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BSF Thread, BSF and special schools... in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Hi all, I'm a IT manager at an Essex Special School and atended a scary meeting yesterday with my head ...
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    BSF and special schools...

    Hi all,

    I'm a IT manager at an Essex Special School and atended a scary meeting yesterday with my head where he outlined a few details of BSf, its processes and its timelines. We are due for operation in 2011.

    As a special school we need specialist kit and our current ICT setup is designed to (obviously) directly benefit the students. Each classroom has a touch screen, switches, a big keyboard and a big track mouse. As well as the obligatory IWB and a couple of XP machines.

    I have a few questions that I'd like to put to fellow IT suport staff...

    1. Why outsource to a large company who could potentialy have no experience or knowledge of our students and their complex needs?

    2. Would we have a similar setup to our current one or would we have a generic network and hardware model imposed upon us by the the company?

    3. My job: What if I don't want to work for that company? What if I want to be directly employed by my school? Is that possible?

    4. Is the ICT investment a one off payment? If so what happens in 3-5 years when our once new kit is damaged and battered? (our hardware takes serious abuse in my school)

    Thats all I can think of for now, I must confess that my brain is still in shock after being told yesterday that effectively my job is on the line.

    Cheers in advance, J.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Why outsource to a large company who could potentialy have no experience or knowledge of our students and their complex needs?
    In theory, to save money.
    Would we have a similar setup to our current one or would we have a generic network and hardware model imposed upon us by the the company?
    Generally the company will want to keep everything as generic as possible, as it reduces their overheads.
    What if I don't want to work for that company?
    I suggest you start looking for alternative employment as soon as possible. You'll be happy to know your employment prospects are quite good in the commercial world.
    What if I want to be directly employed by my school? Is that possible?
    It depends on the terms of the BSF contract. However it's unlikely to be possible.
    Is the ICT investment a one off payment?
    Yes. Although I believe the government has the option to review the situation and terminate it early, or continue beyond the original cut off dates.
    If so what happens in 3-5 years when our once new kit is damaged and battered?
    They school must decide if it wishes to continue with it's BSF contract. However it will have to stump up the entire cost from it's own budget.
    our hardware takes serious abuse in my school
    Be careful here, some BSF contracts like to try charge the school full price + labour for vandalism related repairs/replacements.
    Thats all I can think of for now, I must confess that my brain is still in shock after being told yesterday that effectively my job is on the line.
    In summary, while you have realised your getting a pretty raw deal here, you need to be aware that it's nowhere nearly as bad as the mess the school is going to get itself into. Also, try searching the forums for 'BSF' there's plenty of threads to read on the subject.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    "you need to be aware that it's nowhere nearly as bad as the mess the school is going to get itself into"

    What do you mean by that?

    What are the long term implications?

    J.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Well, from the impression I have. I foresee the following problems:

    * I think the service BSF contractors will offer will not be tailored to a school environment. Square pegs and round holes come to mind.

    * As there is unlikely to be any permanent onsite tech support presence, support is going to be more infrequent and more expensive. For example, I think £20 to change a floppy drive was mentioned in another thread.

    * Once the BSF money dries up, the school has to start paying in full for the BSF contract. From the kind of figures I've seen, this is vastly more expensive than any in-house IT budget I know of (Even GrumbleDooks).

    * All the IT techs who were working in schools will be TUPE'd, made redundant. etc and cleared off and got better jobs in the commercial sector. Thus if the school wants to go back to in-house IT support, there's no one on the job market who knows how to do it any more.

    There you go, how to mess up school IT on a national level in four easy bullet points

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    The ICT Support Contract (which will cost double the schools present ICT support costs) is only paid for the first year of the 5 year contract by BSF funding..

    for the other 4 years the school has to find it from thier own budget..

    Plus they will enter into a "refresh" contact which means thay will be contracted into buying more kit every year as the new company will not automatically support kit over 3 years old..

    Plus all the feeebie work that was done .. like repair damaged PC's or set up a projetor for a presentation is chargeable..

    Plus the Support staff no longer work for the school.. therefore cannot be instructed by the schooll.. so all problems and requests have to come through a help desk and assesed if they are chargeable (aditional work like replace missing mice) and if chargeable most likely a purchase order has to be signed before any work gets started..

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Thats the most inefficent system I have ever heard of.

    It's 2007 and I cannot believe that schools would enter into such a red tape filled nightmare of a support contract.

    I worried that that heads are bedazled by the promise of Millions of pounds (and who can blame them) but are not looking into the real detail surrounding these managed service contracts.

    My main concern is that the needs of my students will not be met as we enter into a contract with a corperate giant with no hands on experience of children of complex and severe special needs.

    Charged to change a mouse!!!! WHAT????

    Has the world gone mad?

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    The managed IT service is really a side deal. The main attraction for the school are the new buildings.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    The managed IT service is really a side deal.
    The managed IT Service isn't a side deal - It's mandatory for BSF - no managed service == no bsf == no new buildings. It's an integral part of BSF

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Well yes I know that. But it wasn't what I meant. What's been marketed to head teachers seems to be 'Oooh look, you get shiny new buildings!' and little mention of the IT support contracts.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    I have recieved assurances from my head that it is his intention to keep me on the school books and not have me TUPED. Weather or not that happens is another matter because i'm not sure the decision is his to make. I guess it depends on the terms of the service contract.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    The managed IT service is really a side deal.
    The managed IT Service isn't a side deal - It's mandatory for BSF - no managed service == no bsf == no new buildings. It's an integral part of BSF
    Nay, nay and thrice nay!

    The thing that is mandatory is ICT Services as part of the pot of funding and strategy ... yes, there is a generic template (which hasn't come from P4S!) that says it must have a managed service ... but it is up to the LA whether that is the case.

    You can pull out of the IT section of it and still get the buildings, but the legal position it puts the schools in is a back-breaker.

    I repeat again ... it does *not* have to be a managed service. It is not semantics ... it is a key point that we have to make sure that schools are aware of so that *they* can decide what is best for their school ... not the company bidding, not a consultant brought in from outside education ... the school!!!

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Just to clarify Grumbledook..

    To get the ICT part of the BSF funding you have to take Managed ICT Services by either the LEA or some big company..

    If you insist the ICT stays in-house you lose the ICT part of the funding which is over a million pounds in most schools..

    Also there is no role for an School ICT Manager in the present BSF setup.. only technician drones

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    But there must be a role for an IT Manager, who is going manage the vast amounts of kit onsite and lisase between the school and service provider?

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    The managed IT service is really a side deal.
    The managed IT Service isn't a side deal - It's mandatory for BSF - no managed service == no bsf == no new buildings. It's an integral part of BSF
    Nay, nay and thrice nay!

    The thing that is mandatory is ICT Services as part of the pot of funding and strategy ... yes, there is a generic template (which hasn't come from P4S!) that says it must have a managed service ... but it is up to the LA whether that is the case.

    You can pull out of the IT section of it and still get the buildings, but the legal position it puts the schools in is a back-breaker.

    I repeat again ... it does *not* have to be a managed service. It is not semantics ... it is a key point that we have to make sure that schools are aware of so that *they* can decide what is best for their school ... not the company bidding, not a consultant brought in from outside education ... the school!!!
    Well PfS PLC certainly see it as mandatory. I suggest that it is going to be extremely difficult to get any BSF bid through them without a managed ICT, even in Newcastle ICT was essentially managed by the local authority. PfS get payed to oversee the outsource process, nobody will allow new schools to be built without an ICT infrastructre, then expect schools to fund it them selves without the extra BSF money. The practical upshot is that school ict will be privatised for as long as govenment issue a cash insentive for it to be outsourced.

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    Re: BSF and special schools...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo
    But there must be a role for an IT Manager, who is going manage the vast amounts of kit onsite and lisase between the school and service provider?
    The kit is managed centrally. The service provider uses a telephone helpdesk system.

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