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    BSF and rebuild/refurbishment

    Does anyone know or have any experience of how a BSF rebuild or refurbishment fund affects the ICT Support Staff?

    We're due to get £x million (Don't know - no one will tell me) for a partial rebuild and refurbishment scheme in 2012(ish) and no one will tell me how that affects the NM and Technicians roles.

    With it not being a full BSF build, would it include a managed ICT service, or has anyone gone through a similar process?

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Refurb or refurb makes little difference really ... in reality it just means that they will keep your legacy stuff longer!

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    The ICT funding is based upon the number of students, approx £1400 per student but this covers a wide range of ICT related equipment, services and consultancy costs so the true amount spent on equipment that students actually get their hand on is a pretty small percentage. Schools then have to pay for the managed service, at a rate of £120-£150 (or more) per student per year for the duration of the managed service contract, typically 5 or 10 years!

    rebuild or refurb... a rebuild will probably be PFI, a refurb will be capital funding sourced by HM Govt. PFI companies don't like partial rebuilds as they represent uncertainty & more risk and reduce the prospect of making a profit.

    In my LA (Wave 3) and a neighbouring LA (Wave 1), both rebuild and refurb schools were expected to sign up to managed services, including the academies that were 'bundled'. In both cases school ICT staff will be TUPE'd to the managed service provider. If you are not in a Union, you might want to consider joining one. Talk to the Unions about BSF.

    At a BSF presentation I attended several years ago (2004 or 2005) Partnership for Schools made it clear that managed services (and TUPE) would be the 'norm', along with centralised server farms.

    We were told then that there was no role for network managers based in schools under BSF, and it was likely that the advances in technology & remote support capabilities would mean fewer, lower skilled technicians onsite too.

    You will find plenty of discussions on Edugeek that discuss the merits of this approach.....
    Last edited by broc; 23rd February 2009 at 07:12 PM.

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    Sort of what I expected.

    Game over for NMs in schools then - time to look for another job with renewed enthusiam!

    Shame really, I quite liked working in education but like every other sector I've worked in in ICT, redundancy is always not far away.

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    broc's Avatar
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    The outlook is not entirely bleak for NMs, as long as they don't expect to work at one place full time. I think there is a reasonable chance that MSPs will want a team of people with NM skills to cover a group of schools; maybe not 1:1 but for those with the right skill set & attitude there could be a career path that extends beyond being an NM in a school.

    What I fear will be gone though is the sense of being part of the school, and having an interest in how the school performs in a wider sense. Those still working in ICT in schools will be expected to be a lot more focussed and 'profit'-driven, with less time (maybe no time?) to support non-ICT related activities. I regard that as a real loss to schools.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    maybe not 1:1 but for those with the right skill set & attitude there could be a career path that extends beyond being an NM in a school.
    for career path read 'teamleader'

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Technical Architect
    Project Manager
    Customer Service Manager

    Try and get things like ITIL training in there as well as MCSE / CompTIA / etc ...

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    One thing that will be missed here is the the 'free' service we offer to staff regarding their personal PCs and laptops.

    We've repaired countless bits of kit - advised on many purchases and generally been an alternative to PC World! Although we don't sell anything we'll repair a home PC; the techies here enjoy the variety and sometimes you learn something new.

    Its that community mentality that will vanish I guess.

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    broc's Avatar
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    There are lots of things schools & staff will miss out on; being part of the school 'community' most ICT support staff help out in all sorts of ways that are not directly associated with their jobs.....

    Working for an MSP they are unlikely to have the time (unless the school pays the MSP extra) and everything they do & every minute they spend working in/for a school will be scrutinised against the service contract

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    It a good point about community as this is very hard/impossible to write into a contract. But it does depend on the ethos of the company that win the bid. If all they are interested in is bottom line schools are in trouble but if they are interested in customer service then there may be room to go the extra mile.

    For example we have a really good Cleaning company that employ great staff that will work hard to get things done. They can do this because the school paid extra for a better service and the company boss motivates his staff by paying them a little bit more.

    Obviously for every successful outsource there are 4 that don't work as well but if schools want gold level service but are only willing to pay for silver they rely on the good will of staff which can dry up very quickly.

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