movies to building websites.
To complete the picture, Gaia helped the Academy specify the portable device for students and teachers. Over 1000 Notebooks have been deployed throughout the Academy using secure trolleys.
Every device comes with the latest Microsoft Office version and a wide host of media applications. A special education pricing deal with Lenovo (IBM), brokered by Gaia, meant that the Academy was able to maximise their budget.