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  1. #1

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Network Manager - Alton Convent School

    Hello All,

    I'm moving on to a different school, so there's now a job opening at Alton Convent School, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1DD. The official advert reads:

    "We are seeking to appoint a skilled and innovative Network Manager. The network manager will be responsible for the day to day management of the school's ICT infrastructure, but will also have a key role in helping to take the school forward in its use of ICT to support and extend the education it offers.

    Salary according to qualifications and experience.

    Alton Convent School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Criminal Records Bureau.

    For further details and an application form please contact Mrs Pigott, enquiries@altonconvent.org.uk, or call 01420 82070."

    My own perspective:

    Alton Convent School is a private school, so there’s no BSF or local authority interference. The school takes children from 3 months old to 18 years old, so there’s a full spectrum of ages and learning requirements, with the senior school (11-16) and sixth form being girls-only. The school has few special needs requirements and the pupil’s behaviour is generally very good. You can get an overview of the school at Alton Convent School | Be the best you can be (that website is due to change shortly, which involves changing network connections and other fun stuff around, so don’t be surprised if it’s not there).

    Alton itself is a quiet, leafy commuter town 60-odd miles from London – a good train service runs to London Waterloo every half hour, taking about an hour and a quarter, and it should be perfectly feasible to commute in by train from Woking or south London.

    All the teaching staff at the school are friendly and competent – I have no stories of petty rivalries or dislike of support staff in my three-and-a-half years here. All our teaching staff are very, very good teachers. Their IT skills are around average for teachers – as the job advert above mentions, the ideal candidate would be able to improve staff’s IT skills as part of their remit.

    My role hasn’t involved managing a budget at all, but I don’t know exactly what the head envisages for my replacement – I’m employed as an “IT Network Technician”, the advert above reads “Network Manager”, so it might be that they imagine a more senior or leadership role for the right candidate. The day-to-day technical aspects of the job have been handled entirely by me, although I sometimes get some help during school holidays – you should probably expect to wind up doing pretty much everything IT-related.

    We are still planning what, exactly, we can afford to do over the summer by way of infrastructure and upgrades, but at a rough guess by September we will (hopefully) have something along the lines of:

    - Network wiring throughout the school
    - Fairly minimal and patchy wireless coverage, with one stand-alone Ruckus unit in the sixth form centre.
    - Two classrooms (senior IT, media suite) of Windows XP workstations.
    - Most other workstations around the school being thin-client based, running a customised, network-bootable version of Slax that connects to a Windows 2008 R2 TS server. The plan is to have the capacity to run web-browsing locally and just connect to the Windows servers to run MS Office, taking some load off the servers and stretching them a bit further, but we’ll do everything on the TS servers for now.
    - A Xen-based virtual server setup, with VMs mirrored between buildings for fail-over.
    - Linux-based file server and backup file server.
    - Moodle server on internal server, web server on an external host somewhere.
    - SIMS server, dedicated TS machine for running SIMS clients.

    The main requirement, I guess, is for someone reasonably bright who knows how to figure things out – I’ve tended to use whatever systems and equipment came to hand at the time to get as much as possible on a limited budget, so some parts of our system might seem a little odd at first, but there’s generally a good(ish…) reason why things are as they are.

    Despite what you might think, private schools are not rolling in money – if you overspend you go bust and there’s no LA to bail you out, and there’s no dedicated pots of money put aside for ICT. On the other hand, you are pretty much free to do stuff as you jolly well please, subject to the head's / bursar’s approval.

    Salary isn’t mentioned in the advert above, but I’ve been told somewhere around £25,000 - £30,000 per year (this is a full-time post, you work year round), depending on the candidate's skills and experience.

    As mentioned, please contact the school if you want an application form, please don’t send CVs or whatever to me, but by all means ask questions in this forum or by PM.

    --
    David Hicks
    Last edited by dhicks; 14th July 2010 at 04:24 PM.

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    IanT's Avatar
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    What place u going onto mate?

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    Strangely I'm looking to move to Alton, and I already work at a Catholic institution!

    If it'd had been a few (well okay - quite a few!) years ago I'd have jumped at a position like this, I'm not sure I could work in a school now, I much prefer working in HE.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nadeem View Post
    Strangely I'm looking to move to Alton, and I already work at a Catholic institution!
    Hey, we're practically swapping - I'm going to be working at Knightsbridge School. My rented flat in Alton is available, too, if you're looking for accomodation in Alton.

    I'm not sure I could work in a school now, I much prefer working in HE.
    It's a really nice job here - nice staff, nice children, and you have a fair bit of freedom in how you get stuff done.

    --
    David Hicks

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Good luck David!

    Chris

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    What sort of scale are we talking about, I know you said according to experience, but there must be a rough figure?

    Edit: Can you PM me is you dont want it on here please?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold View Post
    What sort of scale are we talking about, I know you said according to experience, but there must be a rough figure?
    Roughly, somewhere between £25,000 and £30,000 per year. I don't know exactly what specific skills or experience would merit a higher wage - I would vaugly guess some sort of experience of SIMS might come in handy, or at least previous experience of a school environment. We are a private school, the job isn't linked to a wage scale as such, they simply offer whatever wage they think is appropriate.

    --
    David Hicks

  8. Thanks to dhicks from:

    penfold (15th July 2010)

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    Sorry, just re-read your OP and realised the salary is in there. Just went straight to website and then missed the wage. I'm having a bad day

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    Hmm, would be very interested in this. Could you PM me what house prices are like around there please? About one and a half hours commute from here so I would be looking at moving if it happened.

    Thanks

  11. #10

    dhicks's Avatar
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    I've just got the official job description through:

    ALTON CONVENT SCHOOL
    Network Manager

    Alton Convent School is seeking to appoint a network manager, to take responsibility for the day to day management and maintenance of the school’s computer networks, to provide technical support to staff and pupils, assist with hands-on training, and contribute to decisions on the development of ICT within the school. Applicants must be committed to prioritizing the needs of learning, teaching, administration and management over technological aspects, and seeking the best possible return on investment. Some experience with SIMS and/or of the education sector would be an advantage. For candidates with vision and creativity this post offers considerable scope to explore innovative ways of delivering cutting-edge provision for ICT.

    The School
    Alton Convent School is an independent Catholic day school, accredited by the Independent Schools’ Association, which welcomes pupils of all denominations and faiths. There are approximately 300 girls on roll in the senior school, and a further 200 boys and girls in the prep school and Nursery Departments. The school is committed to achieving academic excellence and to providing a safe, stimulating environment with a strong Christian ethos, and is a vibrant and supportive workplace.

    The school's current IT infrastructure includes a school-wide wired network and two air-conditioned server cupboards containing 12 physical servers, some of which use the Xen virtualisation system to run multiple virtual machines. There are three dedicated IT rooms around the school, two of which run Windows XP workstations and one which runs thin client machines. There are assorted other workstations around the school, including in classrooms and in sixth form study rooms, to a total of around 150 workstations. Printing is mostly handled in-house on HP laser and inkjet machines, although there are also some larger multi-function devices handled by an external company. The school has three incoming ADSL lines, two of which are combined via a load-balancing firewall. Internet filtering is handled by a Smoothwall virtual machine. VLE provision is via a local install of Moodle, the school website is hosted externally. The Windows Domain Controller is a Windows Server 2008 virtual machine, as is the SIMS server and Windows applications server. The Windows print server is a Windows Server 2003 machine, all other virtual machines are Linux based - mostly Debian or Ubuntu. The physical servers that run virtual machines all currently run CentOS.

    Job Description
    The ICT Network Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the school’s network and associated infrastructure. The ICT Network Manager will work closely with the Bursar and Head of ICT to plan and implement strategic development of ICT within the school and will participate in the ICT management group.

    The duties will include:

    Day-to-Day Management
    • The development, oversight and upkeep of all ICT facilities and computer network systems within the school, offering a rapid response to ensure all systems are able to function efficiently, safely and effectively, in order to support the effective delivery of the school’s curriculum and its administration.
    • Check the system daily for required updates and patches (including virus definitions).
    • To become familiar with and manage the day to day running of the network, including the servers, providing first line technical support and maintenance, and arranging for additional support as required.
    • Design and implement the school's backup, virus protection and security procedures, with reference to protecting hardware, data and confidential information, in line with school policies and with the school’s educational aims in view.
    • To ensure that printers are maintained with adequate supplies of toner and ink.
    • To check for any obvious faults with equipment and to record faults found.
    • To undertake minor repairs to equipment, and arrange for major repairs in consultation with the Bursar.
    • To log faults with external agencies where appropriate and actively to monitor them until their successful resolution.
    • To maintain an inventory of software and hardware; and ensure compliance with licence conditions.
    • Move and set up equipment where appropriate.
    • Clean equipment and work benches where necessary.
    • To order stock when required.
    • Deal with internal and external phone calls, faxes and e-mails relating to the computing infrastructure.
    • To undertake daily maintenance tasks for SIMS, liaise with the suppliers and provide first line technical support.
    • To create users as required, taking care to set appropriate access permissions, and monitor usage in line with relevant school policies.
    • To assist the head of the prep department in the management and maintenance of the school web server(s).
    • To assist with the delivery of ICT focussed CPD for staff, including the identification of
    • specific needs and opportunities.
    • To assist staff and pupils where appropriate with applications training.
    • To assist in the supervision of the main and prep school ICT rooms during non-teaching time.


    Strategic Management
    • To develop the network in accordance with the needs of the school for learning, teaching and administration purposes in consultation with the Bursar and the Headmistress.
    • Decision making in consultation with the Bursar and the Headmistress on the most cost-effective way of developing and deploying infrastructure, hardware and software at the school, ensuring value for money in all procurement.
    • In conjunction with the Bursar develop ICT strategically within the school.
    • To work closely with senior school ICT teachers and the prep school ICT coordinator to support, deliver and extend the school’s ICT curriculum.
    • To encourage innovative use of computing to support and extend the curriculum.
    • To prepare reports for SLT and the Governing Body, as requested.
    • In conjunction with the Bursar and Deputy Head (Academic) support and develop the use of software to aid record-keeping and assessment.
    • Implementation of relevant whole-school policies, including data protection and
    • confidentiality.
    • To assist in the specification of new infrastructure, hardware and software.
    • To develop working relationships with core suppliers and/or participate in open source projects as appropriate.
    • To ensure that legal and contractual obligations relating to ICT resources, systems and services are met.
    • To keep up-to-date on current ICT developments in education and more generally, participating in professional networks and communities as appropriate.
    • To undertake own CPD as required, and participate in annual professional development
    • reviews.
    • In consultation with the Bursar and Headmistress agreed service levels and to report on and monitor progress against agreed these; review contractual arrangements and address suboptimalities.


    Liaison
    • To liaise with members of the whole school teaching and administrative staff
    • To attend meetings as required
    • To attend INSET meetings and courses as required
    • To develop working relationships with core suppliers and/or participate in open source projects as appropriate
    • To undertake own CPD as required, and participate in annual professional development
    • reviews

    General Role
    To ensure all equipment is in a safe condition, complying with Health & Safety regulations and ready for use by staff and pupils

    Other Responsibilities
    • To work as part of a team
    • To undertake any other duties a deemed appropriate by the Bursar and the Headmistress


    Contract
    Hours: The successful candidate will be available during the school working day This is a full time position, 52 weeks a year position with 5 weeks and 3 days.

    Salary: Dependent on qualifications and experience, but a figure in the region of £25,000-£30,000 is anticipated.

    Conditions: Alton Convent School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Criminal Records Bureau. Alton Convent School is an equal opportunities employer

    July 2010

    --
    David Hicks
    Last edited by dhicks; 16th July 2010 at 01:36 PM.

  12. #11

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Also, I have just been told that the interview date is "10th or 11th of August" and that the start date is simply "as soon as possible". I officially start at Knightsbridge right at the end of August, but it might be that I come in for a couple of days for some kind of hand-over, and I should be available via email, Skype, phone, etc., for any questions.

    --
    David Hicks

  13. #12

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Sorry, realised I'd forgotten about the apply-by date: please get any applications in by Friday, 30th of July, 2010.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Good luck at knightsbridge - hope the transition is smooth

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    Isn't Alton Convent Miles Berry's school?

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    Have many people applied for this? Sent my forms off last night so fingers crossed

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