A decade ago, many families left the London borough of Hackney to find better schooling for their children. Today, those looking for a better education are headed back to Hackney.
One school has single-handedly turned around education in this economically challenged part of London: Mossbourne Community Academy. In 2004, Mossbourne replaced Hackney Downs School to educate students ages 11-16. The free school is funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and Hackney- born businessman Sir Clive Bourne, who has contributed over £2 million. Now, Mossbourne is a model for education, ranking in the top 1 percent of schools in England for performance and inspiring praise from the prime minister himself.
At Mossbourne, technology is integral to teaching and learning. “IT is used in every single lesson, whether it’s PowerPoint for a presentation or lessons in one of our 15 computer suites,” said Paul Holding, network manager. And that’s just in teaching. Technology also powers day-to-day school administration.
Holding and three fellow staff members keep technology running smoothly at Mossbourne, and at an affiliated primary school in Hackney. The team assists 250 employees and more than 1300 students using 700 desktops. To keep up with IT requests, Mossbourne previously used a basic, free help desk application, but outgrew it as the school’s technology footprint expanded.
“People were sending individual emails to us and we would miss them, which caused problems when no one in IT responded,” Holding said.
Not surprisingly, automating parts of the help desk process was among the capabilities that most attracted Mossbourne to Issuetrak. Web-based Issuetrak gives the Mossbourne IT team one place to log, follow, and report on all technology requests, and automation that ensures that the team addresses those needs within certain timeframes.
The IT team receives, on average, 180-250 IT requests each week. Teachers and staff members now submit their requests online, where they automatically go into Issuetrak and are addressed based on priority level. Customized automation (formerly called business rules) ensures that team members resolve tickets within the promised timeframe.
Mossbourne also relies on Issuetrak to track and automate reminders for the various steps associated with recurring tasks, such as routine maintenance and new users.
In line with its continuous pursuit of excellence, the IT staff automates delivery of customer surveys through Issuetrak. Survey results show opportunities for improvement, leading the team to update the Issuetrak knowledge base or provide additional training for the team or end users.
The school also relies on Issuetrak to manage its hardware assets, freeing the team from the tedious responsibility of counting PCs all the time. “Nobody wanted to go around to check rooms and serial numbers,” Holding said. “Now we print off a list and just do spot checks.” By tying hardware to trouble tickets, Mossbourne can better anticipate the need for upgrades.
Using reporting within Issuetrak, Holding analyzes open and closed tickets, trends and volumes. From there, he identifies peak times, helping with decisions about annual leave for staff members. It also gives him much-needed statistics to demonstrate the need for additional staff.
Holding is proud to say that the IT team changed the customer experience just as Mossbourne changed the perception of public education in Hackney.
“Issuetrak helped me turn around the image of our IT team,” Holding said. “We follow through on everything and have data to show management why volumes or wait times are higher.”
Recent customer survey results demonstrate the team’s high level of support:
- Quickly identify the problem: 92%
- Knowledge and competence: 94%
- Understands the problem: 90%
- Handles with professionalism: 97%
Beyond the capabilities of the Issuetrak solution, Holding also knows that he and his team can rely on the professionals at Issuetrak whenever they need help.
“Having someone at end of the phone who knows this stuff makes such a big difference for us,” Holding said. “Everyone we have talked to at Issuetrak has provided great support.”