BSF Thread, "Playground Bullies" - Private Eye (24th July) in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Interesting little article in there about a report on BSF by "Policy Exchange, a right leaning think-tank" based on interviews ...
31st July 2009, 11:48 PM #1
"Playground Bullies" - Private Eye (24th July)
Interesting little article in there about a report on BSF by "Policy Exchange, a right leaning think-tank" based on interviews with a variety of "stakeholders"
The article alleges that "when a draft was leaked to PfS ... it resorted to dirty tricks to silence the criticism ... Interviewees were leaned on to tone down or withdraw their remarks, with the implicit threat that their businesses or careers would suffer if they did not". It goes into more detail.
There's a PDF of the presumably toned down report PDF here.. Worth a look, although I suspect some of you will take exception to some of what they say on why ICT should be detached from BSF.
IDG Tech News
3rd August 2009, 12:14 AM #2
I like this bit.
BSF is a bit like buying a new TV –
the new set looks great when you put in the corner of your sitting room,
but it’s the programmes that actually make you want to keep coming back for
more – and after a while, you forget that you have even got a new telly! If the
programmes haven’t improved in the meantime, everything goes back to how it
used to be.”
3rd August 2009, 01:38 AM #3
Not bad... "This one-size-ﬁts-all approach to ICT is potentially harmful for
education, driving out innovation. Some schools have been developing their own
ICT systems and programmes, experimenting with innovations such as mobile
technology. In such cases ICT is a critical part of changing the way they teach, and
schools should be free to explore what works for their pupils. Some headteachers
who have tried to opt out of the managed service but have been blocked by PfS
are considering taking this to judicial review."
...it's good to see this sort of thing starting to come more often.
3rd August 2009, 02:08 PM #4
I think the report sums up Partnership for Schools pretty well
3rd August 2009, 02:56 PM #5
never thought I'd see myself agreeing with a right wing think tank
3rd August 2009, 03:12 PM #6
I have to say I agree with you; the trouble is the Govt will dismiss this report outright because of its origin and the fact that it is so critical of what has been/is a flagship policy of theirs.
Originally Posted by CyberNerd
4th August 2009, 12:58 AM #7
Funny since the ideas for a lot of the Academy program, BSF and Specialist Schools had originally come out of right wing think tanks! Glad to see the report is out there but there is still a big element of blame management going on here.
16th August 2009, 11:50 AM #8
This is a worrying report on lots of levels that would appear to be supporting the use of abacus in schools and going back to the "good old days"
The government doesn't need to show ICT raises attainment just as it doesn't need to show using a pencil/pen does. ICT is just a tool an everyday basic need for education. I'd have like to see them produce this report without some ICT education !!
Just as the Government has failed to back up the link between buildings and achievement, so too has it failed to provide firm evidence that ICT
raises attainment, and failed to provide good suggestions of how to change practice to support teachers using new technology in schools.
Now there conclusions about the BSF programme may or may not be correct but with such a negative view of the potential for the use of ICT in schools I think they are best heed this quote
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Leslie Poles Hartley
16th August 2009, 12:17 PM #9
that's not a surprise at all, as BSF is a PFI project it stands to reason that as a vehicle for more private sector involvement and a method to off-balance sheet spending it originates from such think tanks.
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
the trouble is, it was wholly unnecessary. The govt. can and should have run budget deficits and not worried about how it was going to 'afford' these ambitious school and hospital building projects. Complicating the issue with a PPP just all seems a bit pointless when you look at the current enforced budget deficit and debt as a % of gdp numbers [which have broken all previous voluntarily implemented fiscal rules]
The interesting thing is if BSF wasn't PFI what would the ICT element look like, each school individually have given the extra cash to choose as they saw fit ? Or would that never have been an option irrespective of how BSF was to be funded. IT probably would have ended up that too many vested interests at play and the inevitable award of such contracts to private sector MSP's, the whole big is good approach seems to have pervaded public sector procurement.
17th August 2009, 10:07 AM #10
This is what I have always said - if they gave us the 1.5 to 2 million per school, we would transform ICT in Education too - only we would make a much better job as we would actually implement what each individual school required, and we wouldn't all be wasting Millions on Consultancy, politics and Legal rubbish - we would actually put the money straight into the classrooms!!!
Originally Posted by torledo
Last edited by Butuz; 17th August 2009 at 10:26 AM.
17th August 2009, 10:43 AM #11
I can't say that I totally believe that to be true. Some schools would do a better job and some would wouldn't. I could show you number of schools where money is bably invested in a whole range of projects, for a whole number of reasons. Giving the money directly to the schools does not automatically equal good, sound investments.
Originally Posted by Butuz
17th August 2009, 01:22 PM #12
I agree a few schools I know have wasted thousands of pounds on kit nobody uses. Also the other problem with giving school the money direct is that there is no incentive to work together. While good schools do share practice and ideas there is still a reluctance to share staff or resources and genuinely raise educational achievement for all students. For example I heard of a school in Sheffield that had a wonderful solution and employed 7 technicians but want to opt out of BSF as they would be given an inferior solution. Fair enough you might think but why was that model not the one that was repeated across the other school. Why wasn't time and effort not put into an enterprise solution that replicates this best practise ? had this school been involved with the BSF planning process ?
Originally Posted by sparkeh
I suspect that in every area there is a local school that is getting lots of the challenges of BSF right without the money. BSF would be so much better if these schools were allowed to create cooperatives that meet educational output specification in a sustainable manner. Yes that may mean buying managed elements to the service from third parties and there would have to be performance indicators and somebody with whom the buck stopped. An ideal solution would be a non profit organisation outside the politics of a local authority that could take a ten year plan for educational ICT achievement as it goal and look to transform the way school is done so it is fit for the 21st Century.
17th August 2009, 06:06 PM #13
can't a manged service provider make the same mistakes ?
Originally Posted by Face-Man
except their mistakes are multipled x number of times if they get it badly wrong as far as solution selection.
I don't know, just asking the question. I think what you really need is to employ people at school level with the right experience in procurement and solutions delivery. Ofcourse it would probably mean upping the pay to attract this calibre, and possibly a bit of hand holding of the school senior mgmt during the recruitment process, but atleast these people are then on the payroll......which i've always preferred, direct job creation.
17th August 2009, 06:08 PM #14
what ? a quango ?
Originally Posted by Face-Man
17th August 2009, 11:20 PM #15
I'm sure you're right. The scary thing is that I remember the early days of IT in schools and you're describing the kind of thing that was going on back then. Does anyone else remember ILECC (London), AUCBE (Hertfordshire) or any of the other LEA based groups that encouraged schools to work together to develop systems and resources?
Originally Posted by Face-Man
They were all scrapped back in the 1980s when central government decided it was better to let schools directly manage their own money. That meant there was no money available to fund LEA organisations and they all folded.
I doubt we'll ever see this sort of working again; George Osborne was talking last week about how a Conservative government would save money in schools by paying private companies to provide even more services at a lower cost than employing people directly. This doesn't suggest that we'll see anything better in educational IT whoever's in power after the next election.
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