The BSF support model proposed by Partnership for Schools plays heavily upon school fears that its IT support staff may leave suddenly or go long term sick and exploits the fear by offering them an 'insurance' policy to provide support from elsewhere.
This 'offer' relies upon the fact that all BSF schools look the same in ICT terms so you can send any technician to any school & they will know what to expect.
It is difficult to argue against this without sounding as if you are only interested in protecting your job. I had hopes that the teaching staff & their unions would wake up to the support issues but so far they appear not to care.
Also the question is where do you stop? That argument goes for everything - in any job, people are employed to do a set something - the person or people doing that are just as likely to vanish as IT staff are - should there job be outsourced to? The SLT isn't that much bigger than IT Services here - what happened if all of them "vanished" as seems to be the fear that we will? There'll be no-one to make decisions and run the school - opps, better outsource that too... What if the Head of History goes? Someone would have to come in and learn the SoW, and the particularities of that department - opps, better out source that too, just in case.
Most school DO look the same in IT terms - How many schools use either Windows, Linux, or Mac - vs - use something totally unknown? - Most of us use the same basis for our networks - and as such - any decent M$ or Linux sysadmin should be able to come in, and get their head around how things work pretty easily.
Is killing innovation in schools really worth it because of the fear that 3-odd people might all get killed by a bus in the same day?
Last edited by Diello; 7th March 2008 at 10:28 AM.
Should the whole SLT disappear then the LA can step in with support from existing staff and governors. In Trust Schools it is with the assistance the board of trustess as well, and Academies with the support of the SSAT. SLTs have been outsourced previously ... and that is one of the reasons why you get federated schools. LAs have been known to place Heads in particular schools by force to address issues. SLT are not exempt from this sort of thing.
The risk of companies going bust is seriously limited by the tender process. Included in majority of EU procurement processes are risk analysis on the financial safety of the companies. This includes the company winning more contracts than they are capable of supporting, hence why TUPE is so important to many of the bidding companies. They are relying on getting a pretty full compliment of staff from schools. One of the reasons why some schools are going to have staff taken away is because they will be moved to a school that is presently understaffed even in the company's eyes!
When teachers go, then you have a pretty comprehensive cover system within schools, as well as supply teachers, companies that provide short, mid and long term cover ... This is also used to cover areas such as maternity /paternity and long term sick, something which few schools make provision for with associate staff.
The questions have come up before and the answers have been around for some years. I first came across this discussion 8 years ago and people had the answers then, some answers have changed as politics and initiatives have changed, but people in the various organisations or businesses still have answers to knock most of these arguements down. The only ones they don't have are the impact on T&L and the impact on innovation.
we should replace all the teachers with robots, because teachers *can* get stressed and go off sick for weeks at a time. Kids dont learn much with a string of supply teachers. Plus robots are immune to the emotional rollercoaster of kids minds and dont stand for any crap.
Or am I just too cynical
In my school for example, for historical reasons we install SIMS.net on the E: drive of the MIS server, while other schools use D:
You would be amazed how often this catches out the visiting MIS Support Specialists from the LA
In contrast, I would expect a 'cover' techie to be able to sort out and keep running a standard network with no problems, printer problems and jams, minor fixes to stations (replace keyboard and mice type stuff) and the other day to day stuff. Ok they wouldn't be expected to plan out anything longterm or any major projects but if the network is ticking along then that shouldn't be a problem. Now it is maybe my bias as a techie but that seems like a higher level of cover to me then just sitting in a room to make sure the kids don't kill each other.
I'm a reporter at Computing, a business technology magazine based in London.
We've been following the comments which came in response to an article we published at the end of February - The Lure of the Public Sector -written by an external contributor.
We'd be very interested to hear people's thoughts about BSF, so if there's anything you like to talk to us about, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Hmmmm, where do we begin.....
Innovation in ICT will be taken away from IT professionals and teachers in schools, and placed in the hands of private sector companies, away from those who care, and given to those who want their Christmas bonus.
I am an IT Manager for an ICT Specialist school, we have nearly 450 workstations, and two techs including myself. As and IT department we also run CCTV, Door security, and such like. Having read up on the BSF proposals following other threads on this site, I happened across the outset template for ICT and read through all 33 pages of it. I am now confident that we have currently a higher baseline system than the one marked as fundamental by P4S. Many things on the list were not only impractical, by also not desireable. I took my findings to my head who has a large involvement with our BSF board at the LA who had less of an idea of what was coming than I did.
If our headtachers do not know what is going to happen to the schools, and our BSF board members have no idea about the impact on ICT and IT departments who have we left to talk to about our concerns. It is not about our jobs, as most staff can be TUPED, it is not only about the positives and negatives of outsourcing, it is the question of answerability. T+L is supported in schools by IT because we are there, and we can be told what to do. As managers and senior techs we work with our management teams to strategise the ongoing evolution of our IT provision, but ultimately we answer to the wishes of our respective SLTs. Managed services with TUPED staff will not have that. The senior onsite Tech will have no say as to the devleopment of the IT in that school, only the managers at the service company. Yes, I accept that the service company will be paid for by the school, and will have at least some say on the direction of IT provision, but there will be another line between those that want, and those that do. SLT and IT respectively.
In terms of press coverage a consistent and rational arguement against outsourcing and baseline resetting has to be made, as it can only have an impact at a national level. Each BSF project must be evaulated against the P4S baseline, and if it exceeds it leave it well alone, and allow the continual evolution through the existing staff, where the school doesn't then a revolution can be used to kickstart the new school. But outsourcing wholeheartedly, regardless of what is in place is shortsighted in the extreme.
Squelch (10th March 2008)
They'll all be wiped out as the Big 4 take over the Education sector...
As well as the impact it will have on the ICT Professional status of the UK as thousands of ICT Professionals are going to turned into Toner Drones and their skill set will be downgraded.....
Basicaly the Education Sector is about to lose all their ICT Professionals... being replaced with low grade ICT Technicians..
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