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BSF Thread, The ICT Managed Service in BSF - Video in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Schools ICT staff cannot be specialist in every area Good school ICT staff are specialists at providing ICT provision and ...
  1. #31
    u8dmtm's Avatar
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    Schools ICT staff cannot be specialist in every area
    Good school ICT staff are specialists at providing ICT provision and support to schools and already use best of breed suppliers and services in each technology area. This is why future investment in ICT in schools should be school led, not supplier led.

  2. #32

    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straight_talk View Post
    My post was not supposed to be too negative but I wanted to instigate a more positive, constructive discussion on a forum of professionals whose voices should be heard.
    You say voices should be heard.... it's a pity that many of the people behind BSF don't agree with you and pay no more than lip-service to the idea of consulting.

    You will find a lot of balanced, reasoned dabate about BSF on Edugeek, as well as some negative comments. Say what you like, but the fact remains that in many LAs and in many schools there is no discussion or consultation with the IT professionals that work in those schools, many of whom are already delivering services that exceed those 'highlighted' in the video.

    In the 'real' world, outsourcing (because that is what managed services is) is driven by the client, who decides that they need to improve IT services/reduce costs, so they approach various outsourcing providers and ask them to prepare a bid. The client choses the bidder, sometimes they decide not to bother if the costs don't stack up.

    Contrast the BSF way.... the clients(schools) have a carrot of massive ICT investment dangled in front of them, but it is conditional upon them agreeing to sign up to a service they have little or no say in, and one that locks them in for years with a service that costs them more and delivers less.
    Last edited by broc; 11th February 2009 at 09:28 AM.

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by straight_talk View Post
    My post was not supposed to be too negative but I wanted to instigate a more positive, constructive discussion on a forum of professionals whose voices should be heard.
    Welcome to the forum Straight Talk. I for one am very glad you’re here to instigate discussion, and also hopefully give us advice!

    A lot of people are fearful of their future and jobs under the scheme, I am sure you can understand that sometimes people react harshly to BSF topics because all they initially see is the loss of their job in the school that they have grown to love.

    I am 100% sure that if it was being suggested that teachers be replaced with managed services from large educational training company's - you would be getting the same sort of negative reaction on teachers forums too! Infact you wouldnt be getting the same sort of reaction, you'd be greeted with outrage from teachers, parents, unions alike.

    I want to reply to all of your points - have not got time now. But I would like to say one thing:

    Some schools have excellent ICT provision, and already achieve everything that was featured in that video above. Some schools have extremely poor ICT provision, and would be most happy to be upgraded through BSF.

    In all cases though - do you agree that it is actually the SMT of the school that are totally responsible for lack of ICT integration and lack of proper ICT facilities - rather than simply blaming poor ICT Technicians that probably get very little technical training, and also may actually get paid around the same kind of wage as a receptionist?

    It's just that it always seems to be “our fault” if ICT provision is not acceptable - but of the schools I have been in that have had very very poor ICT provision in my opinion has been totally down to lack of leadership within the school from the top down.

    It’s up to the leadership team to realise the importance of ICT, the importance of recruiting a good ICT Technical Team, and the importance of good ICT funding – and schools that have not done this are the schools that are ICT failures.

    Butuz

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  6. #34
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    BSF in Schools

    Coincidentally, I saw that video yesterday. I was researching what might happen to the two of us running the IT in our school when we become an Academy. We found out from the minutes of a meeting we didn't attend that the Academy may buy a managed service. I felt exactly like all the correspondents here. The video has been made by protagonist of BSF, and may well describe improvements to what went on before. However, my experience is that there are vast swathes of genuinely commited network managers, who spend very limited amounts of capital expenditure wisely. We'd all love an increase in budget so we could do more, but we are already doing a lot of our own cabling, we already design the layout of ICT suites in consultation with teaching staff thus not needing external consultants, etc etc. The huge difference is that if I ran the network for say American Express the end users would be sacked for the way in which the PCs are abused, here the (often cover) teacher in the very room doesn't see it happen. It is tacitly accepted here that we have done the best with what we are given: IWB in every room, multiple ICT suites, AV solutions for every assembly or meeting or drama production, and yes, PCs in MUSIC plus a sophisticated mixing and recording solution. I accept the point that our argument should be reasoned, but we are not being protectionist in our responses (note the proportion of responses: one in support and dozens who question the value of BSF)
    I would be happy to work for any managed service that provides such: a service to our end users who are teachers and pupils. I am finding it difficult to be enthusiatic for BSF or managed services that are cost driven, and often supporting end users remotely. The example of the "mouse and cartridge droid" on site and everything being boxed up and sent away for repair may be an exaggeration but I hear so many of these tales and so very little from anyone who thinks BSF is a positive thing. The very idea that a teacher can walk into a room and expect everything working is exactly what I aspire to here: they just have to understand that my budgets don't stretch far enough and that wanton vandalism is endemic and therefore I fail regularly in my aspirations. BSF will make not the slightest difference to that.

    Neilenormal

  7. #35
    kevin_lane's Avatar
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    all i can say is that if and when we go over to a managed service which most of us are not going to like. i personaly think that the support that we give inside the schools today is second to none and that when do go over all of that is going to go out of the window. and i think teachers are not going to like to having to ring up to a helpdesk they want face to face. and on that note we just get box away

    whats that all about and then depresson will set in. i also belive that this is some money making scheme i mean its not really rocket science "let us manage your service but you need to give us xyz per year on the bases of you have to stay with us for 5 years".

    I really think they should be talking to the people who actually run the networks i.e us techs and network managers rather then smt or who ever we fix the computers / upgrade them install the software talk to the teachers about what new software has came out and what needs updating everything in our school we alrdy do the what was said inside that video.

    i think we do a dam good job as well our we only have 1 share point tech who has started about the same time as me and i've seen our vle grow better and better buy the day and we host 9 other schools on our vle and he is just one person so. WHAT is going to happen when this bsf is going to take over and our vle breaks a S**t S***M thats what then they will have egg on their face. i just feel so about bsf because i know i provide a good and im going to moved to a call center doing remote desktop support which is why i moved in the first place from my old job

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  9. #36
    Trojan's Avatar
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    I would just like to point out that apart from the prospect of a managed ICT solution that fills me with dread, not only for my job security but also for the standard of education we will be providing to our children - the future of our country, by SELLING our schools to private companies.

    It is a smack in the face to those of us that do provide comprehensive and successful ICT services to the schools we look after.

    We have had ZERO consultation in the process, i was asked by the head to attend a meeting "to find out what this BSF is all about" and once it was realised the scope of the changes proposed i was summarilly excluded by the LA and by the SMT. - What this says to me is that they do not care what the people on the front lines who actually may know something about school based ICT think.

    We have been treated with nothing but contempt and disregard so far.

    And this is why BSF and the Managed ICT "Service" will always be viewed with apprehension and scepticism by myself and the others who do a damn good job.

  10. 8 Thanks to Trojan:

    Butuz (11th February 2009), El_Nombre (11th February 2009), Jiser (11th February 2009), jumpinjamez (23rd February 2009), Messa (11th February 2009), siuko (11th February 2009), Sylv3r (11th February 2009), webman (11th February 2009)

  11. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan View Post

    And this is why BSF and the Managed ICT "Service" will always be viewed with apprehension and scepticism by myself and the others who do a damn good job.

    here here i agree

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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan View Post
    I would just like to point out that apart from the prospect of a managed ICT solution that fills me with dread, not only for my job security but also for the standard of education we will be providing to our children - the future of our country, by SELLING our schools to private companies.

    It is a smack in the face to those of us that do provide comprehensive and successful ICT services to the schools we look after.

    We have had ZERO consultation in the process, i was asked by the head to attend a meeting "to find out what this BSF is all about" and once it was realised the scope of the changes proposed i was summarilly excluded by the LA and by the SMT. - What this says to me is that they do not care what the people on the front lines who actually may know something about school based ICT think.

    We have been treated with nothing but contempt and disregard so far.

    And this is why BSF and the Managed ICT "Service" will always be viewed with apprehension and scepticism by myself and the others who do a damn good job.
    Also agreed!

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    farmerste (11th February 2009)

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan View Post
    We have had ZERO consultation in the process, i was asked by the head to attend a meeting "to find out what this BSF is all about" and once it was realised the scope of the changes proposed i was summarilly excluded by the LA and by the SMT.
    The LA would not want you there because you asked too many akward practical questions that spoiled the purity of their 'vision' for ICT, and the SMT won't want you there because you will see them getting the wool pulled over their eyes..... or watch them signing away their control over ICT & agree to you being TUPE'd.....

  16. 2 Thanks to broc:

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  17. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by u8dmtm View Post
    Good school ICT staff are specialists at providing ICT provision and support to schools and already use best of breed suppliers and services in each technology area. This is why future investment in ICT in schools should be school led, not supplier led.
    as provision of ICT service becomes more complex, as schools IT needs to scale does that mean that school ICT staff become specialists at managing service contracts ? What is the involvement of schools ICT staff in provisioning the service ? how involved are they in projects delivered by a supplier or service provider ? This varies greatly from school to school.

    I'm not indicating that i disagree with you just that some schools are leading ICT by indicating a preference for a managed service or rather for outside professionals to deliver the service, rightly or wrongly.

    There's clearly a changing role of ICT staff in schools, but that isn't particular to schools it's happeing across all industries. Independence of IT depts. is more and more being restricted, most organisations are part of a larger entity...a school is a part of a local authority, a family planning clinic is part of a local health authority, many UK companies are regional or subsidiary parts of a larger whole. As i said in a previous thread....IT is encroaching from the centre to the edges of an organisation. I've witnessed this first hand with a company that i worked for many years ago which was consumed by a larger US based corporation. The US corporate IT influence came in stages first came company wide ICT requirements, procurement processes, then came offshoring of IT support then came consolidation of remaining IT support. We know what consolidation means.

    It's a depressing state of affairs, and in no way does it indicate better, but it's commonplace. No area of the private or public sector is immune.

    I see further and further erosion of independence in decision making for 'small IT'

  18. #41

    russdev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    The LA would not want you there because you asked too many akward practical questions that spoiled the purity of their 'vision' for ICT, and the SMT won't want you there because you will see them getting the wool pulled over their eyes..... or watch them signing away their control over ICT & agree to you being TUPE'd.....
    The key is and one which have harked on about for while now we as network managers and ict support staff have to become political (should we need to is besides the point).

    Problem is people wait for bsf you need to be planning and playing the game now.

    Russ

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    The most revealing point was the statement that we should be aspiring to see ICT provision as a "5th Utility" service. That philosophy is so wrong headed for schools.

    I could make some milage by saying that using utility services such as Gas, with its over-cost escalating charges, poor customer relations, and mis-selling is perhaps not the best comparison, or indeed water sevices, which in my view under privatisation was a way of selling back to you what you already owned, but I suppose that's just my view.

    No, what concerns me with the "5th Utility" idea is the assumption behind it that there is a generic service that will suit all schools, the idea you can just pipe in ICT services. "industry standard" to me reads reliable but static provision, which is not what is needed in schools. Reliable is welcome but rightly or wrongly change in schools is constant, be it new guidelines on encryption of data ,or parental access measures that have to be put in place, or a new exam board with new software.

    All this is unpredictable and can't be put into a contract as we haven't got crystal balls.

    What is certain is the cost of implementing any unseen developments or innovation will be expensive and convoluted compared to a in-house solution.

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    ICT Managed Services in BSF

    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post

    Contrast the BSF way.... the clients(schools) have a carrot of massive ICT investment dangled in front of them, but it is conditional upon them agreeing to sign up to a service they have little or no say in, and one that locks them in for years with a service that costs them more and delivers less.
    I think this is part of the issue with BSF in that many people assume that the client has little or no say and that they are locked in to a poor service. It may be that the video only shows people from schools who have actively engaged with the Managed Service Provider and that this engagement is why they have got what they wanted and therefore they are so positive. In which case isn't this the model we need to encourage? I know of one BSF school where the Head told the managed service provider to remove their network management software and replace what was there before and they did it.

    On the cost side it is interesting to do the sums. I reckon that many schools pay between £150-200 per pupil to support their ICT needs. Indeed I worked with one school that was paying a great deal more.

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    SLT and responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post

    Some schools have excellent ICT provision, and already achieve everything that was featured in that video above. Some schools have extremely poor ICT provision, and would be most happy to be upgraded through BSF.

    > I totally agree and in such cases it is important that the good schools push the ICT bidder to take them further and improve the support or add value in other ways. I speak t many 'good' schools and I totally agree that there is a danger of schools walking blindly into a service that reducs teir effectively.

    In all cases though - do you agree that it is actually the SMT of the school that are totally responsible for lack of ICT integration and lack of proper ICT facilities - rather than simply blaming poor ICT Technicians that probably get very little technical training, and also may actually get paid around the same kind of wage as a receptionist?

    > Again totally agree. I remember a meeting many years ago where SLT grilled me about repairs and lack of service to staff. I had come prepared and presented a report that showed how under-funded we were to support our growth in ICT.Luckily I had a good SLT who took the point and started to fund us more appropriately.

    It’s up to the leadership team to realise the importance of ICT, the importance of recruiting a good ICT Technical Team, and the importance of good ICT funding – and schools that have not done this are the schools that are ICT failures.

    Butuz
    Please view my coments in te Quote >

    Totally agree with the last point as well
    Last edited by straight_talk; 11th February 2009 at 12:23 PM.

  22. #45

    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straight_talk View Post
    On the cost side it is interesting to do the sums. I reckon that many schools pay between £150-200 per pupil to support their ICT needs. Indeed I worked with one school that was paying a great deal more.
    We can all find examples to prove our point of view....

    Staffing costs accounts for a significant part of the ICT costs at most schools today. At the school where I was chair of governors, the cost of the BSF managed service was of the order of £40k pa more, with one person onsite vs the status quo with three people onsite. This extra cost did not include any replacement equipment costs or labour/parts costs for damage due to vandalism either.

    Now, exponents of BSF would argue that you can reduce the staffing cost by providing remote & telephone support, but they miss the point; schools need BODIES onsite, to deal with the problems that cannot be fixed by phone; these problems arrive in waves at the start of lessons, and need to be fixed urgently otherwise staff cannot teach.

    Can you imagine a class full of students, full of hormones after PE, sitting quietly while the teacher works their way through a script on the phone with a call-centre operator helping them debug loss of connectivity with the MIS system (for registration) or inability to get a DVD running on their laptop, or an IWB not working?

    9 times out of 10 this is because a cable has been unplugged, or the teacher has failed to switch something on. Please don't take this as a criticism of teachers either...... they are only human, they have a stressful job to do, and they cannot be expected to cope with kids bad behaviour, technology problems and the need to get lessons under way all at the same time.
    What they need is a technican who is available at very short notice, and having several onsite improves the chances of getting a problem fixed more quickly. BSF reduces that possibility.

  23. 3 Thanks to broc:

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