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Bourne Education Trust – Smoothwall Filter Case Study

What’s the background?

Established in 2013, the Trust now serves 4000 pupils between the ages of 4 and 18 years old. There are currently vast expansion plans in place to include a further seven schools, taking total pupil numbers up to 10,000.

The core IT services for the trust are managed centrally by Michael Gobey, IT Operations Manager and include broadband, firewall, filtering, remote backup, telephone systems and centralised print.

What was the challenge?

Michael explains, “before we centralised the IT infrastructure, there were a lot of different systems that didn’t work together. Centralising the services is allowing us to achieve unity across the schools, as well as cost savings and economies of scale.”

“Going forward, it was essential that we found a filtering solution that was flexible to give each school a level of individuality, whilst being able to apply minimum rules. As it’s a centralised set up, deployment had to be available in a multi-tenant structure.”

How Smoothwall helped

Michael commented, “Smoothwall has a good reputation for filtering and I can see why – their product is very good and represents good value for money. It’s allowed us to centrally manage the filtering, whilst allowing each school to manage their use on a daily basis.”

“Being the only vendor that is primarily focused on UK education certainly puts it above the competition! I also like that Smoothwall is a UK based company.”

Michael discussed the impact on user experience, “Having Smoothwall Filter in place has improved the learning experience for students. Knowing that users can only access content that’s appropriate is very reassuring, however there is a fine line between what’s considered to be appropriate and what’s not. I think this will always be a challenge but Smoothwall are certainly more accurate at flagging content compared to our previous solutions.”

When asked about his favourite feature, Michael stated, “I think my favourite feature is simply how reliable it is. We’ve not had any major issues with the Smoothwall since installation – it’s very rare now that you get a solution that doesn’t cause downtime, so I’d definitely recommend Smoothwall!”

When asked about the installation, Michael commented “the setup process was very simple, we said what we wanted and the engineers did it!”. With regards to day to day support, we go through our third-party supplier.”

“Looking to the future, I’m looking forward to utilising Smoothwall Connect – one of the new schools is introducing devices on a one to one basis. It’ll be great to be able to encourage safe, remote learning by applying the same internet rules at home!”

Being the only vendor that is primarily focused on UK education certainly puts it above the competition!

Michael Gobey
Bourne Education Trust

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