Saint Bede's School is a mixed comprehensive secondary school located in Redhill, Surrey. The school has almost 1,800 pupils aged 11 to 18, with around 330 of these students in the sixth form. In its most recent Ofsted inspection, the school was graded as ‘outstanding’ in all areas.
This high level of quality is reflective of every aspect of the school’s operations, including auxiliary services such as printing and document management. To ensure that its printing systems perform efficiently and cost effectively, Saint Bede’s started working with Toshiba Authorised Business Partner, Kew Computers.
Kew Computers specialises in supplying schools with IT components and print solutions tailored to their individual needs. In particular, the company prides itself on providing educational institutions with straightforward, transparent and affordable agreements for document handling solutions.
With the help of Toshiba, Kew Computers have been providing exceptional support and service to St Bede’s for 15 years. So when it came to the end of the agreement in 2020, the school were confident in continuing with the partnership with their print supplier. Kew Computers carried out a review on how the school managed its files and documents and selected a fleet of Toshiba’s latest line of A3 and A4 multifunction printers.
The school had a requirement for devices that are easy to use and robust, and which come with excellent service and minimal down time. The e-STUDIO7516AC series printers were chosen for the science laboratory and art facility because of their ability to produce high volumes of complex documents to an exceptional standard.
The e-STUDIO range of multifunctional colour systems were ideal for an education environment because of their fully customisable user interface and the integration of cloud and mobile printing through Google apps – making these machines simple to use for both pupils and staff. Other Toshiba multifunction printers were installed in the library, photography studio, ITC department, main reception and in the reprographics rooms.
“When we first audited the printing and document handling requirements at St Bede’s School, we discovered that it was using 50 printers, but after investigating further, we found that this could be reduced to a much more manageable fleet of just 15 multifunction printers, while actually improving flexibility and capacity”, explained Peter Gilmour, Director at Kew Computers.
“One of the big factors that made the reduction possible is the tandem print queue protocol, which is a standard feature on Toshiba devices. This allows the school’s reprographics department to split large print jobs across multiple devices and enables print speeds up to 170 sheets per minute, which means that we could get more throughput with fewer machines. Another benefit is that the school administration now has full control over the usage of the printers. Further, resource-saving actions such double-sided printing and grayscale-as-default increase cost savings and support the school’s sustainability goals.”
The PaperCut MF software which underpins the new print and document management systems allows the school to easily manage their print assets, collect usage data by location and device, identify inefficiencies and utilise allocation strategies to maximise system productivity. In addition, each student is given a print budget through which the school aims to teach pupils budget management, whilst at the same time managing the school’s resources effectively.
Now, thanks to the multifunction printers from Toshiba and the PaperCut software, St Bede’s employees and pupils can print directly from their PCs, laptops and mobile devices, and create complex documents like booklets and leaflets quickly and easily. And, when printing is needed for art or photography classes, the new systems allow students to realise their creativity without being hampered by complicated processes.
St Bede’s is a Google Apps school and as such KPIs for print queues that aimed to reduce waiting times were implemented from the very beginning. Thanks to the Google Apps functionality, staff and students can work from anywhere and are able to access the system even from home. This feature was particularly useful at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when all learning was moved to the digital environment.
Additional safety features were added in September when pupils physically returned to the school. Stylus pens were issued for using the device’s screen as these were easy and convenient for students and staff to clean with wipes and antibacterial gel.
In terms of the service level agreement, Kew Computers offer an excellent response time of four hours or less to any service requests. Toshiba provides remote access to the printers which give Kew’s service engineers comprehensive performance and diagnostic information before they even attend the school. This reduces the number of trips needed to fix any issue as engineers are able to bring the correct parts and consumables on a first visit.
The printers also notify Kew Computers automatically when toner levels are running low or when components need servicing, allowing Kew Computers to proactively service machines at a time which suits the schools busy schedule. This ensures maximum capacity at peak usage times (such as at break times or in the busy exam seasons.
“As an outstanding school, St Bede’s promotes excellence at all levels”, said Samuel Alexander-Omoh, IT Manager at St Bede’s School. “Partnering with Kew Computers and Toshiba supports our commitment to an outstanding education. In addition to the yearly cost savings we’ve achieved, we are confident that our new printing system is robust, yet flexible enough to support any changes and remote-learning requirements that we may encounter. We are extremely pleased that Toshiba and Kew Computers have enabled us to futureproof our print systems for many years to come.”