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Bristol gains another ‘first’ as Northgate launches unique managed learning platform

Northgate Education, a leading UK provider of ICT managed services and solutions to the education sector, today launches its innovative, all-inclusive managed learning environment in Bristol, as the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, attend an event to celebrate the opening of England’s first new school to be completed under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Bristol schools, including Brunel Academy (formerly Speedwell Technology College), are the first schools in the country to benefit from the state of the art learning environment, designed in partnership with teachers and students to meet their vision of a new and exciting media rich, online experience and to support the government’s pursuit for excellence in education. The managed learning environment aims to transform the learning and teaching experience for communities throughout the whole of the UK and equip students with skills fit for the future.

The new managed learning environment uniquely provides teachers, students, parents and the local community with online access to all the resources they need to make the most of their teaching and learning experience including:

• a fully integrated online education environment – linking the running of schools to the provision of a virtual learning environment, to the management of information and the development of a cashless system in which a smart card is used to register for classes, catering and the library;

• ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning – enabling teachers, students and parents to access the learning environment from school, home or anywhere where there is internet access;

• multiple access – using computers, games consoles and mobile phones as a means of connecting with the environment, including the use of thin technology;

• personalised learning – enabling students to direct their education through a personal work portfolio which provides a personal online space, information on assessments, a personal learning plan and information on their progress – students will be able to use email, submit homework and view timetables and outstanding tasks;

• collaborative learning – allowing students to share files and resources with enhanced opportunities for group working and collaboration between students, parents and the local community – students will be able to use instant messenger technology to collaborate with friends in real time enabling them to work collaboratively and together remotely;

• parental involvement – parents will be able to get actively engaged in their children’s education and involved in the running of the school through the online parents’ centre;

• a teacher information centre – providing teachers with a one-stop shop for all the data and information that they need on students including subject notes, personal notes, assessments and attendance details as well as advanced reporting and alerts;

• a sustainable, safe and secure environment – including constant monitoring to prevent bullying and the use of inappropriate websites, and a reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork.

Darren Lemon, Managing Director of Northgate Education, said:
“It is only through the intelligent use of technology that we can build schools fit for the future. Northgate Education is proud to be part of the Building Schools for the Future Programme. Bristol awarded the first integrated ICT contract under BSF and every one of our partners has recognised that it is vital that ICT is placed at the heart of transforming the educational experience of our communities.

“It is only fitting that we are launching our innovative and unique total managed learning service here in Bristol today. For this is the first of its kind in the UK designed in collaboration with teachers, parents and students. It is thanks to them that we are now actively delivering their vision of teachers and learners empowered by technology and inspired by education; working within managed learning-led environments that are fit for the twenty first century and enhanced through personalised learning and collaboration.”

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, said today:
“Today is a day of celebration. Bristol Brunel Academy is wonderful news for the young people, teachers and local community here in Bristol, giving them a fresh start, new opportunities and state-of-the art facilities.

“Bristol Brunel Academy exemplifies what we are trying to achieve through the BSF programme and we are working hard with local authorities and the private sector market so that every child in England has the same opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.

“Partnerships for Schools seeks to harness the best of the public and private sectors to deliver learning environments that our young people deserve and of which we can all be proud. I congratulate the Bristol Local Education Partnership on their commitment and resolute focus on achieving that goal and I look forward to seeing the very real difference that this school makes here in Bristol – to students, to teachers and to the local community more broadly.”


For more information:

Fellows’ Associates

Kathy Sutton 020 7849 3403; 07966 890401;
Naomi Stevenson 020 7849 3508; 07966 890403;

Notes to Editors:

1. Northgate Information Solutions ( is a leading provider of ICT and managed services solutions and software to the public safety, local government, education and human resource sectors. With divisional headquarters in Hemel Hempstead and Belfast, Northgate has 25 major offices across the UK and six international offices. Founded in 1969, the company has over 6000 employees.

2. Northgate Education ( is a leader provider of managed services and solutions in the UK. It provides technology services to over 1,200 schools, with more than 350,000 teachers and learners successfully supported by the company. Northgate provides services to every school in Northern Ireland through C2k, the largest and most comprehensive e-learning initiative ever implemented in the UK, is providing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) managed services to Bristol City Council as part of the government's Building Schools for the Future Programme (BSF), and provides services to 40 education sites in Hartlepool. Northgate is the preferred bidder for ICT for Leicester BSF. In January 2007, Northgate was awarded an ISO 20000-1 accreditation by the British Standards Institution, for provision of IT service management activities.

3. The all-inclusive managed learning environment is being introduced at Brunel Academy and Redland Green School in Bristol. The fully integrated environment embraces facilities management, management information, cashless catering, e-registration and access to the library and virtual learning environment containing over 70 packages available to students and pupils. Learners and teachers will benefit from the investment in new technology to support the managed learning environment including the introduction of interactive whiteboards throughout the schools. The managed learning environment will be supported by Northgate’s fully managed ICT service which will provide a stable service throughout the schools supported by a service level agreement which will ensure that priority needs are met first and foremost. For example, Northgate aims to resolve server, communications, MLE unavailable issues within 15 minutes; administrative support, password reset, user account amendment and staff notebook issues within 30 minutes and whiteboard and projector issues within one hour.

4. Photographs are available on request from Fellows’ Associates, as above.