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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 browolf if the government wanted more consistency, why didnt they give the CCs money for county-wide software. ...
  1. #46


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    Quote Originally Posted by browolf View Post
    if the government wanted more consistency, why didnt they give the CCs money for county-wide software.
    They do, LA's already topslice the harnessing technology grant.
    They buy VLE's and they populate the VLE with paid content for all the schools.

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    [QUOTE=torledo;189419]
    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit View Post

    @grommit - i think you've dropped a clanger there by trying to shout down colin small....

    My understanding is he is/was technical manager at South Camden...which i believe is one of the largest CLC's in the country.

    A CLC like camden's remit is to look at ways of using IT in education - and they have the funding and resources to be very innovative, they don't run away form IT like a lot of SLT's and teachers in schools they embrace it. And as he's on the outside looking in on the schools and no doubts work with the schools that use the CLC, i believe he's in the best possible position to tell it how it is. Even not knowing who he is, there's not a lot wrong with what he's said

    Never heard of him before this article, but that is my summation having met one or two former teachers and education pros who now work in and manage the CLC's...

    The CLC's are crucial in 14-19's, BSF and VLE's, so i'm not quite sure why you chose to have a go at him. Sounds like what he said is a pretty accurate understanding of what's going on.

    Read Colins last sentence "hence some form of managed services will be required to replace the existing cottage industry".. here he is insulting us and saying that we need to go....

    And I don't care who he is..... Do not dis ICT Managers... and a CLC Manager is not a School ICT Manager

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit View Post
    Read Colins last sentence "hence some form of managed services will be required to replace the existing cottage industry".. here he is insulting us and saying that we need to go....

    And I don't care who he is..... Do not dis ICT Managers... and a CLC Manager is not a School ICT Manager
    I think it depends to what extent you take his comments - he doesn't say "a totally managed service". Most of us already have "some form of managed services" - they're called RBCs, and LAs rolling out VLEs for cross-school collaboration.

    Now... as long as we 1) sign up for that, and 2) have sure we have the facilities on the networks to utilise these - we still run the networks, but to the side of us (I'd rather use that then say "above us"!) sits our RBC and the LA VLE providing that cross-school collaboration element.

  4. #49
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    [QUOTE=Grommit;190004]
    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post


    Read Colins last sentence "hence some form of managed services will be required to replace the existing cottage industry".. here he is insulting us and saying that we need to go....

    And I don't care who he is..... Do not dis ICT Managers... and a CLC Manager is not a School ICT Manager
    Yes, i would question that comment from him, a managed service is not the only way to achieve a consistent standard of IT service in schools....

    he's probably convinced that the managed service is the shot in the arm needed, in spite of the cut down role of the existing in-house school IT teams as a result. Maybe he's putting empathy to one side for a moment and looking at it from a pragmatic point of view.

    Perhaps it is easier for ICT managers and technical coordinators both withing schools and within clc's to accept the managed service as they seem to be secured of a role at a high level.... if they are sidelined in making decisions they will always land on they're feet with jobs in the LA or in strategic roles.

    For network managers and technicians the changes are much harder to swallow.

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    @Grommit

    Fair enough that you don't know the bloke, but you know that uber network manager who can give advice to a number of schools, being both technical and educational?

    This is the guy.

    Without wanting to put words into his mouth I am pretty sure he is as frustrated as a number of us here when he comes across a narrow-minded techie who just says no all the time .. not for valid reasons, but just because he is in control ... or the NM who wastes money by doing everything himself at an astronomical cost (yes ... I know many of us do things cheaper .. but some out there don't!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    @Grommit

    Fair enough that you don't know the bloke, but you know that uber network manager who can give advice to a number of schools, being both technical and educational?

    This is the guy.

    Without wanting to put words into his mouth I am pretty sure he is as frustrated as a number of us here when he comes across a narrow-minded techie who just says no all the time .. not for valid reasons, but just because he is in control ... or the NM who wastes money by doing everything himself at an astronomical cost (yes ... I know many of us do things cheaper .. but some out there don't!)
    I would say that (at least on here) there are more of us that do good for our schools and genuinely help them achieve their goals at as low a price as possible.

    I'd be surprised to come across a NM/Tech that genuinely intends to mess up things for a schools technology provision, and while I don't doubt that such people exist I am fairly confident that they are in the minority.

    Penalising all the hard working NM's and Techs out there just because of a few bad eggs is hardly fair to the majority of the workforce. Lets not forget that theres likely many thousands of jobs around the country that are going to be directly affected by BSF, and even more who are going to be indirectly affected. This isn't some tiny little thing that the government are just throwing out there, it's the outsourcing of a large number of public sector jobs.

    However, information on such outsourcing has been kept relatively quiet, and the few that do know about it are either those who are involved with the implementation of BSF, or are the workforce who have actively sought out BSF and discover (to their horror) what the powers that be are not telling them about their job (in)security. It is only recently that some of the media folk are starting to catch wind of it.

    So why such secrecy from the government and the like? Are they afraid there might be a little bit of public outcry when people figure out their taxes could potentially be washed away in another expensive scheme? Is a third party that has absolutely zero interest in the quality of service and education of children, but every interest in making a profit really beneficial to UK Schools? Do they have something measurable that demonstrates that they are a superior, more cost effective solution to that of an in-house service that we do not know about?

    Why stop at education? Why not outsource our teachers to Norway, doctors to China, and our police force to Germany? Makes "good" sense to me, afterall for all we know it could work out just great!

    The Majority of us do a fantastic job, we do it because we CARE about the place we work, we want the best for the schools we work in. However, we are met with financial constraints and this is no fault of our own, but only by the powers that be from above. In effect we are being penalised for THEIR mistakes and that is wholly unacceptable.
    Last edited by Friez; 14th May 2008 at 02:57 PM.

  7. #52

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    This is one of the problems ... I also don't believe that any cock ups, etc are intentional ... I believe that it comes out of poor management and leadership of IT in schools, poor training for support staff, consistent underfunding as grants get moved around to fit the needs of the school without taking into account sustainability or even ensuring that equipment / infrastructure is fit for purpose.

    Grommit and I agree that unless someone comes along that has both technical and education knowledge to grab senior managlement by the scruff of their neck and make the realise what they have got and what it can do with it all, then the school suffers.

    Yes, there are many schools out there that seriously know there stuff and have a positive impact on the school ... but is it an impact that affects the 3 areas that I keep mentioning ... T&L, leadership and administration, achievement and attainment. That is hard to measure and there are too many schools that don't have a grasp on what can be done, what needs to be done and how it can be evaluated.

    Like it or not OFSTED look at the above 3 and use them as a starting point. I am not saying that the majority of people intentionally block things or cause problems. Again, people (including me) will mention that it is in rough thirds. 1/3 are struggling ... 1/3 are on the ball in some areas but not in others ... 1/3 are winning with it all ... and then you have the top of the shop in this group, who are pushing the boundaries and being used as examples of how things can be done.

    Yes, there are people out there that only care about going in to work, picking up their pay and trying to do as little as possible ... not because they are trying to be efficient but just plain lazy ... and yes, this is a small minority, but it is a small minority that can often fit into the stereotype that works against us.

    Perhaps I have it wrong (and I am happy for people to say that I am), but the general situation is that most members in schools can and will be easily overridden by the senior managlement at their school, and even heads of departments or teachers in the worst case scenarios. There are not that many here who are in a position of senior managlement and are often not in a position to make major changes to how the school works.

    This is the problem ... until you get that leverage, wither directly or indirectly then it is hard to show what you are truly worth.

  8. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Perhaps I have it wrong (and I am happy for people to say that I am), but the general situation is that most members in schools can and will be easily overridden by the senior managlement at their school, and even heads of departments or teachers in the worst case scenarios. There are not that many here who are in a position of senior managlement and are often not in a position to make major changes to how the school works.

    This is the problem ... until you get that leverage, wither directly or indirectly then it is hard to show what you are truly worth.
    I think you are 'spot-on' with your view about senior management overriding ICT support staff & network managers but quite frankly I would expect them to at times, it's their job.

    In my job as network manager I regularly have quite tough discussions with my line manager (Deputy HT) and although I stand my ground I do so in the knowledge that at any time she could just say 'do it'. We both know this but despite that we can generally reach agreement as we have a common aim of achieving the best we can for our students.

    I am not so sure there will be any room for discussions of this sort post-BSF, particularly when one 'party' in the discussion is rather more motivated by profit than the interests of the students?

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    What you've just said strengthens my argument. Management generally override a lot of NM's, undermining their expertise and knowledge, and only the most fortuanate are able to get onto the LT.

    It is not exactly like every NM can insist to their LT that they should be their equal and on the LT too, and chances are a lot of NM's would be laughed at for the mere suggestion.

    One could argue a managed service will not allow a LT to do this however it is still not an ideal solution and would still punish those that want and CAN make a difference.

    What's really needed is a serious shakeup of school management. Appointments of ICT Managers (not just a random Teacher) who have strong understanding from both the Technical and the Educational side of things and put in place guidelines, policies and targets that must be met and adhered to, providing a measurable outcome from the end of it all.

    Spending huge amounts of taxpayer money for someone else to deliver the ICT provision just trades one set of problems for another and doesn't really help solve anything.

    A LT that doesn't give a damn about Technology and doesn't utilise anything the NM offers is still not going to with a Managed Service. A Managed service can throw technology at a school until they're blue in the face, it doesn't stop the school from using Typewriters instead.

    This isn't a problem with network managers or technicians, this is a management problem within schools and doesn't seem to be addressed with BSF whatsoever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friez View Post
    It is not exactly like every NM can insist to their LT that they should be their equal and on the LT too, and chances are a lot of NM's would be laughed at for the mere suggestion.
    I was speaking about career advancement with my line manager (ass head - very fitting abreviation) and I said that the only real progression I had with in schools was Senior Leadership. His response was basically:

    .............blinks a few times .......... I don't know of ANY schools where that is the case.......
    Yep, thanks for your confidence. Thats why schools suffer holding on to staff. Once you get to NM/ Sys manager there's nowhere else to go but out of education. When i started here i was a graduate, with no real world experience or knowledge of the education sector. I've built up my skills, gained the knowledge, know how schools work, i do timetabling and assessment as well as some stuff with exams, BUT i (and i'm sure other NMs are the same) dont only think about it on an educational aspect. We try to find out what new technologies are out there, how they can be made to work in a school. We're highly trained professionals, treated as "do-ers" not leaders.

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    NMs (or former NMs) on SLT ... it is rare, as the usual associate staff member on SLT would be the bursar / business manager.

    I know of around 20 in England, but know 5 of these personally. We are rare, but appreciated.

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    Steady on....

    It has taken schools a long time to accept that Bursars and Business Managers should be part of the leadership team, now you expect schools to include Network Managers too? Next you will be asking for Site Managers to join

    I suspect the reason so few schools have people like grumbledook on their leadership team is because most fail to realise the contribution that 'professional' support staff could make in improving schools if only given the opportunity.

    I know of too many teachers & SLT who think that only 'they' are capable of improving school performance. All support staff are expected to do is support them.

    In my own situation I am happy enough simply doing my job as a network manager; the fact is I could do a lot more given the chance, having worked in ICT for a very long time in a wide variety of roles including systems design & project management.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friez View Post

    This isn't a problem with network managers or technicians, this is a management problem within schools and doesn't seem to be addressed with BSF whatsoever.
    Outsource the leadership team ? Now that would be an idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    Outsource the leadership team ? Now that would be an idea
    I wasn't suggesting that and it would probably be just as poor an idea as outsourcing technical staff. However, purely from a BOFH standpoint I like the way you think!

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    Outsource the leadership team ? Now that would be an idea
    It's been done and proven to be reasonably successful ... it is can be done in a variety of ways, but a common one is Hard Federation, where a successful school takes over a smaller, local failing school. Examples of this are Academies where you have two of them partnered ... but they have an Executive Principal overseeing both and both LTs have close links.

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