The London Borough of Newham has awarded its ‘biggest ICT procurement’, to equip schools as part of the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, to RM.

Work on the £53 million, 11 year contract, will involve equipping the 15 secondary schools in the area, and a sixth form centre, with state of the art IT equipment installed and maintained byRM, a specialist in supply to the education sector. Some 19,000 pupils will use the new IT.

The technology will include in-school systems and software infrastructure, a central datacentre, and integration with theLondon Grid for Learning's managed learning environment. RM will provide a managed IT service over this period.

In his blog on the CIO website, Richard Steel, chief information officer at Newham, wrote: “The infrastructure solution proposed by RM largely mirrors that of the council’s ICT strategy, based primarily on Microsoft technologies from the foundations of storage and processing, to the new and upcoming genre of collaboration and presence applications.

“SharePoint and Office Communicator feature strongly in both designs along with ubiquitous converged IP communications infrastructures using wired and wireless networking, to facilitate mobile and flexible working, teaching, and learning.”

There were “numerous opportunities” for sharing infrastructure including IP telephony systems, he said. Disaster recovery solutions may even be linked to the future London Olympics infrastructure. Newham is the host borough for the event in 2012.

RM was chosen because it was “forward thinking” in its approach, the council said. It was selected by the Education ICT service, the Information Technology Advisory and Support Service, and Newham ICT.

The BSF programme aims to “rebuild or renew” most schools in England. Last August, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council selected RM to provide a managed IT infrastructure for seven new “learning centres” that will replace its 11 secondary schools.

A month later, South Tyneside and Gateshead councils chose Morse as their preferred bidder to install ICT managed services across 12 newly built schools over the next five years.

And North East Lincolnshire selected Capita to provide IT outsourcing, including work on the BSF programme.