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BSF Thread, Kent BSF Wave 3: 11 schools and Northgate in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Northgate has recently been appointed preffered bidder for the first parts of the Kent BSF contracts and our school will ...
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    Deaks's Avatar
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    Kent BSF Wave 3: 11 schools and Northgate

    Northgate has recently been appointed preffered bidder for the first parts of the Kent BSF contracts and our school will be one of the first to change over. I'm interested to know what system they have put in place in the past in schools with regard to servers, desktops, student and staff laptops etc....

    It appears from my Googling that in the past they have largely sub-contracted to RM but they were bidding against RM for the Kent contract so there seems to be a conflict there. I'm also obviously interested in what they do about existing staff and what areas of ICT support they leave to the school to sort out themselves.

    I would be interested in any on or off the record comments and can be emailed directly via deaks@dsl.pipex.com if you would your comments not to be on a public forum.
    Last edited by Deaks; 11th March 2008 at 09:16 AM.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    you could do a search for Northgate, though here's one I did earlier.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    The BSF contract with Kent will cover this. You may be able to get hold of it with FoI request.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deaks View Post
    Northgate has recently been appointed preffered bidder for the first parts of the Kent BSF contracts and our school will be one of the first to change over. I'm interested to know what system they have put in place in the past in schools with regard to servers, desktops, student and staff laptops etc....

    It appears from my Googling that in the past they have largely sub-contracted to RM but they were bidding against RM for the Kent contract so there seems to be a conflict there. I'm also obviously interested in what they do about existing staff and what areas of ICT support they leave to the school to sort out themselves.

    I would be interested in any on or off the record comments and can be emailed directly via deaks@dsl.pipex.com if you would your comments not to be on a public
    I'd appreciate if anyone's comments on the above could be copied to me as well via PM please - it'd be most appreciated. Thanks

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    Northgate have the contract in Bristol maybe you might wanna chat with someone at bristol city council to find out some information.

    Ross

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    richard
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    I am very interested in how this pans out as I even though I no longer work for Kent I still have contacts there and would like to keep up to date with what's happening.
    Last edited by richard; 21st January 2008 at 03:17 PM.

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    linuxgirlie's Avatar
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    Interested here also....

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    Deaks's Avatar
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    Some stuff I've heard recently, take it all as rumour until you hear it confirmed from someone.

    Northgate are telling us that it will NOT be an RM system for Kent, they are developing their own system.

    I am told by technicians working in Broadstairs and Gravesend that they are tuping in June.

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    Deaks's Avatar
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    Just had a meeting with our Head. The technical staff in the 11 schools in our phase1 Kent process will all be Tupe'd on June 19th assuming everything gets signed off correctly at KCC.

    I'm told that over the next few weeks and months Northgate will be holding inductions both individually and with groups of staff from various schools to discuss the process.

    We will be staying in our respective schools for the forseeable future and there was the usual reasurrances that t&c's would be protected. There were also assurances that training and support would be a big part of what Northgate would be doing.

    I'm 50/50 on the whole thing myself. At times very cynical while also thinking if done right it could be ok. It's the uncertainty of it all that is the biggest problem. I also appreciate that those of you with good qualifications, lots of experience and in the higher wage bracked will be worrying the most about the whole process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deaks View Post
    It's the uncertainty of it all that is the biggest problem. I also appreciate that those of you with good qualifications, lots of experience and in the higher wage bracked will be worrying the most about the whole process.

    Yep.. what happens to the higher paid Network Managers... could you ask ?

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    Diello's Avatar
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    The Dilbert Principle will apply in a form - they won't want to keep the skilled network managers, because we're the ones most likely to pick up all their mistakes!

    Why do you think NMs etc. aren't included when initial contractors are vetted? They only want people they can pull the wool over.

    Friday afternoon cynicism!

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    Deaks's Avatar
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    Here's the 11 schools affected:

    [The] Charles Dickens School, Broadstairs
    [The] Community College Whitstable, Whitstable
    Dane Court Grammar School, Broadstairs
    Herne Bay High School, Herne bay
    [The] Ifield School, Gravesend
    King Ethelbert School, Birchington
    Northfleet School for Girls, Gravesend
    Northfleet Technology College, Gravesend
    Portal House School, Dover
    St George's CE Foundation School, Broadstairs
    St John's Catholic Comprehensive School, Gravesend
    Thamesview School, Gravesend

    http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and...ture/waves.htm

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    Smile What to expect from BSF

    Having been involed in several of the Bristol BSF schools I can tell you a little bit about what to expect. For each school you will reciece new servers and networking (wored and wireless) along with some laptops and a large number of desktops. Northgate run a managed service so that will mean that you no longer have complete control over your IT infrastructure, hardware and software. For most schools it is a massive change with the focus being educational delivery using as much as IT has to offer. Interactive white boards, projecters, cashless catering, electronic registration along with a managed portal (MLE, Managed Learning Environment) offer many new ways to get educational content to the students and offer teachers better personal control over the content. As much as this is a new setup for Northagte it will be just as new for the teachers and students alike. There have been some teething problems but they have been ironed out for the most part, so by the time deployment happens for you things should be a lot more robust. However, these new tools can only be as good as the person using them so it will take time for the full benefit to be seen. All it all the general feeling I get from the teaching staff is that it has had a positive effect for all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsf-it-man View Post
    Having been involed in several of the Bristol BSF schools I can tell you a little bit about what to expect. For each school you will reciece new servers and networking (wored and wireless) along with some laptops and a large number of desktops. Northgate run a managed service so that will mean that you no longer have complete control over your IT infrastructure, hardware and software. For most schools it is a massive change with the focus being educational delivery using as much as IT has to offer. Interactive white boards, projecters, cashless catering, electronic registration along with a managed portal (MLE, Managed Learning Environment) offer many new ways to get educational content to the students and offer teachers better personal control over the content. As much as this is a new setup for Northagte it will be just as new for the teachers and students alike. There have been some teething problems but they have been ironed out for the most part, so by the time deployment happens for you things should be a lot more robust. However, these new tools can only be as good as the person using them so it will take time for the full benefit to be seen. All it all the general feeling I get from the teaching staff is that it has had a positive effect for all.
    But most schools already have these facilities. Robust networks, cashless catering, dozens of whiteboards etc. I think you possible may be missing the concerns our members have here.

    1. That the companies running the BSF contract will not actually provide a better service than the on currently being provided in house.

    2. The managed service company has its own interests at heart first and foremost, not the schools.

    3. Highly skilled IT staff will be reduced to nothing more than changing printer toner and other menial tasks until they are forced to resign.

    4. The contract winners really don't understand the school IT envinroment.

    I fear what you have posted is nothing more than a press release. School IT environments are possibly the most hostile in the world. It remains to be seen just how much companies can keep up with the pupils!
    Last edited by GrumbleDook; 24th February 2008 at 12:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsf-it-man View Post
    Having been involed in several of the Bristol BSF schools I can tell you a little bit about what to expect. For each school you will reciece new servers and networking (wored and wireless) along with some laptops and a large number of desktops. Northgate run a managed service so that will mean that you no longer have complete control over your IT infrastructure, hardware and software. For most schools it is a massive change with the focus being educational delivery using as much as IT has to offer. Interactive white boards, projecters, cashless catering, electronic registration along with a managed portal (MLE, Managed Learning Environment) offer many new ways to get educational content to the students and offer teachers better personal control over the content. As much as this is a new setup for Northagte it will be just as new for the teachers and students alike. There have been some teething problems but they have been ironed out for the most part, so by the time deployment happens for you things should be a lot more robust. However, these new tools can only be as good as the person using them so it will take time for the full benefit to be seen. All it all the general feeling I get from the teaching staff is that it has had a positive effect for all.
    Further to what DB has said ... you also paint a poor picture for those schools that are not only well established in IT Infrastructure and delivery, but where is the freedom to innovate? The chance for te support team at the school to have a new idea? How can they be expected to work with the teaching staff to come up with new ideas about how ICT can have an impact in the classroom?

    Going back to the Bristol schools ... here are a few questions that need answers.

    Have Northgate provided policies and procedures for schools to do with things security, data protection, acceptable use, CCTV, etc? Who wrote these? How are they disseminated to staff and students in schools? Does this mean that Northgate now have direct input into complaints and grievance policies and procedures in schools? Who controls Freedom of Information requests?

    What is the process for Leadership input into the delivery of ICT in each individual school? Will there be groups looking at cross-curricular ICT? What input do Northgate have into this? Is it a case of "it isn't in our catalogue" or more like "we can do it but it will cost you even more!"?

    Are the SLAs publically available for examination? Are there example timescales for things like software deployment, users administration, hardware deployment?

    These are just a few of the questions that not only need answering but will allow those schools in up and coming BSF waves a chance to make sure there is a smaller chance of being screwed over, and those in BSF waves to come ... it gives them a fighting chance to say "bugger off ... don't tell us ... we will tell *you* how it is going to be!"

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