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BSF Thread, Job Losses in Hackney BSF and RM? in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Regarding the help desk call and the next 15 mins trying to get the teacher in question to fix their ...
  1. #16
    Vegas's Avatar
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    Regarding the help desk call and the next 15 mins trying to get the teacher in question to fix their problem.........how may schools actually have phones in their classrooms?!
    I know that when most of our teachers call, they tell us their problem and then hang up, they don't have time to try a fix over the phone, they just expect to see you in their classroom in 2 mins time. If they are expected to hang on the phone with some help desk then surely the students education will suffer which is the reason why we are all employed.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    I expect the unions will go nuts too. Teachers aren't supposed to do admin/support work anymore. That includes doing basic hardware diagnostics over the phone for some help desk in my book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    I expect the unions will go nuts too. Teachers aren't supposed to do admin/support work anymore. That includes doing basic hardware diagnostics over the phone for some help desk in my book.
    I raised this very point with a BSF Consultant and I was told BSF was all about 'remodelling' the secondary education system and staff would have to get used to it!

  4. #19

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    From what I hear (from a union man), they have been placated as for a good number of schools it will make little difference to what happens already (their research, not Govt or PfS), but it will be stored up for when they need something to argue about in the future.

    Hmmm ... politics getting in the way again?

  5. #20

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    So far (in BSF land) RM have said they intend to keep everybody, though for many they'd prefer to offer alternative, jobs (yes that means loosing TUPE protection).

    Now given that is what they are publicly saying, to violate that will cause a 'whole heap of trouble' which is something they'd be keen to avoid.

    BSF ITCD responses that propose teachers have to phone a central helpdesk, also propose a phone in every classroom. Now what ever you may think of RM, their Solution Architects are pretty switched on people and they have thought of many of the issues that you will have, and if they haven't they will incorporate them into the proposal. A central tenet of BSF is Partnership... if you spot something they haven't it is in everybody's interest to raise it and get it sorted.

    If a bidder can't operate in that way, you don't want them as your partner for the next 20 years.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    BSF ITCD responses that propose teachers have to phone a central helpdesk, also propose a phone in every classroom. Now what ever you may think of RM, their Solution Architects are pretty switched on people and they have thought of many of the issues that you will have, and if they haven't they will incorporate them into the proposal.
    And have they thought of the fact that a class full of screaming kids + teacher trying to explain a problem in non-technical terms + person on other end of helpdesk doesn't = a pretty switched on idea.
    remember not every school is full of little darlings who will sit in silence while you ring a technical support line. coupled with the fact that if teachers are telling kids that phones are banned in class, then proceed to spend 10mins on the phone in lesson (regardless what for), it will be kids logic that 'you are allowed to use a phone, so am i.'

    if you spot something they haven't it is in everybody's interest to raise it and get it sorted.
    like the whole bsf ict managed services idea?
    Last edited by MK-2; 7th February 2008 at 08:36 AM.

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    One of the reasons I wanted to get some of these 'experts' into my school was to take them along to a couple of classroom call-outs where they would experience first-hand what happens at the start of a lesson when the technology fails.

    I suspect nobody has done a TCO analysis of reducing onsite school technical support. If you have to use more highly paid teachers to do initial problem determination rather than technicians the cost to the school must be higher in the long run.

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    Broc, I suspect this is exactly the sort of analysis that has been done, and I'm sure it shows that outsourced centrally managed systems, with limited local support provide the lowest TCO and support the highest attainment for learners.

    MK-2 in your scenario it **should** play out something like this:

    Teacher picks up phone - "My Whiteboard's FUCT"
    Class - **crash** Bang **riot*
    Teacher - "Need it fixed now!"
    Operator - "OK no problem, John will be there shortly"
    **click**
    Teacher returns attention to class
    Operator contacts John who is dispatched with the correct spare pen/projector and laptop and leads. Possible becuase it is a managed service keeping track of who and what is where, the helpdesk know from the number of the caller where they were and what kit they had in the room.
    15 minutes later - problem is resolved.


    Do we really believe that the ICT partners will be able to maintain that level of understanding of each schools systems? If not, why not? We're getting pretty reasonable at that level of service round here - provided we are not already engaged on an issue...
    Last edited by psydii; 7th February 2008 at 11:17 AM.

  9. #24

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    psydii

    TCO means including the teachers time too......

    How much teaching time will be lost dealing with the helpdesk as they talk them through a screen driven PD process? Will the teacher simply call for a classroom assistant to help instead? These 'costs' may not show up on the managed service bottom line but they are real costs to the school.

    Your scenario described to MK-2 is fine, until there are 3-4 or more similar urgent requests queued for the only technician on site. Even 15 minutes downtime is 25% lesson wasted.......

    I once worked in a commercial environment where they decided to switch from centralised printing to distributed to save print operator costs. They saved the print operator costs, but it cost 3-4 times more for increased network support staff, and the end users (many of whom were highly paid professionals) had to waste time sorting out their own printout from other people.

    That is why TCO is so important.
    Last edited by broc; 7th February 2008 at 11:33 AM.

  10. #25

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    My main problem with how that scenario plays out (regardless of if it works like that 100%) is that whoever is situated in the school doesn't really need much IT know how as that can be passed on from the call centre.

    Right now most of us are proactive rather than reactive. We find the problems before they affect others. With that scenario we would be sat there waiting for a phone call, so only reacting to new problems.

    On a sidenote, how much longer would it take for a teacher to call up a helpdesk, get the problem logged, then for that helpdesk to pass on the problem to the technician on site, who may not be in the office. so he has to drop everything, go to his office, pick up the kit he is instructed to, then go fix it.
    Why is the sudden need for middle men? There is an IT suite directly opposite our office. It takes the teacher less than 10 seconds to report a problem. The new way it can take 5-15mins for a resolution. How is this increasing technical support in schools?

  11. #26

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    Broc I'm sure "they" have done a thorough study that show the TCO is lower if they do it the way they want to.

    You just cited an example of decentralising a Managed Service increased TCO. While I understand your point, the example when taken out of context appears to argue for centralised Managed Services.

    MK-2: In a large school not everyone is 10 seconds from the physical helpdesk. Most of our requests come via email, some by phone, some by radio and others by pupil post. Does it matter that much if the 'desk' itself is not actually on site?

    Regarding the scenario - how do we deal with having to be in two places at once now? Don't forget that all server/systems maintenance and management is done remotely, as is anything remotely complicated that doesn't require hands-on interaction. If my team didn't have to look after the servers (hard/software) or do funky sql on the management dbs, or integrate the latest and greatest application with our Group Policy/LDAP/Webserver, or project manage, we'd be laughing in terms of how fast we could knock off jobs from our in house helpdesk. Actually with three of us, 2/3's could be in the pub at any given time and our users would still love us.

  12. #27

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    Psydii

    I agree with you the example I gave favoured a centralised service; the point I was making is that you need to look beyond the 'obvious' when looking at TCO. Looking at the ICT cost alone does not reflect the true TCO.

    As it happens I do not believe for one minute a full TCO case has been prepared for any school, any more than I believe a sound business case was developed to prove a managed service was cost effective for schools. If either of these has been prepared, Partnership for Schools is remarkably reluctant to share them with anyone.

    The whole BSF program is being driven by the same political dogma that is driving Academies, this time aided and abetted by private companies out to make a profit delivering managed services.

    In my other role (until fairly recently) as a Chair of Governors at a Secondary School I was asked to sign up to a BSF managed ICT service 'in principle' without being given any indication of cost to my school; We were not told what the service would deliver, how much it would cost, and if the school would have any option of withdrawing if it did not believe the Managed Service was delivering best value. If the financial case had been available surely it would have been used to convince our governing body instead of employing bullying tactics?

    Few if any Head Teachers I have spoken to want managed ICT services; most are happy with what they have now. They are being persuaded by the offer of substantial capital investment with strings attached.

    At my school we don't need to do funky SQL on our MIS system, or spend that much time maintaining our servers, they pretty much run themselves. We do spend a lot of time supporting our end-users 'hands-on' and my school will certainly suffer if the local support team is reduced, especially as we will see an increase from 500 to 1000+ end-user devices across the school as a result of BSF.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Does anyone mind if I troll a bit before running away?

    Yes?

    Oh well ... I'll just leave a short comment then.

    We keep talking about what happens when things go wrong ... who said things will go wrong?

    I'll get my coat ... it is the asbestos one.

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    They may not go wrong, but they might not be quite right either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    We keep talking about what happens when things go wrong ... who said things will go wrong?
    From the information we have, and past cases where IT and government are involved on any level; something is bound to go wrong, it's virtually guaranteed between the lines of each agreement.

    Let's turn this around again, and ask, "how can it possibly work?"

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