Contact: Jonathan Morgan, Principal School: Gogarth Special School, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 1YE Web address:www.ysgolygogarth.co.uk Phone: 01492 860077 URN: 402027
Case Study Summary
Complete ICT Solution - Gaia provided a complete ICT solution to Gogarth, ensuring that it was both adaptable and accessible to meet the needs of the school.
Comprehensive ICT Support - Gaia provides Gogarth with constant ICT support and maintenance, ensuring that issues are minimised and teachers can focus on teaching.
Unlocking Innovative Learning - Gaia has sponsored a full 3D hardware and software teaching solution, enhancing student learning, particularly benefiting students who learn visually.
Developing Effective Teaching Resources - Gaia also works with Ysgol Gogarth to develop specialised teaching resources, which are both effective and innovative.
Gogarth Special School
Gogarth is a day and residential Special School currently catering for approximately 210 pupils between the ages of 3 and 19 who have a wide spectrum of additional learning needs. This includes more than 50 pupils with Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Currently the only ALN school in the local authority, Gogarth provides a specialised curriculum comprising of literacy, numeracy and life-skills.
The school has extensive experience of implementing Autism Specific Strategies such as, SPELL (Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links), ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) as well as the use of Alternative and Augmentative communication strategies such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to support pupils’ learning and development. In addition the school provides an outreach service in collaboration with the Local Authority for local mainstream schools.
Gogarth Undergoes Complete Redevelopment
In January 2014 Gogarth moved from its existing school into a purpose built facility, which included new classrooms, specialist teaching areas, therapy rooms, hydro-pool, sports hall and vocational teaching areas, as well as short-term self-contained residential and living accommodation, offering a clear division between school and home.
The schools’ goal for this project was for the facilities and resources of the new building to enhance the quality of pupils’ experience and enable a much richer engagement and learning to take place. Critical to this was the need for an ICT solution where both adaptability and accessibility were of paramount importance, especially given the additional needs of the pupils.
Following a rigorous tendering process, initiated in April 2013, Gaia were selected as the preferred bidder. With strict deadlines in place for the opening of the new building, Gaia ensured constant communication and a close relationship was developed and maintained between the school, the builder and Gaia, to ensure that the new ICT solution was fully integrated into the school.
Gaia Provides Fit-For-Purpose ICT Solution
Gaia followed the builders’ construction timetable and as each area was made ready the Gaia team followed fitting the ICT. As the build was not ready to be handed over to the school until the same week as full occupation, the Gaia team worked over the Christmas holidays and at weekends ensuring that the school’s ICT was ready for the 1st day of operation.
Gaia’s strategic relationships with suppliers and manufacturers ensured that the highest quality hardware and software was used to create a right-fit ICT solution for Gogarth.
The solution includes Cisco active networking, HP servers, Acer PC’s, Acer Laptops, iPads, Smartboards, 3D projector, iBoard Touch Screens on height adjustable trolleys, Digital Signage, adaptive and special needs peripherals and software.
“The most pleasing aspect of the experience of working with Gaia has been the personal and individualised service offered from the tender stage through to completion and into the managed service we now receive. The willingness to problem solve with us and listen and respond to the unique demands of a school like Gogarth have been evident from early in the project. Gaia have never made us feel like a client and the whole process has been conducted in the spirit of partnership with knowledgeable staff who clearly understand 21st Century schools. Technical solutions have been explained to staff at all levels of the school and local authority in a way that allowed them to make informed decisions and feel part of the overall process.
Gaia’s willingness and commitment to meeting the most demanding of schedules in order to facilitate what were extremely optimistic construction completion dates was incredible and the fact that the school opened earlier than originally planned with a full IT infrastructure cannot be underestimated. In addition, the support that the technical staff gave teaching and nonteaching staff during the first few weeks, led to a very smooth transition.” Jonathan Morgan, Principal
A Comprehensive Managed ICT Support Service
Underpinning the capital build project was a managed ICT support service, which provided a combination of both onsite and remote support from Gaia's staff of highly qualified technicians. The managed ICT support service is a combination of both reactive and proactive maintenance, giving the school peace of mind and enabling staff to focus on teaching. Gaia's support engineers are also helping to keep teachers up-to-date with a working knowledge of various classroom technologies, allowing them to deliver more engaging, technology-based lessons. Gaia continue to provide CPD when needed, using SEN specialists such as Ian Bean (www.ianbean.co.uk).
Gaia Sponsorship Helps Unlock Innovative Learning
Gaia sponsored the provision of the latest 3D hardware and software, furnishing Gogarths’ Digital Media Room with fit-for-purpose kit. Gaia provided a high specification hardware package comprising BenQ projector and Acer PC, as well as providing its market-leading 3D education software package, Gaia 3D.
This sponsorship has allowed Gogarth teachers to teach and students to learn using the very latest 3D software. The 3D software allows students to explore content in 3D and visualise complex concepts, which is especially useful for pupils with ASD, who are thought to be visual learners.
Gaia Develop Innovative Learning Solutions
Gaia have worked with Gogarth to create a number of innovative teaching resources, matched to the schools SEN curriculum needs.
Gaia Talking Heads – Bringing A School Mascot To Life
Gaia worked with the school to create a fully controllable avatar, based on Gogarths’ school mascot, John. The idea of the avatar is that some students may be more open to communicating with a familiar virtual character, compared with talking to a teacher. The avatar’s words and actions are fully controlled by the teacher, with the teacher also able to see and hear the student, allowing students to express thoughts and feelings that they may be uncomfortable sharing with a teacher.
Monkey Puzzle Animation
Gaia have also used this avatar to create an animated sign language video, with the goal of teaching students 20 Makaton signs, based on the words of the song “Monkey Puzzle” by Julia Donaldson. Gaia recorded, edited and pieced together the singing and animation, to create the finished article. Headteacher, Jonathan Morgan, said;
“Gaia have been very supportive in helping us develop a resource that helps us engage those young people in learning the signs.”
Gogarth Pupil Lets Talent Shine At Gaia
During 2015 one of the Gogarths' autistic students started a work placement at Gaia, allowing him to develop his artistic and computer design skills within the Gaia Creative Media team. Gogarth Principal Jonathan Morgan said Gaia have been “incredible” and “the investment Gaia have made in supporting him is something we’re very proud of,” - Read more about the work placement
Gaia Technologies & Ysgol Y Gogarth – The Future
Gaia continues to provide Gogarth with a leading managed ICT service as well as working with Gogarth to develop innovative, best-in-class teaching resources using the latest technology.
Gogarth Headteacher, Jonathan Morgan, is exceptionally positive about the future, not only for Gogarth, but for the continuing working relationship.
“The future is working with Gaia to develop something which isn’t the norm, which is different, just like Ysgol Y Gogarth. I’m very excited about the future. I can only see it going from strength to strength”