A Scottish Council wanted to move away from Scotland’s national digital learning platform ‘Google Glow’, to give the council more control and flexibility. At the same time it also had an ambition to make sure every teacher and pupil had access to a digital device such as a Chromebook or an iPad to ‘future-proof digital education’, ensure digital inclusion and improve educational outcomes.

Our brief and the project goals

Through the council’s ‘Equipped for learning programme’ the council wanted to;

  • Have modern equipment for the council’s digital learning team 
  • Standardise the tools used by the education team 
  • Reduce costs, for example through the use of virtual classrooms 
  • Improve outcomes for pupils in the region 
  • Enable parents and carers to be involved in their child’s learning 
  • Improve teachers’ experience and capabilities in the region. 

Socitm Advisory was appointed by the council to manage the project, which included the roll out of 13,000 devices across the region within a 12-month period.

Biggest challenge

The pressured timescale of the project was a challenge. Soon after the project began, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the roll-out of devices needed to be executed sooner and faster than planned. Devices were needed by pupils, from disadvantaged backgrounds, to enable them to work from home. The result was that the project was completed within 12 months of it beginning.

Another challenge was the council’s own capability and capacity to manage the programme and communicate well, alongside its business as usual activities.

The approach

Working alongside the council, Socitm Advisory began by setting up a project board, to ensure there was a good structure for project governance and reporting.

The first phase of the project was two-fold; to manage the transition away from Google Glow to the council’s own Google Classroom tenant, which was a major activity in its own right, and also to select the devices, then decide how they would be distributed to the pupils and teachers across the region.

The second phase was to build all of the infrastructure surrounding the devices such as the network capabilities and web filtering software and then roll-out the devices.

Outcomes & benefits

We supported the council with the resource and expertise they were struggling to allocate to the project, to enable the successful programme delivery within the desired timescales. 

In areas such as internal communications and project management we provided guidance, offered challenge, kept the team on track and became a critical friend.  

As a result, the council achieved; 

  • Control and flexibility over their digital learning platform 
  • Improvements to wifi networks and internal servers 
  • Every child, parent and teacher in the region having access to a device 
  • Stronger relationship between the council and digital education team