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  1. #1
    Styloid's Avatar
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    Stories about BSF

    Ive planing to put up a web site about BSF. Some will have seen my posts and concern about BSF.

    Ive not found any specalist site - it seems that the are a few intereted parties but no central place for discussion. If this is wrong I hope you'll tell me.

    BSF is a huge project and I hope to provide a big space for many options.

    As aprt of the site Ive made up a story - as may be told by a head in 5 or 6 years time.

    Id appreciate your comments, additioins and ideas to be incorporated. Please take a read of the below.


    The untrue future of BSF. As may be written by James Kirk – Head of The Halfords Schools, Small Bland Buggerishire, West Midlands.

    I did not really understand BSF when I first heard of it.. It was promising things we really wanted – investment in buildings, new ICT, access to cash, a step up the league tables and new facilities for the kids and staff.

    And on the other hand, it seemed to remove the school from the pubic sector including the building which was given to a construction firm and leased back.

    The purchasing of goods and services was not in our control anymore, we could only buy from a catalogue from one supplier, even though they were very much more expensive slow and often well out of date.

    After a while it came clear that we could not choose much about how the ICT system worked and all the ICT staff left saying that overall there jobs were being deskilled and they were prevented from makeing the system work was well as it did before.

    The replacement person - an employee of the company was ok but dim – and is incentiveised to buy as much as possible from the ICT partner in the LEP, who are his employers.

    The school was closed in the holdays and even I, the head can’t get access, unless we pay for out of service opening fee.

    When the ICT systems fail – as they often do – support is from a call centre in Northern Ireland. We never speak to the same person and communication and respect are less than ideal.

    The building itself is new. The quint old 1930’s red brick structure with tiled roof and arched windows and which at 80 years old was still working well - was demolished and replaced with a glass and steel construction.

    After 5 years it was shabby, carpets stained with chewing gum and threadbare. The high white (plaster board) reception atrium had been graffedited and holes punched though it.

    On sunny days the glass causes a very hot atmosphere – which would have been improved if Air conditioning had installed /correctly spec’ed / working / the cost of running it had been reasonable.

    Due to vandalism and poor design -on wet days it is damp, and the carpet was stained in many places from water getting through the discoloured ceiling.

    The major problem was the ICT however. The winning bidder after 1 year was bought out in a private equity deal and most of the old staff had left.
    It seemed that profits from the school were taxed in Monacco, so effectively money and jobs were vacuumed out of the local area and the UK economy.

    It since changed hands again and is now owned by the Royal Bank of Dubedu and they company was not keen to invest in the school.

    ICT Performance standards had been set in the original contract which at the time were ridiculous but now are disastrous. As they were based on old technology and when new technology came along it easily met them.

    But the ICT network still did not work, well not by my definition of it.
    The wireless network was slow and outdated, the broadband unstable and the equipment expensive and poorly maintained.

    Just to get a small repair took 45 minutes on the phone and several e-mails, and often was not fixed until the 4th or 5th visit. Most items are generally not repaired – they are junked and replaced at our cost – even when they are in warrenty, to make matters worse we have to pay an installation feel on top to the replacement cost.

    The staff moral was lowered as the nature to relationship became clear. It was about money. Not about education. Not about kids welfare. It was business. The building was a cash cow, and the tenants happened to be teachers and kids

    In an attempt to boost the funding for the school the head and governors had agreed further revenue generating activities on the site.

    A large corner of the playing field has been sold for housing and light industrial use, though we had to give 50% of the money raised to the LEP as we had to get their agreement. Also all corridors now had plasma dispays with rolling adds on them.

    And the future ? In a few years time the lease on the building will come to an end and it reverts back to the LA. We are seeing a drop maintenance and expect this to continue. the LA have no staff of their own and so we don’t know what will happen, and we don’t know who to discuss it with..

    A further frustration is that we cant really find out who is responsible for what – and even when we do – people move on / go sick or things are reorganised.

    Many things we ask about go simply unheard and information about funding and cost is impossible to find out as it commercially sensitive.

    Between the LEP, BSF, P4S, and their suppliers and partners – the Dubedu bank, the ICT company, their subcontractors, the main contractor, and their subcontractors, their law firms, the architects, the local authority and the education department (itself re organised on average every 4 years and with the average Minister lasting 15 months)and other interested parties - the EU, Becta, and Mircosoft. It’s a total mess. There have been 7 suppliers in legal battles with each other over the life of the contract.

    We did get hold of some shocking confidential and relevant information – e-mailed to me by mistake - but had to hand it back under legal threat from the suppliers law firm Su Grabit and Runne
    The whole episode is now covered by a scary and binding agreement. So I could say more but cant.

    In effect I can say even less than I could before.

  2. #2


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    I can deffinately agree on the new buildings being poor. I live in a pretty affluent area with the majority of houses being built in the last 10 years, so not a run down area. The new school was built less than 5 years ago and it looks terrible now. Mostly white* with silly multi-coloured bits here and there. It just looks crap and run down already. I dread to think what it will look like in 50years time!

    *"White" as in pale brown.

  3. Thanks to j17sparky from:

    Styloid (27th May 2008)

  4. #3

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    To save you getting a huge amount of grief from certain sectors (and us too) can you make it *really* clear that this is presently a fictitious scenario ... even though it may be true in years to come.

  5. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    Styloid (27th May 2008)

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    Styloid's Avatar
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    No confusion

    Will be very careful. Dont want to get sued!

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    The school was closed in the holdays and even I, the head can’t get access, unless we pay for out of service opening fee.
    With a desire to maximise profits, schools in the shape of their sports facilities will be open to the public during holidays. Though it does beg the question of (IT)support during the holidays. In the case of our school teachers quite often run classes in the holidays, and certainly use the IT suites for things such as revision for forthcoming exams.

    The building itself is new. The quint old 1930’s red brick structure with tiled roof and arched windows and which at 80 years old was still working well - was demolished and replaced with a glass and steel construction.
    I work in one of these quaint, built in the 1930's red brick buildings, and it's no picnic. It needs knocking down and replacing. The corridors weren't designed with the current number of pupils in mind, and when the original wiring went in they certainly didn't envisage computer suites. We had the ridiculous situation last year where we had almost reached capacity on the amount of electricity we were using, so that when the science department put their kettles on for morning break the building lost all power.

    The major problem was the ICT however. The winning bidder after 1 year was bought out in a private equity deal and most of the old staff had left. It seemed that profits from the school were taxed in Monacco, so effectively money and jobs were vacuumed out of the local area and the UK economy.
    I have heard of this happening.
    I appreciate that this is only for our consumption, but I would change the name of the town from Small Bland Buggerishire to something more suitable.
    Last edited by beeswax; 27th May 2008 at 05:35 PM.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    With a desire to maximise profits, schools in the shape of their sports facilities will be open to the public during holidays. Though it does beg the question of (IT)support during the holidays. In the case of our school teachers quite often run classes in the holidays, and certainly use the IT suites for things such as revision for forthcoming exams.



    I work in one of these quaint, built in the 1930's red brick buildings, and it's no picnic. It needs knocking down and replacing. The corridors weren't designed with the current number of pupils in mind, and when the original wiring went in they certainly didn't envisage computer suites. We had the ridiculous situation last year where we had almost reached capacity on the amount of electricity we were using, so that when the science department put their kettles on for morning break the building lost all power.



    I have heard of this happening.
    I appreciate that this is only for our consumption, but I would change the name of the town from Small Bland Buggerishire to something more suitable.
    Why are you trying to justify crap ?

  9. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grommit View Post
    Why are you trying to justify crap ?
    Before I head off for what will hopefully be a long relaxed extended weekend...
    With a desire to maximise profits, schools in the shape of their sports facilities will be open to the public during holidays.
    From what I've seen and read, sports facilities are amongst the first items being built in new build schools. They can then open them to the public and have a revenue stream while the rest of the school is being built.

    I work in one of these quaint, built in the 1930's red brick buildings, and it's no picnic
    The building(s) I work in are not fit for purpose. They need knocking down and replacing. I can't defend overcrowding in classrooms, poor ventilation, ill fitting windows and doors, toilets which but for the work the cleaners put in are desperately in need of renovation, failing electricity supplies, crumbling walls, damp and infestation, can you? What do you propose we do?
    I don't agree with the way the government has gone about raising the funding for this, and I worry about my future once tuped, but I sincerely believe that our school building needs replacing. I will have a very small say in what goes into the new building, and I expect I will be listened to politely before possibly being consigned to history.
    I am certainly not defending or justifying crap.

  10. #8
    Grommit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    Though it does beg the question of (IT)support during the holidays. .
    This was my focus of Contempt....
    Last edited by Grommit; 28th May 2008 at 11:10 PM.

  11. #9

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    We're going to get BSF'd in 2011. Whoopee. Not.

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    You'dd probably stand a much stronger argument by presenting fact in a concise and easy to read manner to inform people as to what BSF is, and what the potential advantages and disadvantages of it really are. By making up stories people (political numbnuts) can just point and say 'none of it is true' and actually be technically correct by saying so.

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