Pooraka Primary School

End to end dynamic MSA at Pooraka Primary School

Ageing infrastructure at Pooraka Primary School was struggling to deliver the high-speed, reliable connectivity required by today’s technology dependent schools.

The 32 teachers and staff at Pooraka Primary School, in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, are committed to helping every one of their 244 students – over 50 percent of whom come from ESL backgrounds – to reach their full potential.

The Challenge

The driver for the MSA was to lift Pooraka Primary School from the limitations of its ICT, to minimise the impact of failing infrastructure and ageing devices. Over time, everything would be replaced to create an environment that could support each of its students and its teaching team.

The Solution

A phased ICT environment transformation, under a collaborative MSA, to create a solid, up to date infrastructure that supports the aims
of the school.

The Benefits
  • Stability and resilience of its ICT environment
  • Always current
  • Capacity for expansion
  • Flexible commitment to service

Compnow listens. They are always highly professional and provide an outstanding service that reflects the technological needs of our school. We appreciate and look forward to our ongoing collaboration.

Ali Thomson Principal,
Pooraka Primary School


The Challenge

Technology-supported learning at Pooraka was being hampered by decade old infrastructure. The school’s networks were unable to provide the connectivity and speeds required across its 11 classrooms – housed in two main buildings, plus the original 100 year old original school used for specialist teaching subjects.

It was time to lift the school from the limitations of its ICT to having an environment that could support each of its students and its teaching team.

Pooraka is a government Category 3 school which indicates its students come from lower socio-economic bands. ICT improvements are carefully considered in light of both funding availability and the learning needs of its cohort.

As Business Manager at Pooraka Primary School, Verlaine Dannenberg has had an 11 year overarching responsibility for all aspects of its technology use. Having a management rather than a technical background meant finding a trusted advisor was essential for the development of the school’s ICT environment. “We needed an IT partner that could cover all our technology purchasing and support,” she says.

The Solution

CompNow began a collaborative consultation process with Verlaine and Principal Ali Thomson in 2015. This resulted in a comprehensive assessment of the overall school environment and what technology and support was needed.

The priority was for CompNow to assist Pooraka with the supply and management of its Apple fleet, in a phased rollout which has taken the school from a mix of ageing devices to standardising on iPads for all year groups.

As CompNow took on a more active role, a specifically designed Managed Services Agreement (MSA) became a logical step. “The driver for the MSA was to get everything replaced over time, to ensure our technology had a positive impact on teaching and learning. The plan put forward covered from where we were, right down to new comms cabinets,” Verlaine says.

This MSA has cemented a relationship covering every aspect of Pooraka’s ICT programs. CompNow handles all procurement: IT devices, peripherals, AV and networking. This extends to negotiating any licences that are outside those supplied by Departmental central stores.

The MSA also provides the school with access to CompNow’s accredited experts, across all technology areas, as well as its purchasing power. As a partner, CompNow ensures continuity and relationship building by committing dedicated account managers and onsite technicians to its client schools.

General engineering, such as keeping the school’s server operational, became CompNow responsibility. “We had lots of remedial work just to keep us running until we were able to update our server in 2018,” Verlaine says.

In addition to 24/7 remote access to the school’s systems, Pooraka’s MSA includes a 4-hour per week onsite visit to help manage the school’s environment and undertake scheduled work.

“During the visits CompNow does all our laptop and server upgrades, distributes apps to our iPads, and any other jobs on the list. Now we never fall behind. We can rely on our technology,” Verlaine says.

Intermittent network failures from its ten year old mix of wired and wireless infrastructure were plaguing the school. There was no capacity for any extension of its environment, such as increasing its device numbers or adding interactive screens.

During the July 2020 school holidays CompNow completed a whole-of-school WiFi project that marked the completion of the transformation work at Pooraka. “We had to have it done during the holidays. There could be no delays.”

“We went from being years out of date to current in just two weeks. As soon as you walk into anywhere in the school, you can be connected – people used to stand at my office trying to find signal. Now we have stable and consistent end user experience. Everyone is very pleased with the result,” she says.

The first purchase as a result of this modernisation was ZTouch wireless, interactive touch screens for three classrooms. These are deployed on a mix of wall mounts, and on trolleys. Having experienced their successful introduction to the learning environment, a further 11 were purchased to create a uniform experience across whole school, including shared learning areas such as the Library and Performing Arts.

“We now have solid, up to date systems supporting our work at Pooraka. From here on in we can go full steam ahead with integrating ZTouch and iPads that will help us encourage a love of learning in our students,” Verlaine says.


The Benefits

“Pooraka’s growing relationship with CompNow has been really good for us.
We have no longer have disasters because we’re well looked after. And it’s seen a total change in meeting the technology needs of our children,” she says.

“CompNow are great to work with. Whoever you talk to – from management and sales to our dedicated, on the ground engineers – they know our school, know our systems.”

“And they’re very flexible. If anything pops up at a time when our engineer isn’t here, we can email questions or phone them. They always follow up without us chasing. We can schedule someone else or they’ll swing by another day. They fit us in and do what it takes and manage the hours to have us running smoothly,” Verlaine says.

Pooraka found it very reassuring to have CompNow’s support as Covid struck. On its clients’ behalf, CompNow secured several thousand iPads and had 400 sent to South Australia in preparation for demand. “Even though we undertook the upgrade project in the middle of Covid, we had no delays. We had availability when everything was so swamped because CompNow was holding stock. That speaks to the strength of CompNow’s relationship with suppliers.

“We trust CompNow’s advice. They are genuine in their commitment to keeping us and our ICT up there with the best,” Verlaine says.

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