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BSF Thread, Guardian article in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; came across this article today - Outsourcing ICT as part of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) | Education | ...
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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Guardian article

    came across this article today - Outsourcing ICT as part of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) | Education | The Guardian
    Interesting section on Jim Knight's reaction to being asked id PFS has powers to prevent a school opting out of managed services,

    "This has caused such concern in schools across the country that questions have been asked in parliament. Ken Purchase, Labour MP for Wolverhampton, raised it with the minister for schools, Jim Knight, whose response was unambiguous: "Partnerships for Schools does not have powers to prevent a school opting out of proposals for authority-wide ICT programmes. Where a school wishes to opt out of the managed service, it must submit an alternative business procurement case. This must demonstrate that the school's alternative provision will be at least of an equivalent standard to the managed service proposed by the local authority, that it is able to link up to the area-wide solution, and that it passes a value-for-money test to ensure taxpayers' money is being well spent."
    I'm sure GD has mentioned this before somewhere but I can't locate it.

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    Yep, only one has gone forward so far and was eventually knocked back. I don't know the reasons why but it went all the way to the department and then back to the LA who said no.

    Tollbar BEC did not put one forward (a shame since they have pretty much everything sorted) and have opted to pull out, losing the funding (which has been shared out to the other schools).

    There had been talk of them still having some funding and I have asked around a heck of a lot and the only way they could get some would be on consultancy, and it would not be to the other schools or even that LA.

    I am not sure if there are any more schools putting forward the alternative business case but i would be interested to see why schools fail it.

    One of the areas that I know is a concern is the lack of commitment to the ICT vision that has been developed by the LA / LEP in their strategy for change. If a school is opting out then there is the risk that they will not share their good practice, a case in point with Tollbar and they are out of the loop ... and it is schools like them we still need in the loop (we can mention damage limitation or we can say helping to drive to higher standards ... both are comments I heard about it at BETT!)

    Hope this helps put some background to it.

    I am itching to see a school with good results, fantastic vision for ICT and a healthy dose of political know-how get stuck into this ... but most of these have gone down the Academy route, pairing up with a failing school and so they have been able to set their own agenda to a larger extent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    Where a school wishes to opt out of the managed service, it must submit an alternative business procurement case. This must demonstrate that the school's alternative provision will be at least of an equivalent standard to the managed service proposed by the local authority, that it is able to link up to the area-wide solution, and that it passes a value-for-money test to ensure taxpayers' money is being well spent."
    And there goes any hope of schools opting out. It could be made prohibitively difficult or completely impossible for schools to link up to the managed service on their own.

    I'm sure a lot of us won't have any problems in the other two areas in a real-world sense; but on paper - the managed service could be made to be seen as the magic solution to everything making a schools' solution far from adequate.

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    The threats used against the Camden School in the Guardian article were not unique to that school; they have been used elsewhere. I know of at least one other school that wanted to negotiate get-out clauses too; they were told that the negotiations would delay BSF for the whole LA, impacting the education of many thousands of students...... and that school would be blamed for the delays.....

    The cards are stacked against schools; I think the only viable alternative to managed services is to forget the ICT funding

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