The Vine Schools Trust - Zenzero

The Vine Schools Trust

Case Study

The Vine Schools Trust

The Vine Schools Trust is a leading Multi Academy Trust (MAT), who provide stability and protection to their academy members in a fast-changing educational landscape.

Since its inception in 2013, the Trust had grown organically to a point where they were providing support services and guidance to approximately 750 members of staff and 3,000 students across 21 Church of England primary schools in the East of England. At the start of this project, each school was responsible for its own IT system, with many institutions running and maintaining two physically separate networks for Admin and Curriculum.

The challenge

An aggressive growth strategy to see the Trust accelerate their member base to 2,000 staff and 10,000 students across 50 sites by 2022 prompted a clear need to rationalise this disparate system to overcome inefficiencies. In addition, it was vital that the systems employed moving forward were highly scalable and aligned to the Trust’s objectives of reducing operational costs where appropriate, while enhancing functionality, data security and cross-site collaboration.

Zenzero accepted this exciting opportunity to work in conjunction with the school’s broadband provider, Essex County Council, to design and implement a bespoke system to support the Trust’s anticipated growth over a 3 to 5 year period.
We are dedicated to creating and delivering innovative solutions and services that meet our customers’ needs, both now and in the future.

Zenzero worked in conjunction with Essex County Council and key stakeholders at Vine Schools Trust to design a bespoke solution that is fully aligned to the Trust’s current and future objectives.

The solution

User accounts, personal and shared data, and application services are hosted centrally in the Cloud, providing the Trust with complete control and visibility of activity across the group.Implementation of a shared Windows domain environment enabled schools to consolidate and reduce their on-premise infrastructure.The reduced need for high-performance systems at site level allowed many of the local systems to be repurposed within the new system. The centralised platform facilitates standardisation of technologies and applications used to teach the same curriculum across different sites.

While using the existing connectivity and firewall provision delivered by the Council, networks belonging to Trust members were migrated to an independent platform. By separating Trust members’ networks from those of other Essex schools, sites within the Trust were able to become ‘visible’ to each other within a secure environment.

The combination of Cloud and On-Premise infrastructure delivers a reliable platform with high stability and up-time. A Disaster Recovery (DR) service ensures classroom lessons can go ahead uninterrupted, even in the event of on-premise server failure. Data and services relevant to each school are replicated to their on-premise server, allowing for a ‘local experience’ to be delivered to staff and students.

The result

The Vine Trust has worked with Zenzero from the outset.

Anne and her team have been providing trusted support, guidance and advice ever since. The forward thinking, friendly, personable approach adopted by all members of the company together with excellent levels of professional support is something rarely seen in the competitive world that is IT.

It was crucial for the Trust to identify a smarter way of working – one that ensured that our academy members had access to the platforms needed to deliver the best possible learning experience to our pupils. Moreover, in order for the trust to satisfy regulatory compliance it was important for the Trust to have visibility of the data being created at school level. Centralising the IT platform has allowed our academy members to retain their independence, whilst providing the Trust with the confidence that a consistent approach to the security and protection of sensitive information data is taken.

Brendon Ince

Chief Operating Officer

The Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust