1) Adaptability: with the whirlwind of the last year (read: chaos), you need a provider who is evolving with the latest trends in EdTech computing to support learners and teachers. Are they able to support your school in managing distance learning? Provide the appropriate cloud platforms? Keep home learners safe online and monitor activity? All are key requirements for successful distance learning.
2) Reliability: if you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place to define how they deliver support, then you should have a good understanding of what this means for your school, and how they measure up against it.
3) Performance: : do they offer Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as part of their SLA? These measure how the provider performs against the service they are delivering, and how this directly affects the reliability of IT throughout the school.
4) Flexibility: teachers have limited availability when not in the classroom so being able to speak to someone before the school day starts gives them the chance to resolve issues before lesson time.
5) IT vision: thinking about the future of ICT is vital if it is going to support your school improvement plan, and provide the best possible start for your learners. Your provider should be assisting you with your IT vision, and advising you on how technology can improve learning outcomes and enrich the classroom environment.
6) Analysis: ask for a termly review to get hard stats on how well they have performed against the SLA and to discuss the continued development of your IT vision. You can also review the use of under-used and fully-utilised equipment to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment.
7) Strings to their bow: find out what else they offer to assist the school outside of support and IT hardware. Do they offer guidance on safe practices in line with your safeguarding policies? Can they supply a recognised internet service provider with actively monitored, age-related filtering; visitor management systems; CCTV or other services that will help you safeguard learners?
8) Business continuity plan: back-up, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plans are now essential for today’s schools. Check your IT provider offers a compliant, cloud-based back-up and DR service, which performs regular consistency and recovery checks, as well as daily reporting to ensure you can provide evidence to demonstrate that your school is in safe hands.
9) Regular training: with the explosion of cloud services, does your IT provider regularly train staff to ensure their engineers can deal with the ever-changing IT landscape?
10) Pro-active service offering: check whether they offer pro-active monitoring services which create automated support tickets for issues as they happen. This approach resolves many IT issues before learners and staff are aware of them, minimising classroom disruption. This service also maintains the health of the network allowing resolution before issues arise .