Guest post from Gerald Haigh, freelance writer. Gerald writes regularly for the Microsoft blogs.

What does a primary school do when it’s keen to bring its ICT infrastructure up to scratch, in line with pupil and teacher expectations, but on a limited budget? One answer, it seems, lies in the deployment of Windows MultiPoint Server 2011.

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We’ve already described one example from Wales, where Cadoxton School in Barry has its classroom computers running on free electricity supplied to its MultiPoint Servers from solar panels.

Now, just to show that if you’re using mains electricity you still make very substantial savings with MultiPoint Server, we hear of an installation at the 200 pupil Devoran Primary School in Cornwall, by Microsoft Partner NCI Technologies.

Chris Cook, ICT Co-ordinator at Devoran, says,

‘We had eight desktops in the library, all four years old and needing replacement. We’d heard of thin client and it seemed to be a sensible option for us and we approached NCI Technologies. Now we have two MultiPoint Servers running five desktops each.’

The cost saving for Devoran over any other installation is significant. Andy Trish, Director of NCI Technologies makes two points here. First, that thin client solutions mean desktops cost less and can be used for longer – in some applications, apparently out-dated equipment can be brought back into use. (Though at Devoran new thin-client desktops were needed).

As Andy says,

‘Devoran School’s solution not only saved them in hardware purchasing costs of close to 30% initially but long term it is estimated that 60% of their new solution won’t need replacing for 15 to 20 years.  This is a massive saving to future budgeting.’

Andy’s second point is on energy use.

‘The power consumption used by the new solution also reduces their energy bills on their IT suite by 70%.  Multipoint has changed the way the school now thinks about its future needs and provides for growth and cost savings.’

That last part is certainly true. Leadership at Devoran, an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school, has budgeted wisely for its ICT, and the decision to go with MultiPoint Server has freed up money that’s now used to enhance ICT provision generally.

Says Chris Cook,

‘As well as our ten workstations in the library, we now have 24 laptops dotted around the school and some tablets as well.’

Quite clearly, a good MultiPoint Server installation well answers the needs of many schools. Chris Cook sees no downside to what they now have at Devoran.

‘We’ve got Windows 7 and a good wireless network. We’ve saved quite a lot of money, and its given us a bit more space. The reduced energy use also helps us with the green agenda.’