Wapping High School

About the school

Wapping High School was originally founded in 2009 as a Trust by three parents wanting a greater choice in the education that was available to their children.

Through a series of campaigns across the local community, interest in a new school grew and, after sufficient lobbying, the school was granted free school status by the Department of Education in October 2010. After a period in temporary accommodation, in September 2013, the school moved into its permanent address. The school currently has 126 pupils and plans to grow each year to reach its desired capacity of 420 children.

The Challenge

Due to its free school status, Wapping High School has high levels of autonomy over the way it educates its students. The school and governors have aspirations to provide a learning experience that truly prepares each student for university and beyond.

In working towards these aspirations, the school aims to forge greater links to the city, providing pupils with mentorship opportunities and access to vocational courses such as computer programming. For this, Wapping High advocates the use of IT infrastructure and places digital technology firmly at the centre of the learning process. The school aims to use e-books across the curriculum, enable live video streaming for demonstrations and provide a personalised timetable. To aide this, every pupil was provided with a personal Chromebook and Wiki page.

With so many different web applications running and a continuous need for access, the governors realised that connectivity would be paramount to the success of the learning environment they were trying to create, and that uptime would be mission-critical. Governess Kerstyn Comley comments: “Downtime would be hugely disruptive, not just to learning but to the management of a school… equivalent to how we would try to cope without electricity.”

The Approach

A formal request to tender was sent out to a number of connectivity providers in early 2013, identifying the need to provide resilient connectivity to the premises, capable of supporting all bandwidth requirements without disruption. In order to achieve this, Wapping High knew that it would need multiple independent connections, including different entry points to the building and sufficient resilience at street and exchange level.

Luminet proposed a 200Mbps Fibre line on a 1Gbps bearer, which entered the premises at street level, supported by a 200Mbps Wireless link capable of achieving speeds of 1Gbps.

While the school did not need the full bandwidth immediately, it was important to have the capability able to scale to 1Gbps, as both the school and connectivity demand from applications were set to grow.

Of the suppliers able to meet the diversity requirement, Comley states that the Luminet service was chosen “Firstly, due to the cost to deploy, but it wasn’t just cost which was attractive, we knew people who have used a Luminet connection to meet their high bandwidth needs and they have been nothing but complimentary.”

Luminet brought other benefits for the installation too. Mid-summer holidays, while the new school site was under construction, there was no power available which meant that visiting BT engineers were unable to schedule Fibre installation until late September. A delay of this nature would have had a significant impact on the school, as it meant none of the systems would have been accessible to students.

However because Luminet owns and manages the ‘last mile’ of connectivity, the Wireless link could be installed without delay once power was switched on.

The Results

Wireless connectivity was coordinated within days of the building being linked to the National Grid in June. This meant Luminet connectivity was in place ahead of the third-party IT fit-out, which made the process of fitting out the school much smoother for the governors. The wireless Luminet connection was used as the school’s primary connection until BT was ready to support Luminet Fibre connectivity in late September. Comley comments; “The installation just happened; very straightforward, which meant I was allowed to focus on other things – a very good sign!”

With the Fibre connection up and running, the wireless link became the school’s independent secondary connection needed for failover. Luminet has provided Wapping High with two truly independent symmetrical connections of 200Mb. Since installation, both lines have run without interruption.

While the school did not need the full bandwidth immediately, it was important to have the capability able to scale to 1Gbps, as both the school and connectivity demand from applications were set to grow.

Of the suppliers able to meet the diversity requirement, Comley states that the Luminet service was chosen “Firstly, due to the cost to deploy, but it wasn’t just cost which was attractive, we knew people who have used a Luminet connection to meet their high bandwidth needs and they have been nothing but complimentary.”

Luminet brought other benefits for the installation too. Mid-summer holidays, while the new school site was under construction, there was no power available which meant that visiting BT engineers were unable to schedule Fibre installation until late September. A delay of this nature would have had a significant impact on the school, as it meant none of the systems would have been accessible to students.

However because Luminet owns and manages the ‘last mile’ of connectivity, the Wireless link could be installed without delay once power was switched on.