Network Manager - Alton Convent School
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.