Simply employ the system used in schools for teaching, to IT staff.
OfSTED - A group of chosen experts in their field (yes... I know what you're going to say... I agree... but lets go with the theory here!) go into the school and assess the standard of teaching - if it's baseline (as defined again by 'those in the know') or above, you're doing a good job, we'll leave you to it and come back later to check again. If you're below baseline, we'll put you in special measures and send in a "super team" to get you up to the baseline.
Simple - that way all schools are at worse baseline.
All that was ever needed was to employ a similar system for IT in schools. Apparently IT is so important that the Gov is making it part of BSF, so it must be important enough to get together a group of experience Network Managers, set a baseline, then send 1 or 2 of them in to schools with OfSTED, or seperately, either or. Still keep our day jobs, it'd just be a couple of sanctioned days out every term say. IT systems/staff get audited, if you're at the set baseline, or above it, you get left alone, if you're below the baseline, you get your IT system put in "special measures", say have a nominated school in every cluster as a "super IT school", which receives additional funding/staff to take on the additional work of the other school, take over that IT system, and bring it up to baseline or better.
As much as we hate to hear it, GD is right - BSF WILL be of bonus to a lot of schools - I've seen schools that have dire IT, that is harming the education of our future population, to whom BSF will be a godsend. I've also seen schools that offer better IT than BSF ever will, and to whom BSF will seriously set back IT.
Like a lot of things from this Gov - BSF is a good idea in theory, it's fatal flaw is that it's trying to shoehorn everyone into a one-size-fits-all approach, (whether because it's simply easier, or for the benefit of big business, is a question,) and that's simply not how it works.
BSF for IT is akin to OFSTED putting all schools in special measures regardless of whether they're a bad or a good school.
Luckily my head if quite knowledgeable in IT (no, seriously... not as a techie, but his head is screwed on) - and he HATES BSF as much as I do - knowing that his control of the facilities in his school are largely going to go down the pan.
Unfortunately there ARE good alternatives to BSF, that will work better, for the schools, for the kids, and for the staff - however, it doesn't serve the Govs interest - they'd much rather pile everyone into the same big pot, because it's easier really, isn't it...
Last edited by Diello; 13th February 2008 at 10:35 AM.
I believe Lancashire/Cumbria are aiming to do the same (apart from Phase 1, Burnley, which is Redstone).
Why cant we stay in House and have a LEA Uber Consultant make sure that the ICT is correct and up to the standards laid out by the BSF.
No we don't want to be controlled by the LEA and told what we can buy... if my Head wants that he gets it.. why should he have to jump through hoops ?
Maybe I am lucky that i have 700 PC's... 400 new and 300 oldish....
User the BSF i would have to dump the 300 oldish P4's with a gig of RAM and XP Pro SP2.. yet these PC's are working great and being supported..
I have a couple of servers older than 3 years... they are workig great.. yet I would have to dump them instead of adding to them..
This is where the BSF fails... there are lots of schools with perfectly working PC's/Apples and Servers that either won't be supported or has to be dumped.... just because it's over 3 years old..
Yet under my idea we add to the systems saving tens of thousands... and only replace when we have to and not have forced refresh..
Last edited by Grommit; 13th February 2008 at 10:58 AM.
I don't work for Newcastle so I don't know how well things are proceeding there.
I believe Newcastle managed to get their proposal under the PfS radar at the very beginning of BSF, before PfS developed their 'rules' insisting the 'managed' service be provided exclusively by private companies. I think the pendulum is starting to swing back a bit. PfS will still make LAs jump through hoops before agreeing that in-house bids are permissible. LAs will have to convince PfS they have the resources & skills to make it work; the external consultants will be the 'gamekeepers' to keep the other partners on their toes.
Of course in this scenario, much of the resource & skills already 'owned' by the LA are the very same ICT support staff employed in schools......
It needs to be backed up with something other than advise. Betca currently advise schools, but plenty of NM's have little regard for the advise because they have their own skewed agenda.Why cant we stay in House and have a LEA Uber Consultant make sure that the ICT is correct and up to the standards laid out by the BSF.
There would need to be another set of targets with financial penalties for your idea to work. No doubt teaching unions would reject this as they are really fed up with targets already. I suspect OFSTED, as mostly ex-teachers, are hardly going to be qualified to judge technical specifications so a new breed of inspectors would be needed - probably above the LA level. This would be my preferred route.
The problem is that that the easiest way to enforce the rules is to centralise.
As things stand, Schools and LAs (as well as NMs) freely pick & choose which advice to take from Becta; two pieces of advice regularly ignored that come to mind are the ratio of support staff to computers and the idea that wireless networks should complement wired networks, not replace them. It is clear even now that the thinking behind my schools ICT infrastructure post BSF will be almost entirely wireless based, a strategy endorsed by the School, LA, and PfS.
I am certain that is one of the key reasons why the Govt insisted the BSF managed service was mandatory was to ensure the BSF ICT funds get spent on raising standards and not providing everyone in SMT with state of the art laptops, PDAs or Blackberrys!
ROFL pricelessThe sooner we get rid of the lazy $hitbag techinicians who constantly mess us around, the better.
If this is how we do it, then fine.
Here's another quote from the same said Muppet.
It will make BSF worth it just to see the look on his face when the managed service drones tell him how things really work.Death to independantly Controlled ICT in Schools..
No more asking the ICT Staff to put a CD on the Server to have a cool an interesting lessson...
Apologies if this already covered, but could it not be possible to excude the ICT side of things from the whole BSF project based on the descretion of the LA and the school being revamped? One possible way to do this would be to have the school rebuild as per BSF guidelines but then have consultants who talk to the relavent IT services people at the school/establishment and implement the changes that are required as a one off rather than streamlining this as managed services. I think this may an alternative as it gives the schools the chance to update/refresh the equipment and infrastructure and still get to keep the IT in-house which will be better in terms of support as the whole team (NMs, senior ICT techs, ICT tech etc) are based on-site.
Having said this i think NMs are schools should also realise that there may be some things suggested by the consultants (as per BSF) that they don't want implement but this could negotiated rather than just denying the changes recommended. I think there are lots of NMs who still goes on the analogy that is my network and you are not going to do this and that, well for a start its the school's network and if this kind of attitude is shown then the ICT services improvement will be delayed and flawed. I think the NMs should be more activily get involved in the BSF process and start to think about possible questions, recommendations to headteachers, the LA representatives.
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