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Educational IT Jobs Thread, Director of IT positions.........are they out there? in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; I always tend to find Director of IT roles in Independant schools, I rarely see them in public schools to ...
  1. #16
    mmoseley's Avatar
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    I always tend to find Director of IT roles in Independant schools, I rarely see them in public schools to be honest, or FE/HE establishements.

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    I work at an independent school and my boss is officially Director of Information Systems but internally is known as the IT Manager which, I think would be more accurate for the role. He doesn't have anything to do with the MIS though, we have a Database Administrator for that.

    Additionally all the technicians and admins are officially 'Assistant technician/network administrator' but there's no one to assist....

    It's funny working in a school.

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    *waves* I'm a Director of IT at a state school . As others have said the roles both whole school strategic and technical. I don't know of many others in state schools (there are a few of us though!), but there do appear to be plenty in the independent sector.

  4. #19
    mmoseley's Avatar
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    I think they are few and far between! Would love that title though...

  5. #20

    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    My title was changed to Director of ICT as part of the recent Job Evaluation exercise in our LA. The job spec, pretty much matched what I was doing as a Network Manager beforehand anyway.

  6. #21

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    In 2006-7 I sat down with some folk in various Qangos, etc and we started to count how many "Director of IT" jobs there were out there being done by none-QTS for state schools, and how many were on SLT (either the core SLT of 4-5 people or the wide School Leadership group which might take in up to 12-15 people ... but not all HoDs, just folk with strategic roles in the schools) and we got to 22 (myself included). Across England!

    I am now seeing similar roles appearing in smaller Academy groups where there is a lead, strategic person who gives significant input to the other schools, but is still the IT Manager / Lead in one of the schools. A cynical person would laugh at how the role is quite similar to a shared IT lead such as you might see in a managed service part owned by the school, or even a BSF-role where it is partly customer services manager ...

    But we don't know that many cynical folk here.

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    I am Director of ILT (Information Learning Technologies) and work in a large further education college. My role is SMT and therefore also have other responsibilities which are not only IT related but my main responsibilities are Learning Technologies, Learning Resource Centres, Library, IT support and Network Services.
    Director of ILT/IT roles are very common in further education colleges as you donít necessarily need a QTS in colleges however having a good knowledge/experience of teaching helps.
    I previously worked as an IT Network Manager and Technician at two schools and would say the Director role is very different from that role as you are in an Assistant Head role and have fully accountability for IT along with other whole college/school issues.
    I personally feel that schools should have proper Director of ILT/IT roles at SMT or Assistant head level as commonly the SMT member who is accountable for IT does not have the knowledge or expertise to make the final decisions and overall strategy alignment. I donít think a QTS should matter because if that is the case then should it be a requirement that the SLT member accountable for IT should have an IT qualification.

  8. #23
    Gibbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulfish View Post
    *waves* I'm a Director of IT at a state school . As others have said the roles both whole school strategic and technical. I don't know of many others in state schools (there are a few of us though!), but there do appear to be plenty in the independent sector.
    Ditto. Its more about flying a desk and meetings, but it involves a higher degree of working with management, whereas in the past in regular IT Manager jobs I've been kept in the dark.

  9. #24

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    where there is a lead, strategic person who gives significant input to the other schools, but is still the IT Manager / Lead in one of the schools
    Surely that could be quite a good model if the strategic lead is at a secondary and the rest are feeder primaries though?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    But we don't know that many cynical folk here.
    Tehehehe...

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    my role feels more and more like this every day, i spend more time talking to people, balancing budgets and having meetings to discuss direction then i do actually sorting out the network. Have seen a few local primaries offering IT Operations managers and 1 Director of ICT services which when i read the JD match my rejigged network manager role... :-s

  11. #26

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    I suppose it depends if that's what you want. Do you feel more comfortable with the one side of things or the other - or would a fairly even balance be your ideal role?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    I suppose it depends if that's what you want. Do you feel more comfortable with the one side of things or the other - or would a fairly even balance be your ideal role?
    I feel happy doing both parts but wish they'd give me more time to tackle the aging network, as at the moment I feel like to much time is eaten up by meetings and phone calls and it doesn't leave enough to fix the big issues which are effecting the systems.

    Also would be nice if they listened to me occasionally and didn't purchase rubbish software at random and expect it to work but that's another issue...

    I'm raising the fact that I need to be full time rather than the 20hrs a week I'm contracted at the moment at my next pm meeting as most of last term I ended up doing 35hrs+ a week with no end in site in terms of fixing budget or it problems. The fact our neighbouring schools have done similar or created new full time posts has given me hope that our SLT might see sense and give me the time I need to sort out all of the issues.

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    I feel your pain.

    If you don't have an appropriately-sized/resourced team under you, then the arrangement only works well once you've got the network to a state where it will pretty much run itself day to day, with decent enough monitoring in place that you can be alerted to the majority of upsets automatically. I use Veeam ONE for this, with a separate monitor in my office showing the state of CPU/RAM/disk/network utilisation across the virtual infrastructure plus e-mail alerts for concerning scenarios. Automation through scripting or products like Impero covers the vast majority of daily operations. Comprehensive backup routines blended with onsite and offsite DR arrangements gives me peace of mind for most problems.

    Once you're in that scenario, the NM can be freed up to work at a more strategic level, but SLT ought to allow for the resources needed to get the system there first (either through more staff or streamlined technical structures) before putting him/her in that position. A strategic manager of any core resources also shouldn't be part-time as you say.

    Maybe there are examples of case studies, or other local schools, that you could use to highlight the ideal scenario you're trying to progress towards, then build it up into a plan of action over e.g. 3 years (Ofsted is looking more closely at multi-year planning now), including specimen costings, and ask for a presentation to the Governors to introduce it? You'd need to work in constant links back to enhancements to T&L for it to be taken seriously though, even if it's not directly a resource that enhances learning but just something as simple as "teachers are waiting too long for problems to be resolved and this is how we could rectify the problem". Many SLTs like it when departments will take proactive action to remedy potential issues on their own as then all they have to do is just rubber-stamp... =]
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 13th April 2013 at 04:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    Surely that could be quite a good model if the strategic lead is at a secondary and the rest are feeder primaries though?
    A comment from a friend who mainly works in primary (only lurks here for a variety of reasons) was why do Secondary NMs feel that they understand the primary arena which can have very different needs, be far more innovative and can also be better managed at a fraction of the cost.

    A strategic lead should be able to understand all areas they need to cover and from his experience there have been a few too many secondary schools (recent academy conversions) who are trying to persuade primary schools to sign up with them but who have no idea what makes a primary school tick. In the same way I have seen secondary heads take over an all-through school, do wonders with the secondary phase but make a massive mess of primary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    A comment from a friend who mainly works in primary (only lurks here for a variety of reasons) was why do Secondary NMs feel that they understand the primary arena which can have very different needs, be far more innovative and can also be better managed at a fraction of the cost.
    We have had this debate on edugeek before. There is a section of IT techs/NMs that regard primary as somehow simpler and dismiss the loan techs who run them as less innovative and skilled. In comparison with the medical world, Primary school techs are necessarily GPs; they are on their own and have to be reasonably good at everything and we really benefit from the specialist knowledge of others on edugeek on occasion. In secondary, the IT staff can develop specialisms as they usually work aspart of a team. Both sides need to think very carefully!

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