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Blue Skies Thread, Sensible level of technical support in General; ...
  1. #16
    Pottsey's Avatar
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    Secondary school with post16 students
    75 ish pupils
    43 desktops and 21 laptops
    10 servers & admin PC’s

    1 full time technician

  2. #17

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    600+ machines, mostly desktops, 55 IWB's, 6 laptop trolleys running on managed wireless. 15 servers some real some virtual and numerous other odds and sods. Plain vanilla Windows 2007/XP network.

    We do everything with a plug which is technically more advanced than an OHP, including CCTV in and out, AV and PA in the Hall, and some other bits and pieces.

    We are an 11-16 comp with 1050 on roll.

    1 full time network manager.
    1 half time ICT technician
    and about half of my time (I'm officially ICT Manager but am also MIS manager, Exams Officer and I maintain the VLE) over the course of the year.

    We manage reasonably well, but we have spent a lot of money on making our network robust, don't have much old kit and use only a few variations of machine types to keep it as simple as we can. There has in effect been a policy to invest in kit rather than people to improve reliability. Seems to have worked for us bu YMMV.

  3. #18
    pagelad's Avatar
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    4 Primary Schools

    Each with a server AD, Ranger

    Split over the schools :
    About 250 Machines total
    50+ Laptops
    24 Smart & Promethean Boards

    and Little ol me

    Thankfully since i started last year ive systematically wiped and reinstalled everything that was shoddily done before so most of the schools have near identical configuations which makes my life easier.

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    If you have a perfect one, Becta "recommends" 1 tech to every 150 machines, but it can go down to 1 tech to every 50 if it's in a bad state. However it really does depend on the school...
    I wonder how many schools have anything like this? Based upon our 1.25ish technicians, we have one tech per 434 machines! Although, our NM tends to get involved with the day-to-day stuff simply because of the understaffing (even though the day-to-day running/support/answering the phone is technically outwith his remit).

  5. #20
    DanW's Avatar
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    3-18 Independent Boarding School
    600 + Pupils
    350 + computers
    26 + Smart Boards
    100 MBit Interwebs
    20 + Virtual Servers running across 4 HP Proliants via ESX 3.5 server
    70 Blade PC's


    1 x Network Manager
    1 x Senior Tech
    1 x Tech
    1 x Help desk Person

  6. #21
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    Grade 0 - 12 (ages 6 through to 18)
    1000 Students
    250 PCs
    75 Laptops
    30+ Projectors

    And it's just me :P
    And in my "spare time" I run the technical side of Drama (sound/lights)
    yay!

  7. #22
    browolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotSoFast View Post
    All,

    • Secondary (11-18) with about 1700 students
    • RM Network with around 600 workstations including admin, offices and laptops
    • Projector and DVD/VCR in virtually all (100 plus) classrooms
    • SharePoint, Exchange and various other bits like ClickView in addition to usual server setup


    1 full time network manager and 3 full time technicians

    Simon
    we have pretty much the same as this equipment wise, not as many projectors and vanilla 2003 network

    we have 1 full time network manager 3 term time technicians (1 senior), 1 does primary schools 50% of his time + 1 volunteer mother with a tech background.


    I think the right ratio is difficult to define as it depends on the nature of the network and how it is managed. for instance we've had the 1 nm + 3 term time techs for years and in that time the network size and potential workload" has at least increased by a 1/3. I think we've managed to keep on top of it because we have 1 person who spends less time fixing stuff and more time being proactive over making our work easier and quicker and taking note of what's taking up our time and how to make it take up less time or no time. I'd say in the long run, having less fixing mantime and having an amount of proactive innovation has made us significantly more efficient and its not always about making technicians operate more efficiently. There's plenty of teachers, if you give them user-friendly systems are happier doing things themselves than sending kids to us with notes and its not necessarily the more IT literate ones. We dont even have to educate new teachers about how to turn the internet on anymore as their departments will do it for us.

  8. #23

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy_git View Post
    I wonder how many schools have anything like this? Based upon our 1.25ish technicians, we have one tech per 434 machines! Although, our NM tends to get involved with the day-to-day stuff simply because of the understaffing (even though the day-to-day running/support/answering the phone is technically outwith his remit).
    If you look at the Becta Technical Competencies you will see that they are cumulative. It is expected that a Level D member of staff (usually the Network Manager) will be capable of all activities of the junior members. This, partly, reiterates the requirement for the Network Manager not to be a member of teaching staff.

    Again, this just highlights the problem of the differences of job roles in support staff in schools ... and you either go for something completely common across the board by force of contract (one of the views that people take on BSF), accept that roles will vary but some type of framework is needed (difficult when you have to take into account the different types and levels of technology used in schools and the different skill sets of staff providing support) ... or accept that we cannot have commonality and we just need to get on with it based around good practice.

    This is one of the factors preventing a common pay structure too.

  9. #24

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    True, however there becomes a point surely where the NM can't do the NM role effectively, as he's spending all the time trying to do day-to-day stuff? Of course, filling in from time to time is one thing (say if a technician is off ill, or it's the first day of term and everything is manic), but being forced to spend time away from your real duties doing another job for half the time isn't ideal.

    @browolf : I agree that with some subtle education of staff you can go a long way. I was forever getting calls from our librarians, for simple things like paper filling, computers unplugged etc. After some hair-pulling, I sat down with them for half an hour or so on an INSET day and went through some basic troubleshooting - how to check that it's plugged in, switched on, mouse / keyboard plugged in, how to fill a printer with paper. As such the Library causes far less aggro now than it used to.

    There is also the issue we occasionally get where staff "don't want to report things that are urgent because we know you're busy..." - far better to learn about it when it's not urgent than when it's "needed urgently for a lesson in 5 minutes".

  10. #25

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    @grumpy_git
    The number of 'technicians' is the wrong way to look at it. It is the number of technical support staff. The NM may have planned and the deployed the system within the school to make it more efficient for the technicians dealing with day to day tasks. It all depends on how your network is setup. Some networks might not have an NM with technical experience but who can plan and manage things, others may make more use of middleware to manage day to day activities ...

    It is really hard to get an exact number at times but you should always include the NM as tech support is not always reactive thing.

  11. #26

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    1100 ish, nm + two techs

  12. #27
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    1000 ish students
    120 ish staff
    300+ pc's
    150+ laptops
    projectors in each room
    many servers etc..

    Myself (the NM) and 1 full time tech

    I find i rarely have time to do anything other than techie repair tasks instead of managing the network.

    We have just had some consultancy work (network penetration testing, information risk assessments etc) done by a company working for the LEA and they were shocked at the lack of IT support staff for the size of the system and amount of users. They recommended in their report that we should have a an absolute minimum, 4 full time technicians (no chance )

    They also stated that we should be looking at similar technical support staff levels as those in the admin department.... 15+

    Makes you think.

  13. #28
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    Hi

    We have
    600 Classroom PC's
    100 Admin PC's (offices)
    150ish Staff Laptops
    5 Servers
    2 Nas Boxes
    50ish projectors (mounted)
    30 Smart boards
    36 access point wireless network
    6 mobile projectors
    we also look after PA Kits and TV System
    and now over 420 student laptops (bain of my life)

    1800 students
    200 staff (mostly moaning gits)

    1 network manager, 1 (very Good) technician (me), and 1 assistant to start soon as crb done

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by perculator View Post
    Hi

    We have
    600 Classroom PC's
    100 Admin PC's (offices)
    150ish Staff Laptops
    5 Servers
    2 Nas Boxes
    50ish projectors (mounted)
    30 Smart boards
    36 access point wireless network
    6 mobile projectors
    we also look after PA Kits and TV System
    and now over 420 student laptops (bain of my life)

    1800 students
    200 staff (mostly moaning gits)

    1 network manager, 1 (very Good) technician (me), and 1 assistant to start soon as crb done
    Thats alot of stuff. 3 I thought wud have been standard/max though if the network is setup good.

    TBH I personally think as i said just now, if you have a well run network you don't need to many people anyway. Ive seen some people here say they have like 350 pc's and maybe 100 laptops only and there are 4 people tbh thats alot ?
    Last edited by Jiser; 28th January 2009 at 04:56 PM.

  15. #30

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    We're a community college with around 1 250 students and 180 staff.

    We support three primaries at present, with another one joining us soon.

    In total we support about 1000 computers (desktop/laptop mix), 16 servers, 85 interactive whiteboards and around 95 projectors, with 80-ish printers thrown in for good measure.

    We have a site-wide WiFi network (some 50 WAP's) on a DMZ that is set to prioritise VoIP traffic over normal data and we support the VoIP setup, including the WinMo handsets. Additionally we have several WAP's that are on the "proper" network dotted around.

    The department consists of me and four technicians. We have a lot of automation, but in some respects we're still very primitive. Sadly documentation is nowhere near as detailed and accurate as I'd like it to be, but we've made good progress.



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