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Ansford Academy

swcomms migrates Ansford Academy from their incumbent SomerNet internet service to a new connectivity and web filtering solution designed for the education sector.

Ansford Academy is a mixed comprehensive school with 640 students, 40 teaching staff and 30 support staff serving a large rural catchment area in south-east Somerset. The Academy needed to move away from its current internet connectivity provider, SomerNet, as the service was due to be ceased. In addition, despite being served by a 100Mbps connection, they only ever really received speeds of 20Mbps due to it being shared by other schools in the area. However, moving away from SomerNet meant losing their web and content filtering service too, so the Academy needed to find a replacement that was suitable for school use. They also wanted to refresh their IT infrastructure to enable their students to be able to use mobile devices effectively. The Academy already had a wireless network in place with 23 access points throughout the campus, but the coverage was still poor.

swcomms designed a single solution that included all the elements the Academy required:

Internet connectivity
We provided a private 1Gpbs leased line connection which gives them guaranteed download and upload speeds of 100Mpbs with an option to increase their bandwidth if needed.

Web & content filtering The Smoothwall unified threat management and secure web gateway firewall solution prevents malicious intrusion and filters content to protect the Academy’s network from viruses, malware, etc. It also prevents pupils from viewing unsuitable content in line with Government duty of care legislation, the Prevent Duty Guidance, and therefore meeting Ofsted requirements. The Smoothwall solution is intelligent and flexible enough to support learning by allowing the Academy’s IT manager to set parameters based on user type, e.g. teacher or student or year group, time of day, location, etc. to reflect true ‘who, what, when, where’ policies. This gives teachers an opportunity to use the Internet more freely while providing students controlled access to useful web content to support their learning.

Wireless local area network
We replaced their existing WiFi access points with a Cisco Meraki solution which included 32 access points to give the Academy the coverage they needed while also enabling a high density of mobile devices. The Meraki solution allows students to safely log onto the network using their own devices and using an authentication process that is determined by the Academy’s active directory.

swcomms rolled out the entire solution during the summer holiday to minimise disruption. The Academy now has the connectivity and filtering infrastructure in place to support the school’s ever-changing IT needs. Our solution means administration staff, teachers and students enjoy improved internet speeds and WiFi access. The Smoothwall solution also analyses and categorises web content in real time without solely relying on URL blacklists which can quickly become outdated. This protects both staff and students from inappropriate or illegal content, and gives the IT manager and visibility and control of everything they access on the web, even if they are using their own devices.

Glenn Tracey, Ansford Academy’s IT manager, said: “The transition over to our own leased line was smooth and the service provided by swcomms has been excellent! Smoothwall is also a fantastic product and well worth the money.”


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