Hampshire IT

EdICTNet strategy

Some schools are still using the EdICTNet local network. From April 2014 our support for EdICTNet will be changing. This page details the reasons behind this decision, and the timeline for migration to the Hosted School Service (HSS), which supersedes EdICTNet. It also tells you what to do if you don't want to migrate to HSS.

Please fill in this form so that we know which schools are likely to be affected by this change.



The EdICTNet service is approaching the end of its life and we have contacted all EdICTNet schools to advise them of the need to look for alternatives. The catalyst for this announcement was Microsoft's withdrawal of support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, upon which EdICTNet is built.

Many schools have already opted for HSS and we are working with them separately on installation. Schools that remain undecided should be aware that:

  • We will continue to support EdICTNet until July 2015 but only on a reasonable endeavours basis.

  • During this period we will work with any school that wants to migrate to HSS to help assess the additional infrastructure / budget they're likely to require as part of the move.

  • We're also happy to advise any undecided school but this will be chargeable at full consultancy rates.

   

When considering the options, remember that Microsoft will not be supporting the technology that underpins EdICTNet beyond April 2014. There will be no technical or security upgrades, and the technology will not be developed. So remaining with EdICTNet beyond April 2014 will pose an element of risk. We will work with you to do what we can to mitigate this.

If you choose to remain on EdICTNet, you need to be aware how these areas in particular will be affected:

Curriculum software

EdICTNet runs Windows XP. Software providers may stop releasing versions of software that is compatible with Windows XP. (HSS runs Windows 7, so new versions of software are likely to be compatible.)

Internet browser

IE8 is the last version of Internet Explorer to be supported on Windows XP. Some web content may require later versions of Internet Explorer. (We keep HSS schools up-to-date with the latest IE browser, so you don’t need to think about it.)

Anti virus software

The latest version of your anti-virus software may be operating system specific. (We take care of anti-virus protection for HSS schools.)

 

Your feedback

Hampshire IT works hard to address feedback from schools. We aim to let schools guide our decisions and the development of future services. Of course, this does not mean we can agree to every single request from every single school. That would be impossible. But we do solicit the opinions of schools individually and collectively, and have identified two themes that are repeated time and time again:

  • you tell us that you need us to deliver greater efficiencies

  • you also tell us of the importance of innovation, specifically the need for us to facilitate more flexible ways to run your school and to teach.



Our strategy

In response, we developed the Futureclass strategy, which has three services at its heart:

  1. HPSN2 (the Hampshire Public Service Network)
    This provides cost efficient, fast, secure and resilient internet services to Hampshire County Council, its partners and schools.

  2. The Hosted School Service (HSS)
    This is the next generation of IT delivery within schools: it improves and futureproofs your IT, allowing staff and learners to access programs and data from outside of school, via the HPSN2 cloud. Data is backed up and kept up-to-date in our dedicated data centre. We maintain and support your hardware and software, letting you concentrate on teaching. IT costs are spread over a five-year period; with a reduced need for on-site support there are significant savings to be made.

  3. Centrally Hosted SIMS
    This has allowed us to freeze SIMS support prices, despite national supplier increases. It also removes the need for you to perform the time-consuming and difficult tasks associated with upgrades. It also offers the reassurance that your data is held and backed up securely.


We have sought and gained approval of this strategy from schools: from your representatives on PICATS and SICATS (the Primary / Secondary Information, Communication and Technology steering groups), and from discussing it at our forums and conferences over the last two years. In particular the decision not to replace EdICTNet was discussed in depth with PICATS.



Reasons for retiring EdICTNet

  • The technology underpinning EdICTNet (Windows Server 2003 and XP) is coming towards the end of its life, and would require significant investment to keep it going. Doing nothing was not an option. (See details below.)

  • You told us that EdICTNet was no longer meeting your needs in the classroom. It doesn’t fully support Windows 7, Office 2010, or pupil remote access.

  • With most primary schools now using Centrally Hosted SIMS there is less emphasis on the administration side of school networks; now we have shifted our resources towards a solution which better supports the curriculum: HSS.

  • There was also significant competition locally and nationally in this space, with price becoming an all-important factor. Put simply, many third party suppliers are able to offer adequate, basic networks. It would not be sustainable for us to compete against companies whose business is selling hardware within very tight margins. Instead, we concentrate on what only we can do: use our knowledge of education and our commitment to customer service to offer a superior service which is more than just a local area network.



Support for Windows Server 2003 and XP

EdICTNet is based on Windows Server 2003 and XP. Microsoft is ending support for them on 8 April 2014, beyond which there will be no further technical or security upgrades. In addition, software suppliers will no longer test or guarantee their software with these systems. Therefore, while EdICTNet may still work beyond April 2014 schools need to understand that software applications will eventually stop working with Windows Server 2003 and XP and that any application software upgrades would only be compatible with later operating systems

It would be prohibitively expensive for us to try to upgrade EdICTNet to a newer operating system.



MSIs (Microsoft Installers)

We no longer create new MSIs for EdICTNet. (An MSI is software which installs or removes other software on a Microsoft Windows system. We used MSIs to install software on multiple computers across a school’s EdICTNet network.)

We will now install software manually onto EdICTNet networks if required.

Please note: you will still be able to purchase from the existing library of MSIs.



Hardware certification

We are no longer providing hardware certification for EdICTNet. Previously we certified PCs, laptops and notebooks bought from external suppliers, giving them new build images suitable for connection to EdICTNet (usually this included downgrading the operating system to Windows XP). Now we will connect hardware ‘as is’.

This decision has been prompted in part by Dell’s decision to end Windows XP driver support in December 2012.

In certain circumstances where there are small numbers of PCs which must be replaced, we may add Windows 7 clients to an EdICTNet domain. However, this can only be done with the following caveats:

  • The existing library of MSIs may or may not work. Even if the MSI deploys, if there are any issues running the program we will be unable to create a new MSI and manual installation of software would be required which may incur additional charges.

  • There will be no automated build for Windows 7 which may incur additional charges in the event of a rebuild following a fault.

  • Windows 7 deals with roaming profiles differently from Windows XP, and separate profiles are created for both. Therefore if a users logs onto an XP machine and adds a shortcut to their desktop, then logs off and moves to a Windows 7 machine, the shortcut won't be there. This does not affect files and folders in their My Documents or on shared drives.

  • There are differences with the Windows 7 firewall from XP that may cause issues for remote support.



Helping you plan the transition

Whether or not your school chooses HSS, we would like to help you plan your migration. We need to keep our records up-to-date to see which schools are still using EdICTNet (some schools will have changed supplier without letting us know).

Please fill in this form to let us know your school’s status.

We will use this information to communicate with you on the migration, but for no other purpose.



What to do if you want to migrate to HSS

Migration is not automatic. When you fill in the form above, please answer 'Yes' to the question 'Would you like us to contact you with further information on our whole school hosted network solution?'



What to do if you don't want to migrate to HSS

We believe the Hosted School Service is the right solution for Hampshire schools. Before you make up your mind, you can chat to colleagues in schools already using it.

But if you then decide to look elsewhere, you should follow procurement best practice.

You should also bear in mind all the services and features of HSS, and ask your new supplier if they offer these. This list of questions Download Acrobat Reader to view this PDF 63kb will help you do this.

Your new network supplier must be able to set up your computers to access Centrally Hosted SIMS (if appropriate) and SAP, and also support you in use of your other programs (such as FPS, Tucasi and Micro Librarian).