Courses and Training Thread, Defining our profession in Training and Courses; What about doing something about it, along the lines of what's been discussed above?
I'm not labouring under the delusion ...
27th April 2012, 10:16 AM #16
What about doing something about it, along the lines of what's been discussed above?
I'm not labouring under the delusion that it will be easy. Equally, however, I'm not labouring under the delusion that it would be impossible. It seems the problem is more that nobody's interested in doing it.
28th May 2012, 05:28 PM #17
- Rep Power
I am very interested to read all of your comments here and agree totally with your views Ephelyon and those of the other contributors. I was told that there was a thread on this topic and have only just managed to find it.
This has been a frustration of mine since Becta were abolished. I have been planning to form a professional association that will do just what you are suggesting that includes FITS but lots of the other stuff that Becta used to cover and a lot more as well. I have done all of the preaparatory work with solicitors to form a charitable organisation that would initially be called "The Association for ICT Support in Education" that would eventually become "The Institute for ICT Support in Education". (ITSED)
The problem I have is one of funding to move it forward. To become a charity I understand that you need to have quite substantial financial resources behind you to get approval from the Charities Commission. To become an Institute or Institution requires Central Government approval which would only be possible after it was running and proved that there was a need for it.
The FITS Foundation, like just about all of the other similar organisations, receive no Government funding now. In addition the current coalition seem to have no interest in funding very much to do with technology in education. I am at a conference tomorrow that is aimed at Strengthening Our Tecnician Workforce and intend to try to get my point across about the need for this Association and funding for it and technician training in general.
If any of you know of any sources of funding that may help get this going please let me know. I am happy to look at working with other organisations including commercial organisations like Microsoft since there is unlikely to be Government funding for it unless attitudes change.
I will update this post with the outcome of tomorrow's conference and look forward to your comments.
28th May 2012, 05:48 PM #18
To become a charity you need annual income of £5000
28th May 2012, 06:19 PM #19
- Rep Power
The main issue though Ben is that you need to have money in the bank on reserve to cover the costs of closing it down should it fail. I know that one of the other charities in the education space has to keep £250,000 in reserve. I think the amount is probably in proportion to your membership size but you do still have to keep reserve money behind you that you would need to get in place up-front.
28th May 2012, 07:46 PM #20
Are you coming up to the conference at all? At the same time as this discussion was going on a similar one was happening in the BCS LinkedIn group but at the moment there doesn't seem to be anyone with the time (or the get up and go) to chat between EduGeek, NAACE and BCS about it all. We all know groups work together and overlap, but someone has to put the work in ... it is a shame that your work is hitting the stumbling block of money. I wonder if Nominet Trust could help at all?
28th May 2012, 08:11 PM #21
Well it entirely depends on the nature of the charity doesn't it? If you employee people and end wind it up there could be redundancy etc... to pay.
28th May 2012, 08:34 PM #22
Yes, if there was one, I would. I would also love to be able to work through a recognised set of qualifications. I have recently completed the FITS practitioner course and passed - my shiny exam certificate came this weekend - and it is good to have something accredited. But most of what that teaches is management, and approaches to problem solving. Some training on technical stuff would also come in handy, and would mean that I could apply for other jobs knowing I had a good basic set of accredited skills, rather than the self taught and Edugeek taught hotch potch of skills I have now. Useful as my knowledge is, I am painfully aware of the gaps, and although I know there are various courses out there that might fill those gaps, it is difficult to know which ones would be properly recognised in education or even outside of education, especially as things go out of date so quickly. And I am too old to be considered for an apprenticeship.
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
I also would like to suggest that, alongside ourselves being taught about teachers and their needs, teachers could do with some understanding of our role being built into their training (let's face it, induction is at best haphazard in schools). And the role of the office manager/MIS manager. Where do they think their data comes from, after all? It would surely help them to know they don't have to manually type in lists of pupils or create spreadsheets for assessment when the tools and the people who know these tools are already out there. Yes, we have had a teacher type in a whole school worth of pupil names to register for usernames for a web service I hadn't been told we were buying into. It happens. And if we can save them time, they'll love us.
28th May 2012, 08:55 PM #23
I for one think what everyone on this topic is forgetting, it doesn't matter if we become certified and recognised by the empowered body, as long as the teaching body in education feel threatened by any other professionals within their domain we will never be treat as equals in their eyes. I have been trying for years to establish the fact that there is indeed a two tiered system which we are all aware of except the people who matter.
As far as education is concerned there is only one professional body within its domain and that is of the "Teaching fraternity" we are as stated in our contracts "Support Staff" or worse still in some counties "Non-Teaching staff", if this doesn't explain the situation then we are blind to the facts. Governement along with the LA's have no concept of IT professionals nor do they wish to as it is more expense to add to each schools dwindling budget.
I am not in any way damning what has been brought up on this thread but realistically it could just be pie in the sky thinking.
Apologies if this offends anyone on here but it is not meant as a put down of any sort just a realisation that after my 10 years in the education business........nothing has changed in fact it has got worse.
28th May 2012, 10:16 PM #24
But if we started to educate trainee teachers about who we are and what we do, that could help the situation you describe, couldnt it? In the fullness of time?
Originally Posted by bossman
Not your usual cheery self, @bossman. Hope you are OK my northern man
28th May 2012, 11:00 PM #25
but surely trainee teachers are trained by the established teaching fraternity, so i don't know how you'd go about educating them if they are there to presumably be skilled on understanding their own jobs and roles, not learning about others.
Originally Posted by witch
i agree with bossman about the two-tiered aspect in schools. It's understandable in a way given the front line staff are teachers, but it's getting to the stage where there are significant pockets where the role of IT support has become another utility managed and/or implemented by outside suppliers (think the significant number of completed BSF schools, new labour academies, and PFI schools), so in those cases it's even harder to big up the role of the inschool ICT support because big money has already been spent on delivery by non-school employed 'professionals', and the Senior teaching staff calling the shots may turn around and ask what all the fuss is about, this procuring of ict lark that works to their satisfaction is something they can do with the guidance of their externally contracted suppliers, if you have enough dough to throw at the problem.
That in my view makes it harder for skilled professionalism to be recognised because the roles undertaken by onsite staff can be reduced to the lowest common demoninator. It's not as all pervasie as would be the case if BSF was allowed to run it's course, but there are enough new-style academies and new schools with big pots of money where the kind of investment their making in ict is thrashed out between Senior teaching leads and service providers, the ict professionals left in those schools may have very different roles than in other schools where the big money hasn't yet reached.
Last edited by alttab; 28th May 2012 at 11:01 PM.
28th May 2012, 11:15 PM #26
This was one of the reasons a few of us had a go at BCS. At the moment they are very active getting the Computing at School agenda going and have been working with a lot of schools ... and it would be a perfect chance for them to say, at the same time, that they are the Chartered Institute for IT Professionals ... which include people who do tech support in schools ... stressing the idea about professionals (and this doesn't mean you have to become a member either!)
Their comeback is that they will talk with people to try to get better professional recognition but they need folk to get involved as volunteers ... as there is no money around to fund work.
And yet when they ask their members to help only a handful of already busy people (most of which are also members here) are vocal.
The only way it will change is if a group of people from BCS, NAACE, EduGeek, The FITS foundation and key companies got together to work out what the problems are with education IT Support staff not being recognised as such and whether it is just us or (as many are likely to say) a wider issue about the view of associate staff in schools.
Personally, I have been happy to stick my oar into this but I am the wrong person to lead on it as I do have my own views which are not representative of everyone and I have my own agenda too ...
Still, if people do want to collectively chat and get behind something to try to make a difference I see that we have a few choices.
We can chalk up the present set of frustrations as something that won't change so why bother.
We can let others invest their time in it and just watch.
We can discuss things and hope someone strings it together.
We can actively try to deal with the problems and try to get help from others.
Some of the above has been covered previously and gets hit by a certain amount of apathy on the site (and it happens in all groups ... Just think of how few ICT teachers are involved in CaS!). I can understand why and although it is frustrating to see ... It does need to change. However, it is up to others to do that ...
28th May 2012, 11:36 PM #27
My own thoughts on this idea are currently with the Business Development Managers at QA to see if they might be interested in collaborating on such a training course. Not that the scope of change should be limited to just training.
bossman is right to suggest that, either way, we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground here. From my point of view though, I'd rather be trying than not trying. If we don't get anywhere, at least we gave it our best shot.
Just re-read that and realised how clichéd it sounded! You get what I mean though.
29th May 2012, 08:59 AM #28
I think it is our job as well. The NM here has a session with the student teachers to cover IT & Data use in the school and takes that opportunity to teach them a bit about our role and support staff. I normally end up doing a session on Whiteboards & use that to do the same. Then there is the chance we get when they come in to ask us to photocopy so instead of showing them the inside of the tape safe I explain, with much laughter in my voice, how they can use a photocopier themselves as they are big teachers now.
Originally Posted by alttab
29th May 2012, 07:53 PM #29
I understand your frustration - schools can be frustrating places to work, but I personally don't mind being seen as support staff. Even when I lead on something, by offering procurement suggestions or learning something new to train others, that is still a role that supports the teaching. And I don't see why teachers should feel threatened by someone genuinely trying to help. But I suppose every school environment is different, and I am lucky enough to work somewhere that my contribution to the whole seems to be appreciated, even if they sometimes forget to involve me in relevant stuff from time to time.
Originally Posted by bossman
I looked at becoming a member of BCS a good few years ago, but wasn't sure I had enough technical points to qualify. May be time to look again.
29th May 2012, 11:36 PM #30
Most Senior IT Technicians, Asst NMs and NMs will qualify for MBCS (Member of BCS) as this shows you are generally working at level 4 of SFIAplus, showing either responsibility or technical expertise ... or a combination of both. For those not working to that level then there is the Associate Member status.
Some NMs will also be able to go for Chartered Status under the present assessment scheme (folk like @bossman, @Soulfish, etc should have no problems) so there is still scope for aspirational targets for those coming through. The problem is that BCS is not that well known for dealing with education IT support ... yes, they get involved in education in a number of ways (STEM ambassadors, ECDL, BCS Academy, Computing at School, Turing Bursary, etc) but they don't think of us as anything out of the ordinary compared to anyone else doing a bulk standard IT job ... and we all know that Education is a special case (for many reasons).
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