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BSF Thread, Continuity of Service before/during BSF in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 Why arn't current ICT support and service providers included in the initial planning, surely it would ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    Why arn't current ICT support and service providers included in the initial planning, surely it would be in the best interest for all those involved? Or is it assumed that all existing ICT support staff are incompetent and all existing ICT infrastructure is defunct and outdated?
    I suspect the problem may in part be due to the 'perception' held by LAs planning BSF (and those advising them) who like to think that their existing LA internal Education IT support organisations are 'running' the secondary school ICT already, and that all schools do is employ toner drones for ICT support.

    This myth is perpetuated by organisations like Partnership for Schools because it allow them to promote managed services more effectively too. If you have seen any of PfS 'sales pitches' you will know what I mean.

    It also serves the purpose of some LAs who are keen to regain control of school assets in any way they can, and controlling ICT along with other 'soft' site services such as cleaning,caretaking, and catering are all examples of where the LA in partnership with the LEP can achieve this.

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    I suppose it's a good example of how IT in schools still is not begin thought of as a critical component in some schools. If a company were relocating the IT assets and infrastructure would be one of the top items on the project agenda.

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    For all they rattle on about how we're going to "create new learning opportunities and enhance technology in education" all they really mean is "we like to have some computers that do word processing and web browsing".

    They've even put LESS labs on the new build plan than we have at the moment. We're going from having (counting in CLC use) 5 labs down to 2. Go figure.

    All they care about it seems is getting a nice new classroom that's painted the colours the teachers want. The infrastructure seems to be at the back of their minds.

    I was told "oh yes, we want wireless, yeah everything wireless" to which I replied "you can have wireless zones but your computers will be WIRED so get that out of your head right now. Just because it 'works at home' doesn't mean you can hang labs of desktop PC's that do video editing with remote storage (based on your plans) off it.

    GAAAAAHHHHH
    [Large panning shot of tsky screaming at the sky, zooming out google-maps stylee]

    They employ you to "make a difference" and "point us in the right direction because you have real-world experience" and what they REALLY mean is "can you keep us in stock with toner and make sure I can download all my pr0n ok please, I don't like change"

    *sobs into his very strong Java coffee*

    Knowing what the architects and builders are like in this place, even if we put in temporary links between sites they'll put a digger through it like they did with one of the other school blocks...

    [Crazy Admin Rant Warning!]
    It's absolutely crazy that every time I try and talk to the BSF consultants/architects/planners/buttmunchers all they say is "oh well, yes you have a vested intereste don't you - potentially losing your job!"
    "I DON'T GIVE A S4!7 ABOUT MY JOB ... I CARE ABOUT THE 1100 KIDS THAT CAN'T LEARN AND THE 100 STAFF THAT CAN'T TEACH YOU MORON!"

    When will these people start acting like the professionals they're supposed to be and talk about education as a WHOLE service instead of segregating each chunk of the rebuild. IT infrastructure is necessary to underpin everything.. from lowly registers to learning platforms, email, network storage, phone systems and computer labs.

    Aaaaaand what are they all winging about... what colour their walls are.. the fact they don't have an office for every member of staff... that they're not going to have a printer on their desk...


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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    It varies from LA to LA about how much they expect to keep and use existing kit or infrastructure. It also depends on the internal communication within the different teams within the LA who deal with building projects.

    They may have presumed that the IT lot would be sorting it and the IT lot presumed the buildings lot would do it (as it is the 5th service after gas, electric, water, telecoms ...) It also partly depends on whether the school has their own ISP or if they are using the LA's ISP / RBC.

    Basically ... it is poor project management. No other way to describe it really ... and could have been picked up by quite a number of people before you spotted it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Basically ... it is poor project management. No other way to describe it really ... and could have been picked up by quite a number of people before you spotted it.
    Nail on the head right there.
    People who are paid extortionate amounts and they have no ability to project manage.

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    And there is the issue that if the QA was done right by the people paying them that it wouldn't be an issue ... the problem with large projects like this is that it comes down to 'matrix management' ... people not in the same department / group / team / company who are trying to communicate things.

    Most project like this (not just in education) suffer due to problems with communication, especially around the project management. Sometimes it is not the project manager's fault, sometimes not the client's fault (the LA in this case) but trying to get review meetings to stop these problems occurring are hard due to people having to do two or three different roles, BSF/PFI just being one of them.

  7. #22

    localzuk's Avatar
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    These sort of problems are why we project manage any work ourselves in school now.

    Rather than it being passed around a load of managers who are 25 miles away, we have our project manager on-site at all times during planning and during implementation too.

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    The problem is that schools are often notorious for poor project management themselves ... and what some people think of as project management really isn't, missing out huge chunks of important bits such as consultation and communication ... simply telling people "this is what you are getting!" is not consultation or communication. This applies not just to the technical side of things, but also changes in working practices for all staff, changes to school uniform ... it just goes on, and groups like NCSL and SSAT have a significant amount of CPD to try and rectify this ... it just doesn't filter all the way through schools.

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    BSF started out as a concept ideal of replacing the old decrepit 60s buildings throughout the whole of the country and it seemed like a damn fine idea to those people running the country as it focused on our youth and how fine an investment it would be.

    Then the private industry consultants got on the "gravy train" and sat next to the "Architects" who in turn rubbed their little hands with glee at being given free license to design new conceptual buildings which had no real purpose but to visually look good.

    As it stands now no matter how much consultation goes on before the desired build and no matter how intricate the details drawn up during this long drawn out process you only get what they want you to have, due to cost restraint as all the consultants and other processes are taking the lions share of the money which leaves little else for any changes.

    It makes me laugh when I hear so called experts and learned people within the process actually believing what they are told by the consultants, that they will get all the requirements they have asked for.
    Our Beacon BSF school here has not got what they asked for, most of the rooms are too small to teach the required numbers, no storage for whatever the teachers what to store in their teaching rooms, the canteen facilties too small for everyone to have access and the queues for it trailing back into the reception area.
    These schools are all the same in design as the Architects have long gone with their money and the Government have no more money for more designs to be drawn up.

    In all it is a farce which we the taxpayers are funding again so private companies can reap the benefits.
    It disgusts me as much as the scandal about the MPs claims debate.

  10. Thanks to bossman from:

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsky View Post
    They've even put LESS labs on the new build plan than we have at the moment. We're going from having (counting in CLC use) 5 labs down to 2. Go figure.
    Why are they still putting in computer rooms? - you want a couple at most but the subject IT should go and all classrooms should have a class worth of computers round the edge so you can just go and use computers when required and no worry about booking IT rooms and stuff - you could also have computers designed to work with the subjects that use the rooms (ie english would only need an eeeBox but media would require Core i7's for video editing and stuff)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAckroyd View Post
    Why are they still putting in computer rooms? - you want a couple at most but the subject IT should go and all classrooms should have a class worth of computers round the edge so you can just go and use computers when required and no worry about booking IT rooms and stuff - you could also have computers designed to work with the subjects that use the rooms (ie english would only need an eeeBox but media would require Core i7's for video editing and stuff)
    I work with tsky.

    The point is we have 5 computer labs atm and thats only just enough for the IT classes, other subject areas dont get a look in. So cut it down to 2 and you will be back to the 90s where IT was taught from a book as a written/theory subject, and classes would have to take turns at having "a go" on the computers. (Maybe not such a bad idea tbh considering the tripe they learn in IT atm)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAckroyd View Post
    Why are they still putting in computer rooms? - you want a couple at most but the subject IT should go and all classrooms should have a class worth of computers round the edge so you can just go and use computers when required and no worry about booking IT rooms and stuff - you could also have computers designed to work with the subjects that use the rooms (ie english would only need an eeeBox but media would require Core i7's for video editing and stuff)
    The subject 'ICT' is still a GCSE subject, and still an AS/A2 subject. It is also taught as a discreet subject in many KS3 and KS4 schools too - it is here, for example.

    I agree that IT should be integrated into subjects, but an English teacher should not have to spend their time teaching kids how to word process...

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The subject 'ICT' is still a GCSE subject, and still an AS/A2 subject. It is also taught as a discreet subject in many KS3 and KS4 schools too - it is here, for example.

    I agree that IT should be integrated into subjects, but an English teacher should not have to spend their time teaching kids how to word process...
    being taught how to word process is a primary/pre-school thing - they would probly be able to do the GCSE in IT in year 5/6 now

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    Why arn't current ICT support and service providers included in the initial planning, surely it would be in the best interest for all those involved? Or is it assumed that all existing ICT support staff are incompetent and all existing ICT infrastructure is defunct and outdated?
    It's probably closer to the truth than even if "they" have any qualifications or experience in ICT it is not from any form of educational environment.
    The whole process is also highly political, some of those involved possibly even earning more than cabinet ministers. (These people are likely to come with egos to match their saleries.) The last thing they want to be told is that the plans are fundermentally flawed. Especially by someone who is most likely paid a lot less, is outside of their "social circle" and dosn't have to waste vast sums of money on "consultants" and "reports" to come to a conclusion.
    This probably isn't anything especially new, considering what a well known Danish author wrote in 1837.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAckroyd View Post
    being taught how to word process is a primary/pre-school thing - they would probly be able to do the GCSE in IT in year 5/6 now
    This is your opinion and not based in fact or based on the current curriculum.

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