The opportunity for a school to move into a brand new building doesn’t happen very often, the project was time critical and marked the start of a bright new future for everyone – 1,200 students and 150 staff. The Headteacher, Lee Tristham and the project team had one aim, aim high, accept nothing but the best.
Under the Building Schools for the Future programme, the original 1960’s buildings were replaced with a state-of-the-art new construction, boasting the very latest in educational equipment throughout. This included a complete upgrade of all the ICT systems, with large, touchscreen displays incorporated into every classroom and many of the public areas.
In all, Charlton was planning to install no fewer than 56 wall-mounted 65” Clevertouch Plus displays into the classrooms, and 16 information displays of various sizes elsewhere across the campus, including a 84” screen in the main foyer.
Nothing but the best brought a need for greater flexibility. The Music, PE and Open Learning areas required 9 mobile, electric, height adjustable mounts carrying 55” displays.
At the same time some 280 laptops needed to be upgraded to Windows 10, plus 300 new ones purchased, configured and installed. With additional scope to source and configure iPads for most of the teaching staff (C.120). A (ICT) budget of £700,000 was allocated to the project.
Telford & Wrekin ICT Support Services
Responsibility for this significant project lay with Owen Teece, ICT Desktop Support Manager, his team of two assistants, backed up by and his counterpart in the ICT Support Services team in Telford & Wrekin Council, Andy Brookes.
Owen and Andy knew that execution and delivery for this project was critical. The new displays would be central to every classroom and any delays or failures would be immediately visible to both teaching staff and students.
To complicate matters, building over-runs meant the team had only a two week window in which to complete the installation and testing.
In planning the project, Andy was able to call on his team’s experience across the Telford and Wrekin area, working across over 90 schools, collaborating and sharing their expertise across both Primary and Secondary, LEA and Academies, as well as a Free School. With an experienced team around him, Andy was able to quickly identify a core of trusted suppliers and to build upon proven, long term partnerships.
When it came to mounting the displays Andy and Owen had no hesitation in selecting Loxit Products, supplied by AV integrator, CDEC.
Loxit has delivered a wide range of mounting systems for Telford & Wrekin over the years and has proved the perfect partner. Andy states: “Although it is ultimately the school’s decision, we have no hesitation in recommending Loxit. Whenever we have installed Loxit products, we have found them to be robust, reliable and built to the highest quality.”
Owen Teece fully supported this assessment: “Loxit was originally proposed by CDEC as part of the overall package and we have been thrilled with the results. We found Loxit products to be extraordinarily robust, and with our strong emphasis on safety for the students this was a critical consideration.
All the Loxit mounts we looked at had excellent build quality, were reasonably priced and beautifully designed. This is clearly a company that understands the needs of its customers.”
This was no surprise to Toni Barnett and her team at CDEC. The Kent-based AV Integrator has been fulfilling the AV needs of both the corporate and public sectors since 2000 and has a particular focus on the education sector.
CDEC’s breadth of experience in the installation of displays within all manner of locations meant the choice of mount supplier was critical to its success and on-going reputation. Loxit has been a supplier and collaborator since the early days of CDEC, this trusted relationship has grown and grown.
As Richard Sullivan, the manager responsible for Charlton put it: “We at CDEC need to have total confidence in our AV mounting partner, and Loxit has made this easy for us. The Loxit products are sturdy, reliable, well designed and highly adaptable. The company has always met our supply requirements – very important for complex projects with tight deadlines. And both Andy and John Whittle, the directors, are genuinely nice guys – very amenable, and ready to adapt to meet the needs of our customers.”
At Charlton, Owen Teece had allowed two full weeks for the installation of the 80-plus displays, which left little time to test the new Clevershare software before the teachers moved in. To his delight, every mount was in place within the first week, something which he put squarely down to Loxit.
“The thought that Loxit put into the designs, packaging and manuals is top class, and meant we were able to complete the installations in less than half the time allowed. This was a huge benefit for us, especially considering the pressure we were under.”
The CDEC engineers and Owen’s team fitted 56 Loxit heavy-duty wall mounts into the classrooms. These were mostly standard fittings with a few of Loxit’s new award-winning Slimline Wall to Floor mounts, this mount is perfect where the strength (and integrity) of the walls is questionable.
Another 16 similar mounts found homes in various public spaces in the new school including the cafe, several meeting areas and reception. The largest of these was the central 84” display in the main foyer.
In addition the mobile teaching areas, subjects such as Music, PE and the Open Learning Zone, were all treated to the latest Loxit Hi-Lo Mono Mobile mounting system. This incorporates electric, one-touch, height adjustment for more flexible usage. These mounts enable 55” displays to be placed exactly where they are needed, and set to the perfect height.
The date for Charlton’s move was finally set for the 2016 Whitsun holiday, half term week. To the delight of most of the children, an additional week’s break was announced, and then with huge excitement, on Monday 13th June, the school re-opened in its new home.
As the students settled into their new surroundings, enjoying their first lessons using the new display technology, the contribution of Loxit to the overall experience was often hidden. Which is exactly as it should be, the only exception being the mobile trolley mounts.
Owen Teece knows how important Loxit’s quality, reliability and ease of installation was to his team’s massive project. While Owen can heave a huge sigh of relief, he is also keeping an eye on the future for Charlton. The school has since become an Academy and with this, no doubt, will come further projects providing more challenges. But he knows that whatever future AV needs emerge, Loxit and CDEC have proved to be excellent partners.
Behind the scenes
A major part of the projects success came from the speed at which the screen mounts could be installed. Loxit’s production and pre-delivery processes ensured the work onsite was quick and efficient. We’ve already talked about the quality of the design that goes into every Loxit product, but that’s just the start of a much bigger story that happens behind the scenes with every product we produce.
For us, production goes way beyond the making and packaging our products, every item is pre-built and tested to ensure that what is delivered on-site works first time, straight out of the box. We’ve also invested a lot of time creating simple fitting instructions and to help the installation teams save time, we provide useful things like quick fixing guides for wall mounts. All of these items are carefully packed with the pre-built product so that no time is wasted during the installation process.