I think RM have won quite a few BSF bids in London
I talk to alot of other schools.........I spoke to a school today in the hackney area.......and asked them about there IT Team etc etc....
The person comes bk to me and says we are a new school and we have managed by RM......
The next email made me laugh............
RM have provided us with a very poor service so far and sadly we cant get out of the contract.
I think RM have won quite a few BSF bids in London
Yeah, I think they won most of Hackney.........lucky for my place who are building a new school they are keeping in-house!
That's not technically true. They could buy their way out of the contract, but yes, mostly likely they'll have to honour it.
In the meantime I suggest they log every complaint or problem the school has. They're paying for it after all and RM should be geared up for this - it's all part of their managed services. Inevitably they won't be able to please everyone.
Same old story, same old RM. (and, to be honest, same old stupid senior staff signing up to things long-term just because of a percieved discount).
Why is it not illegal to sign a contract tying a school/health service/government department into any provider for more than a year? You get six months of "what a lovely customer you are, of course we'll do that", followed by the rest of the contract where the company hates your guts and will do anything to avoid work.
I've pulled primary schools out of RM contracts (in RM-only boroughs) in order to convert them to "ordinary" Windows networks and they lost zero effective functionality and got a lot more for their money. The only problem was the RM salesman-explosions after they did this, trying to win back custom and basically lying through their teeth.
I had to explain, many times and very carefully, why we didn't use them and the answer from RM was always the same "Yes, we did *use* to be like that, but we've changed"... Fabulous... so you admit that you're a bunch of scoundrels... that makes me feel much better. Now come back to me when you are globally nice to all your customers (including the ones I speak to who are STILL having problems with RM less than a mile away) and have the trust you were given 10 years ago, then.
Unfortunately, BSF is just an excuse to filter money into IT, building and consultancy company's pockets. RM happens to be one of those but it's not the only one. There are actually startups which have set up, jumped on the bandwagon, made a ton, and then conveniently gone bankrupt or closed down. Don't think they haven't made money for themselves in the process.
The secondary->academy transition that I experienced was at least a 90% dead loss in terms of money spent (£600/day IT "consultants", over-priced kit, outright-lying, etc.) and what was recieved. Basically all the old IT we had was scrapped and then the new IT was completely inadequate (fortunately, my old boss there held onto their old kit and they ran the new term with old gear instead). We were forced to take Exchange servers that took months to arrive and setup, wireless deployments that took a year and were fitted by ex-army personnel friendly with the person managing the academy (imagine what that does to your roofs and nice neat cabling), we even had a startup try to sell us Linux/Wine on the basis that it would perfectly run Ranger network management software on both servers and clients (WTH?)... fortunately I was there to fend that one off. STEER CLEAR OF LIGHTAPP - they made it to the BETT last year, somehow. Don't fall for it.
The next big plan is managed IT services, paying for broadband for the kiddie-wink's homes, etc. Basically, the big plan with BSF / Academies is to scrap all staff and run the school with some £5.75/hour robots - IT, teachers, site staff, you name it. Pay for external resources, video-conference lessons, do tests online, have IT managed externally, plonk kids in front of a computer screen and pay one good teacher in the country to make all their lessons for them. The IT companies are loving it because it doesn't matter if they fail because of the length of contracts involved. A £1000 server with a £100 PHP script per school and they have a "VLE" or "MLE" that they can charge £100 per student per term for.
I wouldn't have minded the "revamp" of the school site that accompanied our BSF / Academyship, but they didn't even rebuild or change anything non-IT apart from the reception area. They are due BSF funding for a whole new site "any day now" (for the last two years) and that will be no different. They paid £60,000 to an outside company to rip up a carpet and put in a glass partition in reception. Then they sacked, demoted, intimidated, ignored or replaced most of the site management staff.
IT teams are all going the same way, but with more resistance. Work for RM (or other large firm) or lose your job. Unfortunately, that's like asking me to work for my sworn enemy and be happy about it. Independent schools is the route I took... they know what they want, they don't take rubbish, they are prepared to pay, they aren't bound by ridiculous political ideas and they don't like being reliant on anyone else.
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