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BSF Thread, Help needed to explain BSF in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; I am a governor at the local comp and I have just been sent the details of the Borough Council ...
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    witch's Avatar
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    Help needed to explain BSF

    I am a governor at the local comp and I have just been sent the details of the Borough Council consultation document about BSF. I don't think the school really understand what BSF may mean for schools, as this is all the document has to say about ICT provision, (after there have been a couple of paragraphs about ICT being an 'ever widening route to empowerment' and 'ICT can make learning more effective' etc etc)

    "Such ICT provision can be supplied and maintained through an agreed managed service offered to all schools in *unitary authority AND unitary authority next door* to provide consistency and best value. A managed service will contain common core components but will also allow for flexibility so that it does not stifle innovation or school individuality"

    What I need is a well thought out piece about what a 'managed service' may mean, with examples if possible, so at least they will be prepared and know what's what. I also think that the school's NM doesn't know much about it either, as this is really the first that SMT have ever heard about it, so I could do with some details for him too.
    I am not sure that I know enough about the subject to present the argument effectively although I have read all the forum posts (and got confused in the process) so I do hope someone can help. I have a governor's meeting on Wednesday and I am sure this BSF issue will be raised then, so it would be nice to have something to say by then
    Thanks very much

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Simply put ... a managed service is where all services and support to do with the IT infrastructure, the implementation of IT resources within the schools and the strategy behind how it can be delivered on bulk to multiple clients are all provided by a body outside of the school and / or LA(s).

    It is done on the basis of a contractual needs agreement. The organising body (The LEP or LA) put forward that they need a company to provide it based on certain criteria ... this is part of the business plan written by the LA to get the funding in the first place. This then becomes part of the invitation to tender ... and then you get the procurement process.

    During each of these stages the school needs to outline clearly to the LA / LEP what its needs are. These need to be both functional and technical where possible. Clear guidance of the impact that certain functionality or or technical aspects can have on Teaching and Learning, Acheivement and Attainment, and Leadership and Administration should be included. This is key to ensuring that the schools' strategy is catered for and so the school needs to ensure that it has representation (either directly as a school or with those working on the various stages.)

    The goals of BSF are many-fold ... it is not just about bricks and mortar, or about cables and computers ... it is also a chance for schools to re-implement or redefine their strategies for ICT.

    In plain english ... the building and kit is just one part of looking at what works, what doesn't and trying to get it all sorted as part of a re-build / re-furb. The key is not to throw away what works, or be forced to throw it away, and to look at others who might be doing stuff that works better than you have already. It is thoght be some to make it all a bit easier if someone takes one of the difficult bits off your hands to look after. That bit will be either the building, the IT or both!. Make up your mind whether that school needs someone else to look after stuff or whether the school can do it better itself. You may not have a choice.

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    Grommit's Avatar
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    Let me put my version forward (emotional language version of course)

    1/ You will lose control of your Network. (no more sticking on software quickly for next lesson)

    2/ Your Network will be run and managed by a private company

    3/ Your NM will no longer have a network to run so will either be TUPED as a Technician or retrenched

    3a/ Hopefully the rest of the technical staff will be TUPED to the new company.

    4/ Your running costs could double. as BSF costs are around £100pa per child

    5/ The Technicians will no longer work for the School and can only be instructed by the Managed service company

    6/ The school has to report all faults through a helpdesk and then the technicians will receive instructions.

    7/All requests for support will be assessed by the Managed Service company to see if they are in the SLA if they are not additional charges will be incurred (i.e.. vandalised Mice or keyboards)

    8/ The school will have to find 4 years funding to pay for the Managed Services.. approx £100 per year per pupil (BSF pay for 1st year only)

    8/ You will be forced to buy all future ICT equipment through the Managed Service Company (while contract is enforce),

    9/ If the NM does additional work like, CCTV, Access Control, Cashless Catering, Photocopiers, AV and Media, after hours school functions...these could be additional cost ontop of the Managed Service Contract

    If you have a good network and a good network manager you will be most probably worse off under the BSF forced Managed Services.

    There is talk of an Opt out of Managed Services clause with the ICT but still keep the funding... if a good business case is made..(not sure if this is true yet)


    All the buzzwords and mumbojumbo like

    "'ever widening route to empowerment' and 'ICT can make learning more effective' etc etc).......to provide consistency and best value. ......but will also allow for flexibility so that it does not stifle innovation or school individuality"

    Is to make it all look super duper and justify them massive cost.. ... but many schools already have this and are doing very well...
    Last edited by Grommit; 16th March 2008 at 03:45 PM.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Thanks - I'll use Grumbledooks for the actual meeting but I will print out Grommits to give to the NM of the school so that he can get a head's up on what is going on.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Let us know what happens. It would be interesting to see BSF from a governors viewpoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Let us know what happens. It would be interesting to see BSF from a governors viewpoint.
    As an ex-Chair of Governors at a wave 1 secondary school, I can give you my viewpoint, albeit a somewhat biased one as I resigned as a Governor of 15 years standing because of BSF.

    BSF in general is seen as an excellent idea by Governors, as a means of rebuilding schools and getting rid of leaky, old, decaying buildings that are increasingly difficult to maintain. The issue of managed services is one that has caused much anguish, certainly at my ex-school. Since the BSF program gained momentum the turnover of ICT support staff there has grown dramatically.

    The BSF program as it stands is moving too slowly, there are too many consultants, consulting architects, and architects involved, too many rounds of fruitless meetings with no clear objectives and no decisions reached, too much money is being 'top-sliced' to pay for the consultants and at every stage of the process the school seems to get less & less for its money and shrinks in size. This is still happening at the school where I work, several waves later.

    As a Chair of Governors along with the Head Teacher we were asked to sign up 'in principle' to the idea of a managed ICT service. When we enquired about what exactly 'in principle' meant we were stonewalled; at one point I was told that by delaying signing up to the managed service I was delaying the whole LA BSF project. I believe this tactic was used at more than one school in the LA, as they picked the schools off one by one.

    During the discussions with the LA I asked for a written definition of what they meant by 'in principle', this was declined. I asked what 'opt-out' options the school had, they said none. I asked what would happen if the school identified that the managed service was not delivering 'best value', they said nothing.

    The reality of course was that the school had no choice; if it wanted the BSF investment, it had to agree with the terms and conditions laid down by the LA under the watchful eyes of Partnership for Schools. At one of our Governors meeting the Leadership team and Governors discussed the managed services issue at length (2 hours). We looked at the prospect of developing our own business plan; quite a few Governors had experience in this area but it was agreed that we had not got the time or reources to do it; we looked at 'opting out' but could not see how we could afford to fund the infrastructure ourselves. In the final analysis none of the Governors were in favour of managed services but it was finally and reluctantly agreed that we would have to sign up. It was put to a vote, there was a narrow majority in favour. Shortly after I wrote to the Director of Education explaining why I no longer wished to be a school Governor.
    Last edited by broc; 17th March 2008 at 10:06 AM.

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    Grommit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Thanks - I'll use Grumbledooks for the actual meeting but I will print out Grommits to give to the NM of the school so that he can get a head's up on what is going on.
    Oh yea add to the list..

    10/ Teachers have to take a more proactive role in ICT support and try to resolve small faults themselves and then contact the helpdesk... who will try to resolve fault with the teacher... if still not fixed then Technician will be called...

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