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BSF Thread, You guys won't be happy... this week's BSF letters in Computing in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Originally Posted by GrumbleDook This is one of my biggest gripes ... that although there is guidance in the for ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    This is one of my biggest gripes ... that although there is guidance in the for of the IT infrastructure docs from Becta, FITS, plenty of guidance out there about DPA, FoIA, budgetting, etc ... there is nothing that inspects it.

    A company that does inspect to a level that the SSAT is happy with will charge to do so and then give feedback, but a number of members have rubbished that idea previously (though some members have also taken up the offer and are happy with it), but it is not an official Govt sanctioned inspection such as FMSiS, Healthy Schools, etc ...

    *This* is what is missing ... but I think that many of us would not like this either.
    I predict the downsides will be opposition from teaching unions (more targets, KPI's, etc).
    As long as the inspection was based upon the functional/technical specification boxes rather than how the inspector was feeling that day then this is the way forward in my opinion.

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    As a ex-LA IT consultant then he would know that Council IT Teams are far more demanding of security than we are ... they can be veritable jobsworths ... and I don't begrudge them that when I think about some of the systems they have to work with and integrate ... most of us would come across as bleeding heart liberals to that lot! Give staff laptops that can be used off-site? You want software to do what?

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    It has been mentioned before, but I suspect a more cost-effective alternative to the BSF managed services juggernaut would be some form of 'inspectorate' given responsibility to ensure schools were

    a) adequately funded & resourced in ICT
    b) had an agreed ICT strategy with measurable goals & targets
    c) able to ensure the funding was spent effectively in following the school ICT strategy
    d) kept the SLT/SMT on 'course' to avoid ICT money & resources being deflected elsewhere

    The trouble is the closest we have been to this in the past has been when the LAs have been involved & for many schools that has not been a happy experience either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I predict the downsides will be opposition from teaching unions (more targets, KPI's, etc).
    As long as the inspection was based upon the functional/technical specification boxes rather than how the inspector was feeling that day then this is the way forward in my opinion.
    So ... if I was to form a qango that inspected your school based on the Functional and Technical specifications for IT Infrastructure, measured you on your closeness to the adoption of FITS, examined your schools short and long term plans for sustainability, cross-examined your policies and procedures, and then check that there was a minimum of no negative impact on T&L, Leadership and Management, or Achievement and Attainment, cross-referencing it against your development plan, SEF, and OFSTED inspections you would be happy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    So ... if I was to form a qango that inspected your school based on the Functional and Technical specifications for IT Infrastructure, measured you on your closeness to the adoption of FITS, examined your schools short and long term plans for sustainability, cross-examined your policies and procedures, and then check that there was a minimum of no negative impact on T&L, Leadership and Management, or Achievement and Attainment, cross-referencing it against your development plan, SEF, and OFSTED inspections you would be happy?
    Yes. Very happy. 99% of our problems are caused by poor planning and lack of leadership. Any form of accountability would be most welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Yes. Very happy. 99% of our problems are caused by poor planning and lack of leadership. Any form of accountability would be most welcome.
    Would your school leadership be happy with this though, even if it finds fault with their leadership?

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    [QUOTE=SYSMAN_MK;189294]You mean these?

    Letters to the editor - a blog from computing.co.uk


    Dear Colin you are a schmuck..... you rattle on about the 24/7 school as if we ICT Managers know nothing about it....

    Yes Colin... most of us are on the ball and are leading with the new diploma's with the 24/7 access required by students and are installing or subscribing to County controlled VLE's..

    So Colin please go away and not prattle on about what you know nothing about...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    So ... if I was to form a qango that inspected your school based on the Functional and Technical specifications for IT Infrastructure, measured you on your closeness to the adoption of FITS, examined your schools short and long term plans for sustainability, cross-examined your policies and procedures, and then check that there was a minimum of no negative impact on T&L, Leadership and Management, or Achievement and Attainment, cross-referencing it against your development plan, SEF, and OFSTED inspections you would be happy?
    I think any self-respecting IT professional who cared about the job they were doing would have to go along with this;

    I would add lack/inconsistency of funding to the "poor planning & lack of leadership" identified by cybernerd as prime causes of ICT related problems in schools too.

    In my opinion, Ofsted does not pay enough attention to ICT, I suspect most inspectors are not adequately trained/experienced to scrutinise ICT very closely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Would your school leadership be happy with this though, even if it finds fault with their leadership?
    No. they are accountable to no-one and want to keep it that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Would your school leadership be happy with this though, even if it finds fault with their leadership?
    They don't like OFSTED either... neither do teachers... it's a necessary evil of the job. Doubt many of us like paying Council Tax either...

    I'd much prefer a team of people who understand schools' IT come in and make sure I'm providing the necessary services to an acceptable standard to the school - with a large eye on FITS & the institutional infrastructures - then the BSF vision of "You want to get paid less by working in the Public Sector? O, you must be c**p then".

    Seriously, straw-poll here: Either - a) Tony, Russ, A N "Headteacher that understand IT" (they do exist, mine's one) come into your school to make sure you're doing a good job ala OFSTED, or BSF - which do we think is going to be the best for the school? I should hope the answer is obvious!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    No. they are accountable to no-one and want to keep it that way.
    And there lies the problem.

    Some might view BSF as a way of taking the issue away from leaders in schools who know bugger all about IT ... the problem lies with the fact that many are not happy about who it is going to instead (LA / commercial company)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit View Post
    Dear Colin you are a schmuck..... you rattle on about the 24/7 school as if we ICT Managers know nothing about it....

    Yes Colin... most of us are on the ball and are leading with the new diploma's with the 24/7 access required by students and are installing or subscribing to County controlled VLE's..

    So Colin please go away and not prattle on about what you know nothing about...
    If you had looked at my earlier post you would see that he is involved in this ... he has fought the same battles the you have and has had to work with some crappy schools that have got no clue.

    A VLE is useless unless you have some sort of plan to implement it and use it effectively. Even schools that take up LA VLEs are still going to be in the crap. Some schools *need* to be told what to do ... and politics says they are not going to like being told how to do it by the more successful school down the road that is actually a rival and getting all the decent students! At least his role in a CLC gives him a chance to make a difference without being a political target from manglement in schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    And there lies the problem.

    Some might view BSF as a way of taking the issue away from leaders in schools who know bugger all about IT ... the problem lies with the fact that many are not happy about who it is going to instead (LA / commercial company)
    That is a good summation of the situation. but BSF doesn't tackle it, it is just a very expensive sticking plaster. The root cause of the problem is the way schools are run.

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    Some schools have crap in-house IT provision, that's not surprising. A larger problem is that the LEA (or the subcontractors they employ who appear not to communicate with each other) simply isn't trusted by schools in our region. We're fed up with miscommunication, avoidance of blame and passing the buck. We have primary schools in our area that would rather endure broken equipment than have to deal with the local authority.

    It's great fun when your head is asking "why is the Internet down again?, and your answer is "they don't know", "when will it be up again?", "they don't know".

    Even simple things like letting schools know that "X" is broken, takes days to appear on status pages, which will happily say "everything is fine" when you're getting 70% packet loss. Then they're added in backdated format to appear as if they've always been there.

    And yeah, it would be nice if we were inspected. The caveat being that the inspectors actually know what they're talking about / inspecting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    Some schools have crap in-house IT provision, that's not surprising.
    Absolutely, but again this is 99% down to poor leadership. If SLT cannot do the job themselves they must recognise this and get someone who can. If they were inspected they would be forced to do that. Of Course some *steady* funding that was ring-fenced for IT wouldn't go amiss.

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