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Sirius open sources Welsh school

Open source services provider Sirius Corporation has revealed today it has been working with Powys County Council to introduce a combination of Open Source and proprietary software at the newly refurbished Ysgol Maesydderwen secondary school in Ystradgynlais, near Swansea.

The project, which has been funded by the council, involved the installation of a complete infrastructure and included the installation of brand new desktops and laptops for both the staff and pupils, plus a hundred new tablets for pupils to use in class activities and projects.

Nick Talbot, Strategic IT advisor to Powys CC’s Schools Service commented: “We approached Sirius for an innovative solution to our school ICT requirements for the major redevelopment of Ysgol Maesydderwen. We were delighted with Sirius’ proposed solution drawing from the best elements of Open Source and proprietary software. We commissioned them to make this vision real, which they did against challenging deadlines and this work has significantly increased the school’s ICT confidence and capabilities”.

The software supplied covers many uses from email to document sharing, plus specialist desktop applications for tasks such as CAD.

In addition, a reliable back-end infrastructure has been put in place with built in redundancy, allowing the school to continue working should either of the server rooms be taken offline. Active Directory was deployed for authentication and management of desktops and laptops, with files being served from Samba running on Debian GNU/Linux. Other services such as inventory management have been deployed as virtual machines running on Linux KVM. Google Apps was selected in consultation with the school to provide email, productivity and remote file services. This is appreciably more powerful than the school’s previous solution, as well as saving costs since it’s free for education use.

Richard Lashley, Ysgol Maesydderwen’s Deputy Head said: “The Sirius team were quick to identify our priorities by immersing themselves into school life and listening to learners, staff and governors”. He continued, “Any glitches encountered were dealt with professionally to enable the school to have a state of the art system that we continue to refine for the improvement of teaching and learning and we are extremely excited about the future possibilities”.

Isn’t it great to have a public sector open source success story from the UK for once, readers? 🙂