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The Oldershaw Academy, located in Wirral, is an 11 - 19 secondary school that’s home to 800 pupils.
In the last five years, budget cuts have continued to rise leaving Oldershaw’s Network Manager, Keith Hallam, who is responsible for managing the school’s IT infrastructure, with a poor budget and inability to upgrade the school’s computer systems as often as he’d have liked to. After a decade of using desktops bought directly from Research Machines, which were often patched with spare parts, it was clear the school desperately needed to upgrade their IT suite. However, the budget to buy what they needed - 80 new computer desktops - simply wasn’t there. This is when, after speaking to another IT manager from another high school, Keith was introduced to the refurbished IT option.
“We had an aging infrastructure and it really was time to upgrade our suite, as the current machines had done their job and were slow, experiencing more and more issues and interrupting students’ learning”, said Keith.
“When I was told about refurbished computer systems, I was very pleasantly surprised to say the least. Following a bit of research, it was clear that I could pretty much get exactly the same machine specification, quality and speed as I would if I bought directly from the vendor but at a much cheaper cost. This meant I could actually upgrade all of the systems that we needed to, in one go.”
Keith got in touch with Hardware Associates, an IT provider of refurbished computer systems, about the school’s requirements, the number of machines needed and the budget available. “I was astonished at the difference in cost between buying brand new and refurbished. If we had gone direct to Dell to replace our computer systems, it would have cost £72,000. By choosing to work with Hardware Associates and invest in their refurbished Dell systems, it cost £24,000, saving us a huge £48,000. We basically managed to kit out three computer rooms for the price of one, which really is amazing. Many people have the wrong perception of refurbished computer systems,” added Bill Champness, Managing Director at Hardware Associates.
“They think refurbished means second hand when that’s simply not true. Refurbished means that most of the machine has been completely changed to work just like a brand-new machine but doesn’t carry the same hefty price tag.”
“Schools and colleges up and down the UK should really be looking at refurbished IT as it’s a real, tangible option when it comes to replacing old or ageing kit. They get the same spec, speed and we even provide a warranty on machines too, just like you’d get if you buy brand new, so they’re covered from that aspect as well.”
The students and staff at The Oldershaw Academy are enjoying their new machines, which are facilitating and supporting pupils’ learning journeys accordingly. “Everyone actually thinks they’re brand-new machines from Dell because the quality, speed and features are that good,” added Keith.
“I think we need to raise awareness of the role refurbished systems can play in the education sector, especially given the huge cost savings they provide which can free up the budget for other resources needed elsewhere in the school or college.”
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