That is where model falls down they were meant to be but I am sure there were some LAs which didn't have man power to do that and problem is the same thing would happen in BSF if it was given direct to schools or even LA to certain degree.
Nope ... because everyone said "you can trust schools ..." and with Curriculum Online you had suppliers and schools both fiddling it to by buying hardware (and yes ... whether Curriculum Online was value for money I would suggest having a chat with Ian Lynch from The Learning Machine who will give you chapter and verse on how it could have been spent better!) and schools that just plainly ignored the ring-fencing and used it for what they wanted. Auditors rarely checked and it was easy to blag if they did.
Because of this lack of accountability someone decided that the LA should have more say and control ... and the LAs have to be answerable to someone so they produced PfS and parts of DCSF (with other groups involved such as Becta, NCSL, SSAT).
And now we have concerns that the people holding LAs accountable are not doing it properly (or the way we like it). It is a lose - lose situation for anyone involved.
Back to the request about "What has BSF ever done for us ..." do you mean for IT, for school improvement, against the tagline of raising life chances for learners, value for money? I only ask because I am happy to go out and point out examples of good and bad, but not get shouted down for talking about the wrong thing. (And for a start of good and bad ... mainly bad ... the previously posted webcasts from Bristol in this forum are a place to start!)
The problem is, the people at the LA level and above aren't in each school. They don't see what each school needs. This is not their fault though, this is a systemic problem - no decision maker could spend time in each of the dozens/hundreds of schools they make decisions about. So instead, they take a sample of random schools - each drastically different from each other, and then use a 'one size fits all' brush to try and make something work in all of them. Which, face it, was already shown not to work. That sort of thinking was why schools now control their own finances and not the LA.
Yep ... and lots of schools screw up their finances which is why FMSiS was introduced to get a level of accountability. OFSTED only does so much nowadays, ICTMark doesn't cover what you need to really and it still comes down to trying to apply large scale implementations of the same things that made the top schools the best.
The problem is when any chance of flexibility gets driven out of the project. I still hold hopes that Lewisham has bucked the trend and am waiting to see what improvements it delivers. Cambridgeshire are also planning some interesting things like all networks should allow for kids to bring their own devices in *with no risk to the rest of the network*, something the bidders reckon can be done and managed within the budget.
Some more down sides ... fixed price books when better deals can be done on an ad-hoc basis, no chance of flexibility because you get what you are given, the technical skillset in the school is diminished so that there is little chance of anything extra being added ad-hoc and any future changes have to be minutely planned ... limited scope for innovation ...
The schools that get the most out of BSF are the ones that have started the transformation themselves.The barriers with the LA arise when there are differences of opinion about what the change needs to be. Sometimes it is the school at fault, sometimes it is the LA.
more down sides...
technicians driven by a job queue, watching the clock because they are on fixed repair times & they get kicked by their employer because they have to pay penalties if things aren't fixed in time....
Support staff who are no longer part of the school team; take no part in the extended school life; no time to support out of school activities, helping out with events etc. No vested interest in the school anymore......
Loss of local knowledge of the school, the people, the ways people work, the internal school politics that govern the pecking order & the way to get things done.....
Schools being overcharged for replacement equipment, no onsite repairs, no cannibalising equipment to keep it going that little bit longer.... it's broken, swap it out... send the broken item offsite for repair... bill the school full-price for parts, engineering time. courier service etc etc
I am sure there are others.
I recently saw an advert for several private sector ICT service managers to help run the managed service in a nearby LA.... £60k pa plus..... schools are going to be paying for these
I'm a bit late to read this thread and relatively new to the concept of the BSF project. From what I understand, BSF doesn't seem like a particularly good thing to introduce to the majority of schools.
I was just wondering if any schools were currently involved in the 1st phase of transitition and whether they could confirm or deny all of the negative points raised in this thread...?
I think it is closer to say that the IT portion of BSF is not popular here ... most people don't have too many complaints about the buildings (apart from the concern they will not last and will need lots of changes to do what is needed and will be built by people who have already been fined for illegal / unfair practices) or the education changes it can bring ...
But yes ... there are problems with it.
Indeed, that is potentially one good aspect of BSF - but whilst pay is important to me, job satisfaction is more important.60k is stuff-all in real-world IT management jobs, but unheard of in state schools. If BSF gets me a decent wage for doing the same job then I've suddenly seen a reason to embrace it. Thanks broc, I'd assumed it was all doom & gloom!
Yep ... which is why I moved to the LA rather than a BSF provider other commercial company ... but having spoken to folk at Northgate and RM they seem to have job satisfaction too. And there are some that don't and hate it ... and think their management know bugger all about IT in education and are only in it for self-interest ... hmmm ... sounds almost like a rant about teachers or senior manglement in schools.Indeed, that is potentially one good aspect of BSF - but whilst pay is important to me, job satisfaction is more important.
Different day, same $|-|!t
Maybe I was a little brief;
The service management jobs I described are 'overhead'. These are posts sitting above the staff who will actually deliver the service to the schools; they are not technical, they are there to manage the service delivery team and ensure the MSP gets the maximum revenue out of the schools. They will be funded by providing less onsite support for schools. This means fewer, lower skilled technicians per school.
Anyone who has worked as part of a services organisation or outsourcing will probably recognise the role I am referring to.
As far as working to SLAs and using a helpdesk; of course we have these, but by being school employees we can and frequently do change our priorities to respond to the needs of the school. This flexibility will vanish, as it does in any company with outsourced services.
Being a queue-driven onsite technician may not be a lot of fun for many; it means initial problem determination is done by a remote helpdesk, who will log the call & schedule a repair action, adding it to your work queue.
Let's suppose it is a dead laptop, either won't power on, or will not boot into a workable OS. A typical KPI in a managed service might mean you are given 30 mins to deal with a defective laptop or your employer has to pay a fine.
This means there will be little or no time to do any problem determination. All you can do is collect a spare off a shelf in a storeroom & swap it for the failing unit. You will then stick the dud in a box & log a call to collect it for repair offsite, then its on to the next job on the queue.
Nooooooooo.... wake up damnit...that's gullible manglement bible stuff, that largely American con where they take 1 + 1 = 2, wrap it in barely comprehensible gobbledygook, add a large measure of evangelism and sell it back to you as revelation. All that is good for is increasing the entropy of the universe ...taking perfectly simple concepts, useful words, bluring and obsfucating them... progressively sucking a) money out of people's pockets, b) the life out of our ability to communicate with any precision.As for Transformational change.
Let's stick to the plot: In most people's minds transformation tends to imply that magical metamorphosis stuff, it's a big change in appearance such as Frogs->Princes, and over on the cynics side Jekylls->Hydes. But with a rusty old maths hat on, Mr Frog needs to be man-sized because a transformation does not alter the value.
Because it was uttered by politicians the phrase "educational transformation" is clearly intended to suggest magical variety that is going to increase value, and that implicitly means attainment: It's not just bricks & mortar, we're New Labour and great, substantial, enduring things will happen. And AIUI LAs/schools have to go along with that if they want the money i.e. need to concoct transformational strategies and visions. But because this is the real-world and significantly in this corner i.e. one wrapped up in an awful lot of regulation and red tape, we all know that in practice there is very little room for manoeuvre.
So what happens? Well absolutely nothing I've yet seen mentioned about ICT comes anywhere close to being innovative enough to make a really significant difference: In many parts of the real-world it's mundane and some of it has been mundane for over a decade. But talking like that, saying "Ok, the plan is to catch up with current mainstream technology" doesn't get you the money does it? What you have to do is take all this relatively humdrum stuff and talk it up for all you're worth, as in over-enthuse, stir in whatever happens to be this week's mandatory jargon to "sell" it, tick all the boxes in the approved manner, magnify realistically achievable benefits by a couple of orders of magnitude, spin, spin, spin. But please don't start to believe it's truth.
Yes you can always make things better, but it won't be "transformational". A couple of e-words can benefit i.e. you can makes things a bit more "efficient" and a bit more "effective". But that's pretty much what you're guaranteed to get if you throw in a decent new IT infrastructure and (most importantly) throw sufficient training. tips, tricks, alternative methods and so on at the people who use it to do their jobs.
The way Policy Exchange tell it the teachers have generally been blanked from all this as well. Now whether that's because of manglement arrogance or ignorance I couldn't say, but it is not what I would expect from the collective brainpower of bunch of people who one way or another, apparently cost us an average of £80K p/a each.they realised the mistake was always putting the technology at the front of the decision and then playing catch-up.<snip>I get frustrated to hear that the IT Managers who really understand education are excluded from what goes on
Last edited by PiqueABoo; 27th September 2009 at 11:06 PM.
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