Saving Time and Enabling Cloud-Based Learning With Automation

Cliff Park Ormiston Academy

SalamanderSoft has partnered with Cliff Park Ormiston Academy to automate the management of staff and pupil data from their MIS to Google Classroom. We are continuing to support the school with a transition from Google For Education to Office 365.

The Customer

Cliff Park Ormiston Academy is a secondary school in Norfolk and part of the Ormiston Academies Trust, which is one of the largest not-for-profit multi-academy trusts in England, educating 30,000 pupils across 32 secondary schools, seven primary schools and one special school.

A supportive and inclusive academy, Cliff Park prides itself on an ethos of excellence and its core values of Discover, Create, Thrive and Achieve. All students are encouraged to “do their best” and reach their full potential.

Salamander became part of this story by provisioning technology and automation that connects staff and students, allowing them to access everything they need to develop and achieve.

The Challenge

Before engaging with Salamander, Cliff Park relied on a remote desktop solution that had no cloud provisioning - everything was stored on site and there was no automation for important admin processes, such as adding new user accounts to the system for staff and pupils to be able to access email and shared resources.

“Google Classroom was being explored by several members of our staff, but teachers were having to manually input student data in order for them to be able to create lessons, distribute assignments and organise resources. Meanwhile, administrators had to spend a large chunk of time managing user accounts when individuals joined and left the Academy, ” Jon Jones, Assistant Head at Cliff Park explains.

“We needed a tool that could automatically provision users for us, as well as something that would integrate with the cloud and Google For Education.”

The Solution

The backbone of our solution for Cliff Park was the provisioning of our Integration Suite, which synchronises user accounts, groups, permissions and more from their MIS into Active Directory, allowing the automation of Google Classroom provisioning.

“Once new users have been added to SIMS, the data from the MIS is automatically synchronised with G Suite. New pupils and staff get almost immediate access to emails, Google Calendar and Google Classroom - everything they need is ready for them in one place,” Jon continues.

We worked with the Academy to create and manage Active Directory Groups, where pupils can be split up into classes, subjects, forms, houses, years and intake groups, while staff can be organised into specific groups and departments, depending on the needs of the school.

“Another thing that was useful for us was the prefixing of all of our groups with the initials for Cliff Park. As we’re part of a large Trust, this step was crucial for us to make sure each group and username had clear differentiation from other schools within Ormiston Academies.”

The Results

While our work is largely behind-the-scenes, its impact weaves throughout the whole school day, saving staff time on tedious tasks and ensuring every student has access to the lessons, accounts and resources that are central for their learning and development.

“The automation of Active Directory has made the biggest difference for us.” Jon enthuses.

“Not only has this saved huge amounts of admin time, but it has also influenced the uptake of Google Classroom - without the automation Salamander has provided, we wouldn’t have been able to roll out Google Classroom as quickly or as widely as we have done.”

For both staff and students, everything they need to work and learn is in one place, such online calendars with class timetables, class resources and school email.

Comments from Cliff Park Ormiston Academy

Salamander is supporting us with this transition, and they have been really flexible in terms of what they can do to help. For me, the support and customer service delivered by Salamander is remarkable, and it’s what makes the company stand out.

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