John Lyon School is an independent day school for boys aged 11-18, founded in 1876. Based in Harrow-on-the-Hill in London, the school prides itself not only in its academic excellence but also its prestigious creative and sports programmes. The John Lyon School also plans to become co-educational in September 2021 for the first time, as well as considering a brand-new contemporary building dedicated to the Arts and STEM subjects.
A customer for 3 years, John Lyon School were already considering leveraging Microsoft Teams and had attended a Transparity webinar to find out more. However, when news of Covid-19 broke and the UK began to implement lockdown measures, the school realised that it was imperative to ensure that students could still receive an excellent education.
At the time, OneNote was used in classrooms for documentation by the students but there was no solution in place to enable remote classroom working, nor any unified communications to run such a solution. Acting extremely quickly, John Lyon School asked Transparity to help them with a Cloud-based system that would enable them to continue to run classes and communicate with students effectively.
Transparity set up and deployed Microsoft School Data Sync for Teams; an advanced tool within Microsoft 365 as part of their Office 365 for Education licence. The solution reads a school’s imported Student Information System (SIS) data and builds “collaborative classroom” Teams for each class based on school and register data. This allows teachers to easily view conversations and content for every class that they have, all in one place. They are also able to address the students with voice and video calling, with built-in Teams features such as meeting attendance reporting, whiteboards and a variety of Office 365 apps helping to make the student experience as close as possible to being at school.
Teams also enables Single Sign-On for a wide range of education-related apps, ensuring that John Lyon School could use the most relevant educational technology to empower staff and students. Additionally, Transparity implemented their own Training and Adoption Portal – Transparity TAP – an easy-to-use online portal where users can learn how to adopt Teams and other Microsoft Cloud solutions at their own pace. With the school closing at short notice due to Covid-19 – and no time to train staff or students to use Teams – this would be invaluable for distance learning. Progress can be tracked by staff, and the platform’s built-in gamification makes it an ideal tool for adolescents.
John Lyon School’s new Microsoft Cloud solutions ensured that they could quickly react to the Covid-19 crisis and use virtual classrooms to continue their students’ education even though they were at home. Both staff and pupils had access to a single application to manage timetables and classrooms, with Transparity TAP analytics reporting to staff which adoption modules had been completed by each student, ensuring that they all had access to the information necessary to excel.
“Our new Cloud-based solution came in useful particularly during the Covid-19 outbreak, enabling students to continue with their timetable as normal even though they were at home. This enabled us to maintain “business as usual”, including a 9am start and online lessons.”
Geoff Mattey, ICT Operations & Development Manager at John Lyon School