Reaping the Rewards of a Trusted IT Partnership

Case Study: Canberra Grammar School | Improving Education Outcomes with Technology

The prestigious school benefits from its long-term relationship with Qirx, a technology service provider with recognised expertise in the K-12 education sector.

– Education K-12

– Consolidate IT infrastructure and facilities
– Support an exceptional teaching and learning environment
– Implement a best practice solution for longevity and scalability

– Exceptional customer service and customer-first approach
– Confident knowledge transfer and collaboration
– A long term relationship built on trust and professionalism

Canberra Grammar School

Established in 1929, Canberra Grammar School (CGS) is an esteemed co-educational independent Anglican school. The school is well known for offering outstanding academic education, co-curricular opportunities, and exceptional pastoral care.
CGS has more students than any other school in the ACT – around 2200 day and boarding students from pre-school to Year 12.

A Focus on Improving Education Outcomes with Technology

CGS’s Head of IT, Michael de Raadt, oversees an IT department of 15 staff. With a background in education and IT, Michael took up the role in 2016 with a mandate to consolidate the school’s IT infrastructure and facilities. Building structured communication channels with the teaching staff was also on the agenda.

Michael says the school prides itself on the quality of its available technology, and the tools and opportunities that students and teachers can take advantage of through its IT offerings.

“In a school, you don’t want teachers to have to worry about whether a certain technology is going to work or not. That’s something they shouldn’t have to think about. They want to be able to walk into a classroom and rely on the technology so they can focus on delivering for the students,” he says.

“With every IT project that we have, our goal is to improve outcomes for the students. We have a strong focus on stakeholder consultation, and we are always asking ourselves: how do we achieve a result that’s better for the students, better for the staff to work with for the students, and better for the parents to work with the students?”

Partnering with a Trusted Solutions Provider

Since before Michael’s arrival at CGS, the school has had a relationship with Qirx, a Canberra-based professional services and managed services company focused on providing innovative and robust IT solutions.

Qirx is known for its established expertise in the education sector.

Its consultants understand business processes and operations and have all round knowledge of hardware infrastructure, software installation, configuration and management, in addition to the depth of experience and initiative required to provide solutions that meet its clients’ needs.

Over the past five years, Michael says, the relationship between CGS and Qirx has matured and grown.

“We’ve had other consultancies come and go over time, but Qirx have carried on, so as well as undertaking major projects, Qirx procure our ad hoc IT requirements, from licencing through to backup tapes. They also assist with our decision-making on IT purchases. They’re honest and reliable and don’t oversell themselves. With Qirx, we know we’re going to get engagement with someone who’s going to work with us on the problem.”

Qirx was recently engaged in a review of the school’s Wi-Fi infrastructure to upgrade it to a more reliable and secure network. Extreme Networks was selected and the solution – including a mix of indoor and outdoor access points – was deployed and executed within a few weeks.

“When we decided on Extreme Networks it wasn’t necessarily because Qirx were the mediators with the vendor, but that did make it a lot easier,” says Michael. “We know Qirx has expertise with that technology, but they were also transparent in allowing the Extreme people to talk to us directly.”

Staff Committed to Solving Problems

CGS has benefited from the hands-on, committed approach Qirx staff bring to the job.

An example was when the school engaged Qirx to upgrade the firewall and application filtering services between their network, DMZ and Internet. This project included a firewall, analytics and monitoring solution based on a Fortinet Enterprise Security platform.

“Before the upgrade, Hannah from Qirx regularly assisted our team because she understood the old firewall. Sometimes experts will stand back and say, ‘here are your problems,’ and then walk away, but she actually worked with us and refined things, so we went from having a lot of problems to having a system that worked. This meant we could extend its life which probably saved us about $200,000 over a couple of years.”

A strength of CGS’s relationship with Qirx has been Qirx’s willingness to share information and knowledge.

“Our IT staff are experts in their domain, but with technology, there is always someone who knows a bit more about a specific solution than you do, and we often need that little bit of extra expertise, which is when we call on our technology partners, including Qirx,” Michael says.

“One of the things I’ve always challenged the staff to do when we’re working on a project is to take note and learn from it. So if we need to do it again, we can do it ourselves. Qirx is on board with this approach. They happily share their knowledge with us, whereas many companies would resist, trying to keep their secrets, so we’d have to keep coming back to them.”

As CGS continues to grow as an IT leader in the educational sector, Qirx will remain a vital support partner and trusted advisor. They’re working together on improving education outcomes with technology.

Learn more about our professional IT services for the education sector.

15 Nov 2021