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Newcastle ICT firm secures £650,000 school contract

Newcastle ICT firm, Calibre Secured Networks Ltd has secured a £650,000 contract to provide a Sunderland school with IT.

The five year deal is to supply and support St Aidan’s Catholic Academy with a high speed wireless network and is expected to create new jobs.

The installation will be the largest of its type in the North East and is the latest success for rapidly expanding Calibre, which won the contract in the face of strong competition from large national suppliers.

Once in place, the network will provide school staff and over 1,200 students with better and safer access to mobile smartphone and tablet-based ICT services and online study aids.

It will be able to support mobile devices such as IPhones, enabling students to use their own laptop, mobile phones and tablets in school while teaching staff will be able to manage and control access to content to ensure it is educational.

Headteacher Stephen Hammond said: “It will put modern technology at the heart of student learning and enable a seamless transition from school to home allowing pupils’ access to anytime, anyplace learning.”

The contract reflects continued strong growth for Calibre, which utilises the latest advanced technology and software systems from Cisco and other leading vendors to design and develop integrated and bespoke security focused IT solutions.

Turnover has more than doubled in the last year for the Charlotte Square-based Cisco premier partner with expansion set to continue for the next 12 months on the back of continued new business and organic growth.

Solutions architect Steve Nelson, who is an industry veteran and recognised expert, joined the company in its first year back in 2008 and has worked for more than three years with a team of experts and contractors on a regular long term basis.

He said the St Aidan’s Catholic Academy is a major coup for the company, reflecting increasing demand from public sector organisations for highly engineered bespoke solutions, and provides a ‘fantastic’ springboard for further expansion in the education sector.

He said: “We will providing a range of high quality network and data storage services which ensure the school is able to meet the education needs of students not only now but well into the future.

“Our flexible solution offers excellent value for money and will see us working in partnership with the school to deliver quality technology, support and expertise as the new system comes online.”

Using Meraki technology enables the school to retain management of mobile devices belonging to students and staff, enabling installation of software, apps relevant to subjects and antivirus programs. It will also enable Google Safesearch and Educational You Tube services to be available on demand and send tailored messages to different groups and even locate lost or misplaced devices.

Glenn Sanderson, head of Key Stage 4 at St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, said the school had to upgrade to reliable, high speed wireless network to meet current and future teaching needs.

“We were extremely impressed with Calibre’s ability to provide a cost effective solution which will not only deliver cost benefits but can be adapted to meet the future needs of staff and students as new teaching technology becomes available.

“Their transparency about costs was very impressive while they explained the network to all involved with the school in a way that was for non-technical people to understand.”

Steve Nelson has experience working for companies such as BT, Virgin Money and HBOS among other multinationals providing advice and expertise. Certified to ISO 27001 (information security), Calibre solutions not only protect systems which operate and control email accounts, ICT and internet equipment, Voice over IP and other services from cyber attacks but also improve productivity, save money and provide peace of mind.

Calibre already supplies ICT systems to a number of North East-based businesses and organisations.

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