Bringing MidCoast Christian College into the 21st century
Like many other regional schools, MidCoast Christian College faced an IT challenge as it moved into providing 21st century education.
To meet the needs of their students, they needed reliable and secure IT systems.
However, they simply did not have the internal capabilities to achieve this on an education budget.
“Our internal capabilities were left in the 20th century, and we needed 21st century skills and experience. You can’t achieve that by hiring individuals in regional areas,” says Mr Andrew Kent, MidCoast Christian College’s Business Manager. “I could pay heaps of money for one internal IT person – but they’ll only do one specific thing. Which is why a managed IT provider is the way to go. There’s just no way regional schools can compete for the limited staffing pool and excessive costs.”
The College was facing a complete overhaul of their systems, with all their internal capabilities and technology failing to meet the new challenges brought by rapid technological change in the industry.
“You name it, we didn’t have it. We just couldn’t cope with the technological expectations of the education provision for staff, students and their families,” Mr Kent says. “There were constant issues and complaints. The teachers were so frustrated, their issues and complaints reached senior management.”
Reliability is key
Mr Kent and his team were adamant that their students deserved the very best when it came to school infrastructure and technology.
“For modern schools, technology is so important. It’s the number two top expenditure. The only thing we spend more on is our staff,” Mr Kent remarks. “For us, students come first. They must have the tools to allow them to get experience, knowledge and understanding of the world in which they operate – which is tech driven.”
For Mr Kent and his team, knowledge of technology and critical thinking go hand in hand.
“When they leave Year 12, we want them to be critical thinkers who have been exposed to the real world,” Mr Kent says. “We want them to be able to look at technology and question: ‘Is this something that I should be using? How does this work for me?’. Unless you expose them to technology, they won’t be able to work that out.”
“Education is the destination we’re striving towards– and technology is part of the ‘railway tracks’ that guide our students there.”
Tackling the change
Prior to Mr Kent joining the team at MidCoast Christian College, the previous Business Manager had set up a five-year contract with NetStrategy to tackle the school’s technological transformation
“To kick off the partnership, NetStrategy audited the staff skill set, the tech, backup systems, and general infrastructure of the entire school,” Mr Kent says.
The audit revealed that much of the school’s infrastructure needed an overhaul – including their internet connection, servers, staffing structure and cybersecurity measures.
As Mr Kent joined the College’s team, he witnessed the impact of NetStrategy’s work to completely rebuild the school’s technology.
“Our school’s infrastructure now just works. And that’s great because when it works, everyone feels more confident,” says Mr Kent. “For us, that feeling is just as important as the technical side of what we’ve achieved.”
This feeling of confidence led to the College investing in a longer partnership with NetStrategy.
“After I reviewed the existing contract in 2019, I was happy to recommend to the board a new eight-year contract with NetStrategy, which is a massive decision,” Mr Kent says. “Together, we’re strategically planning about how we’re going to further develop our IT. This partnership says to them and us – we want to be continuously successful and build on that success.”
Best of all, the ongoing partnership has brought a sense of calm and security for the school community – from the very top, down to every staff member and student.
“Our principal is so thankful to NetStrategy. Before we brought them in, he was so worried about our school’s IT infrastructure. There were so many complaints day in and day out…and now he doesn’t get any complaints at all,” Mr Kent says