The Server-Free School

Consultancy support - £350 per day

Planning, procuring and supporting the implementation of a technology solution that requires no regular, on-site, technical support. Ideal for schools that need to replace a lot of old PCs and want a solution with no up-front capital costs for equipment and totally predictable revenue costs for the next three years.

I developed the Server-Free School concept with E-ACT for St Ursula’s Primary Academy in Bristol. The system uses an existing broadband connection and good quality wireless networking and replaces existing PCs with Google Chromebook laptops or Chromebox desktops. These are web-enabled devices that require no local installation of software and no server in the school. The school decides how many devices it can afford and pays £15 per device per month over three years for a fully supported service. Any devices that fail are replaced free of charge.

All software is accessed via the Chrome web browser and storage (25Gb per user) is provided and hosted free by Google (or Microsoft if the school prefers). Every user sees their own unique desktop when they log on to any device - unlike iPads or Android tablets where the apps are fixed on the device - and this is all managed online through Google’s Free Chromebook Management Console.

Schools can borrow Chromebooks for a trial period before deciding if a “server-free” solution will work for them.

If you are interested in finding out more about this exciting new solution for schools, contact me for a copy of the report produced for DfE on the St Ursula’s project.