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BSF Thread, Foundation Schools in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Sorry to bring bump this thread but only just read it. I would like to point out that any school ...
  1. #16

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    Sorry to bring bump this thread but only just read it.

    I would like to point out that any school can opt out of a managed service. I have had several conversations and emails with someone at P4S.

    The issue is that the labour government in their infinite wisdom feel that ICT managed services are the key to improving attainment at schools. To this end it was launched as part of the BSF process but the funding is mutually exclusive.

    They give schools the opportunity to opt out and lose the majority of funding or attempt to get the funding themselves via an alternate business case which as far as I know non have been successful.

    LA's are pressuring schools to commit to a MSP but I cannot find out why, when I speak to P4S there is no requirement for the schools to have MSP, but yet the LA's keep pressing ahead with them under a shroud of mystery.

    They forget that they are messing with peoples jobs and a generation of students. Getting it wrong could have a cataclysmic effect on the future of education.

    I am a firm believer of calling a spade a spade and an MSP = outsourcing, it is a phase. ICT is being outsourced by schools not by choice, eventually there will be a realisation that it was not a good idea and it will be brought back in house, either in 5 or 10 years.

    Interestingly given the financial commitment it will require a ratification from the Governing Body of the school for the expenditure. This could have been delegated to a committee or an individual, it is likely to be defined in a financial standards type policy of the school who would need to authorise expenditure of this magnitude. It would be unusual for this to be something that a head or chair of governors could decide on their own.

  2. #17

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There is no mystery as to why LAs want you to take the managed service route. It simply boils down to they need to get x number of schools signed up for it to make it financially viable for the MSP.

    If we want to be realistic about it ... if an LA has 15 schools to cover then should one drop out it is livable ... but should 5 drop out then the quality of the bid from MSPs will be poor, and the costs high. (ok .. higher than if all 15 were involved).

    This would mean that should the schools with top IT pull out then it actually means more work for less money.

    However ... there are only a few schools that have got both a technical and leadership grip on IT ... and it is good to see that there are many of them who are represented on here ... but some schools that claim to be fantastic for IT may have the best tech staff in the world, but the leadership of the use of technology is pants ... and the reverse applies too.

    Some of the wholes that most schools will fall into include lack of documentation and policies, inconsistency in provision and support, poor project / change management, a lack of integration of IT planning into school & curriculum development and not forgetting the big lump of wood schools are hit with at the moment ... poor understanding / implementation of technology to support safeguarding.

    Without sounding cynical ... if we have so many fantastic schools around then why does EG exist? And why don't we have 20 or so copies of policies / procedures to be shared around? Then again ... that is just me sounding like a broken record. Hard to defend against MSPs when they say they can bring all this in.


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    If you were given the money that is going to be given to the MSP for your school then if spent wisely this is all something that could be implemented.

    It is not unusual for people not to want to share their policies and proceedures. I am a school governor and visit other forums relating to this and the same is true there, the policies and proceedures exist but there is a lack of willingness to share them.

    My real issue is that if an MSP is so fantastic why do they have to be forced. Surely if schools like the sound then they would willingly take them on.

  4. Thanks to jayemm from:

    monkeyx (24th March 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Without sounding cynical ... if we have so many fantastic schools around then why does EG exist? And why don't we have 20 or so copies of policies / procedures to be shared around? Then again ... that is just me sounding like a broken record. Hard to defend against MSPs when they say they can bring all this in.

    But it does sound cynical. What is your current job and function in relation to BSF please ? Are you involved in monitoring and managing BSF provision?

    If it is so good then why force schools to sign up and make it virtually impossible to opt out!

  6. #20

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    Northants does not run BSF at the moment ... schools have been spoken to about the future and it is all going through the planning stages at the moment concentrating on 'Transformation' ... ie getting the education stuff right.

    To be honest, if I was to go to each of the schools that will be involved and asked if they had everything perfect they would say no ... are some way ahead of the game and likely to be ahead of the MSP? Then the answer would be yes ... in the majority of areas. How we get it across all areas is going to be the hard bit.

    I am not sure what my role would be for BSF in the future of it, but I am pretty tied up now with dealing with EMBC, stuff on the LA learning platform, raising the standards of IT support and management of IT support across *all* the schools in the LA (not just the handful that are to be involved in BSF), and working with other parts of the LA on IT in other educational settings.

    We do not have a central education IT support unit here ... schools buy in from who they want ... so they already have the option of buying support in or employing their own staff. Majority of secondaries employ their own staff but contract in for specific skills. A number of our schools had a PFI build or rebuild so the cabling, etc is already covered, but IT facilities and support is not. This has led to a vast range of levels of support and facilities, with part of the issue being that not all senior leaders in schools are in a position to effectively manage their IT.

    Some schools and their support staff don't help themselves ... and so we get stuck in the position of someone has to deal with them ... but no company wants to deal with 3 schools when they don't get a profit until they get to 6 schools. The LAs want the schools sorted ... so if the compromise is that some schools have to take a step back then that is acceptable in some places. The big downside is that if a school ticks 9 out of 10 'good' things (and excels in 6 of them) then they get dragged down.

    I know we can all say that if a service was good then it would be bought in ... but when it is the IT manager who is controlling what is bought in and not senior leadership it is just as wrong as when senior leadership do it with no conversion with IT support. There will be some exceptions to this but people need to get used to the idea that BSF is not personal, not aimed at telling you that your systems are naff, it is financial and political, is part of a model to change how education is run and managed and only by getting involved really early do you stand a chance of getting what you want, or working on compromises.

  7. #21
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    Hard to defend against MSPs when they say they can bring all this in.
    Ah, but in reality do they? I think the jury's out on that one!

  8. #22

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    Correct answer ... and their response could be "we probably have a better chance than what you don't have at the moment!" and then they talk about past successes in other LAs.

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