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BSF Thread, Hackney teacher's view of BSF in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; An interesting article especially if you want to see the whole process of BSF Building Schools for the Future: a ...
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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    Hackney teacher's view of BSF

    An interesting article especially if you want to see the whole process of BSF

    Building Schools for the Future: a personal view | Teaching Expertise

    Loss of control
    I believe that BSF reverses much of the devolution of control and budgets to schools which has taken place over the past few years as a result of Local Management of Schools (LMS). Schools have got used to managing their own ICT and facilities services, and most are now very good at it. Schools will now lose control of ICT network management and some elements of facilities management services. Staff will be transferred to the new LEP. The role of the on-site network manager will gradually disappear. Our school ICT team of three will reduce to 1.5 technicians. There is no role for the network manager, as management of the network will be off-site.
    edugeeks get a link at the bottom as well

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    It's an interesting article but it doesn't have to be bad news - it very much depends on who provides the IT for the schools and how it's done.

    There are plenty of big companies that don't have IT in every small office - they centralise it and it works well. There's no technical reason why a lot of the stuff currently handled in a school can't be handled centrally and done at least as well. The difficulty is making sure that it happens. The writer talks about getting requirements right from the start in the section about costs not covered by BSF but it's true for the whole process.

    As a trivial example, let's say the backup process is managed centrally. How will that happen? (Disc, tape, whatever) How long will be backups be maintained? How quickly can data be restored? Will support be given for single file restores?

    All of these things can be built into a contract but I'd guess if it's not thought about up-front then it can be difficult (ie expensive!) to change it later.

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    I think the difference is
    a small office
    not exactly a 700 - 1500 user system with more varied software than you can shake a stick at. Depending on how it's done and what sort of technical team are managing the central repository it could be excellent but quite a few companies that outsourced in the 90's have an in house IT team now. If the company Tupes the existing technical team and they are then held centrally it could work very well indeed as you could have 5 or six techs added if something big comes up which I bet most of us would like to be able to do at some point.


    Wes

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesleyw View Post
    ...with more varied software than you can shake a stick at.
    Thats a potentially massive issue depending on implimentation of the system. For example i have just been given "I Can Animate". For some reason it will install but crashes as soon as you run it.

    Now how much time will the managed service put into making a peice of software play ball? In this case the software is relatively popular so going on the theory of "fix it once and deploy to many [schools/RBCs etc]" they would probably spend abit of time on it.

    But what happens if a school wants a weird peice of software which maybe ran on win98 and is still perfectly suitable for the task, how long will the managed service spend on getting it working for that one school? And will it incure a charge if it isnt straight forward?


    In an office where everyone is there to work, everyone has the same goals, and everyone is told what tools they will have, yeah managed services are great. We'll soon see if it works in a school...
    Last edited by j17sparky; 18th December 2008 at 01:37 PM.

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    we've been using manageengine servicedesk to count our software.
    so far we have 689 pieces of software installed.

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    I actually made a post mentioning her blog back in January. It seems that she's come round to the idea of BSF in that time and relieved herself of any guilt about making her network manager redundant.

    PS I like the irony of the first "similar thread" beneath this one being "ICT Technician (Temporary/Hackney)"
    Last edited by sahmeepee; 18th December 2008 at 02:04 PM.

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    I don't think you could say she has come round to it. The article covers pretty much all areas of BSF and there is the simple fact that nothing can be done now and you have to get on with things. I doubt very much she is happy about losing her NM and only time will tell whether the other benefits that BSF might bring are worth it.

    The school had some difficulties during the transfer from school to managed service at it was only down to the dedication of the staff at the school (especially the NM) that things managed to keep on track.

    I think her blog covers a lot more than this particular article and there are lessons to be learnt by it ... it all depends on whether people further up the chain are willing to learn them.

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    Well as the government is using cash to help banks and it seems anyone else I doubt they'll have the money for BSF soon. Difficult for companies as it is without them investing in schools for the future.


    Wes

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    @srochford:
    Can you point me in the direction of a centrally managed educational service which has been accredited with being good by all who use it.
    And i don't mean a VTLE which is managed by a third party, i mean the whole teaching and learning process from taking electronic registration to remote access to Sims and fast login experience (35 secs full desktop) with full functionality for all resources including media rich content plus biometrics for school lunches, interactive whiteboards, printing etc etc.
    In our neck of the woods up North the LA our going with the wireless laptop citrix and xen virtual desktop business model in parallel with an ISP that couldn't deliver a bottle of milk.
    Would love to be enlightened as all I keep seeing and reading is negative reports of mass failings around the country.
    OHHhhhhhh!!! lovely building but the managed services stinks.

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    People keep saying that 'schools have to make their requirements known from the start' but how can they do this? There have been a good number of people on here mentioning how the IT staff have been ignored, or only involved after all the main decisions have been made - such as the choice of a provider.

    And then, regardless of what individual requirements your school have stated, do you really think your LEA will pass them all on to the LEP, if they have obscurities compared with others? No. They'll draw a line, taking all the common bits and create a one size fits all approach, else the costs will increase dramatically, as the provider will have to support a load of different systems - completely defeating the object of the managed service in the first place.

    Putting it this way - the only way BSF managed services can work is if they ignore the individual demands of schools. It would not be financially viable otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    The school had some difficulties during the transfer from school to managed service at it was only down to the dedication of the staff at the school (especially the NM) that things managed to keep on track.
    If this was the case then why do schools want to get rid of their IT staff if they are that good!!!

    Answer: because it is compulsory in the BSF legislation along with TUPE and 6 weeks to redundancy.

    As i have said before "Rose tinted glasses are for short sighted people"

    Cynical i maybe but it is from past experiences it has evolved.

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    Very interesting article. It's staggering the mount of money actually being spent on ICT under BSF. I would expect the "ICT Service" as a whole to vastly improve in the same way that I would be able to vastly improve the service here if I was given these crazy sums of money.

    Somehow though I doubt it will quite be the case. Vast amounts of money will be spent but I have a feeling that when it comes to the (ICT) classroom, and actual exam results, vast improvements will be few and far between.

    We'll see. Being here in Wales, sometimes I am insanely jealous of the amount if capital investment your getting over there, but then sometimes I am actually glad to be so far behind as a country and able to watch and wait over the next 5 years and see if it actually works...
    Last edited by Butuz; 18th December 2008 at 04:23 PM.

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    Putting it this way - the only way BSF managed services can work is if they ignore the individual demands of schools. It would not be financially viable otherwise.
    This is very true but it also needs to be true from an education point of view school can't act as islands of excellence as schemes such as every child matters and the 14-19 diplomas are not viable. Also the government can't have the situation that one poorly performing network mean that can't introduce whole country policy for e-exams etc.. My problem is that nobody is owning up to this agenda and they say that school can act individually and opt out of the LEP model when quite frankly they can't. They other problem is that Managed service will cost more as they pay shareholders who like to have profits again this may not be a bad thing per say but is anybody saying it no. In Hackney they are putting in £90 per pupil per year in other authorities that will be doubled does that mean the other authority gets twice as good or hackney only get 1/2 what it needs

    All the schools that have successful ICT ( in the long term) have good leadership and strong investment in staff and equipment. If one of these are missing things go wrong eventually as good staff leave. If managed service are introduced to save schools money they will fail the students and staff which eventually will mean the contract is scrapped . If they are properly invested in and the company is willing to see a long term picture to raise educational standards rather than a short term profit they may work but that is a very big IF

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    Very interesting article. It's staggering the mount of money actually being spent on ICT under BSF. I would expect the "ICT Service" as a whole to vastly improve in the same way that I would be able to vastly improve the service here if I was given these crazy sums of money.

    A very significant amount of BSF ICT money seems to vanish up front to line the pockets of wave after wave of consultants and 'experts' employed to design the solution, these people claim they know better than the schools how to run school ICT but are remarkably reluctant to discuss their proposals with the school because they are 'too technical' and the schools would not understand....

    Under BSF, some schools are being asked to sign up to managed ICT 'solutions' without seeing what is being proposed, and make 5 year financial commitments for equipment refresh without knowing what they will be refreshing, or what their budgets will look like during that 5 year period.

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    RM seems to be looking a little further into the future than most and I believe it is operating the schemes at a loss at least for the first few years.


    Wes

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