Northern Ireland extends schools’ IT deal with Capita

Two-year extension provides managed service for more than 1,100 schools and 350,000 users

Northern Ireland’s Education Authority has extended its contract with Capita Managed IT Solutions to provide ICT services for over 1,100 schools in the province.

Computer screens in classroomThe two-year extension to the C2k EN(ni) contract, which commenced in 2012, is expected to be worth around £60 million and will run until March 2019.

It will involve Capita continuing to provide a managed IT service to every primary, post-primary and special needs school in Northern Ireland, for more than 350,000 users.

Key C2k services include a cloud based network for access to learning resources, including G-Suite for Education and Office 365, along with an online catalogue of hardware and software and topical literacy content via the online NewsDesk service.

John Collings, the authority’s director of education, said: “Our partnership over the last five years has enabled us to deliver a range of IT services and solutions to all NI schools. The use of technology has seen great results throughout NI schools with improvements in grades, attainment and behaviour.  

“This extension will ensure continuity of service and enable schools to continue to develop and further embed their use of ICT to support teaching and learning both within and beyond the classroom.”

The original contract, valued at £170 million, involved the creation of the My-School portal, a wide area network and a local schools’ wireless infrastructure to support the use of mobile devices.

SIMS upgrade

The news comes soon after the Capita SIMS division of the company announced plans to release a reimagined information management system, including dashboards, charts and alert functions. The changes will begin in the spring of next year with the release of a redeveloped version of SIMS for primary schools.

The system is currently used in more than 21,000 schools to record and analyse information on pupils’ achievement, behaviour and attendance.

Image by Antonio Chaves, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons