National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education

The National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE) is a national strategic and support organisation for community-led supplementary schools and the wider supplementary education sector across England. The charity campaigns throughout England on behalf of supplementary schools and their students, tutors and leaders. They aim to help raise the profile of supplementary schools and their standards of teaching, learning and management.

NRCSE initially applied to CITA for advice around facilitating efficient networking between office and home-based staff, including synchronisation of data to avoid confusion and multiple versions of documents.   With staff working on laptops from home and in the field the charity needed a secure intranet and shared calendar that synchronised across laptops, mobiles and desktop computers and were looking to move to Office 365.

CITA volunteer Stephen delivered a free IT Consultancy, assessing the charity’s current set up before outlining the various steps they would need to take in migrating to Office 365.  The charity were also looking to set up teleconferences and Stephen provided advice around configuring Skype for Business.  Following on from the IT Consultancy Stephen also offered to carry out the migration as part of CITA’s IT Project Delivery service. Later migrating all email accounts, contacts and calendar content, setting up workstations and providing information on accessing additional services and connecting phone/tablet devices.

What difference did CITA’s support make?

Stephen took his time getting to know our set up and also the massive financial limitations we have as a small charity. He provided clear and costed alternatives. Once we had chosen which way to go he supported us all the way. Stephen has been very flexible, answering the odd question on an ongoing basis which is tremendously important with IT support. Not only was his help as good as the help we have had in the past when we’ve paid… it was better!

It has made a massive difference to me and my colleagues to know that we can ask a simple question about the set up if we need to do. Because our stress levels have been reduced we have generally found that we are able to get on with it and don’t need to ask him, but he’s there if we do.

Has it helped you in how you work?

The use of Office 365 has made it better for us to synch data/emails/calendars between office PCs/laptops/mobile phones. We haven’t quite completed the transfer to Sharepoint but we are about to do it.

Have there been any cost savings?

Not having to pay for an IT consultant is a massive cost saving.  In the past we have paid for one off pieces of work but when we’ve encountered problems there was nowhere to go, we just had to start again with a new consultant seemingly starting from scratch. We did this twice and had no money left. With our CITA volunteer we been able to see it through from problem to solution.

What were you expecting from the advice session and how well did it meet your needs?

Really helpful, certainly met our expectations. We still have IT needs but it feels feasible now, before we were in a downward spiral.