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General Chat Thread, what challenges do you face when you starting a new school in General; I am going for an inteview and was asked to create a presentation on "What challenges do you think you ...
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    what challenges do you face when you starting a new school

    I am going for an inteview and was asked to create a presentation on "What challenges do you think you will have to overcome in the first term of the school opening and how can they be addressed?"

    These are just some of the things i have thought off, any ideas??
    Last edited by uffy2000; 21st April 2013 at 07:27 PM.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Documentation of existing system

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    The first term of a school opening:

    Ensuring that there is a clear problem reporting system in place, that all users understand and know how to use so that I can provide resolve early issues quickly.

    As it's a new school everyone will be unfamiliar with the new network and it's setup, so another challenge will be disseminating information to all staff so that they know how and where to get help. Perhaps setup an FAQ on the intranet? Or have some sort of blog on the intranet where you can record issues and their solutions as they crop up so that people can refer to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    The first term of a school opening:

    Ensuring that there is a clear problem reporting system in place, that all users understand and know how to use so that I can provide resolve early issues quickly.

    As it's a new school everyone will be unfamiliar with the new network and it's setup, so another challenge will be disseminating information to all staff so that they know how and where to get help. Perhaps setup an FAQ on the intranet? Or have some sort of blog on the intranet where you can record issues and their solutions as they crop up so that people can refer to them.
    I have dissemination of information in the list via a training session(s), 1 to 1's and a FAQ ands "how to's" thanks!

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    steve's Avatar
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    If all staff and students are new to the systems I'd also highlight some of the potential operation and logistic problems: Issuing new user names / password to all, knowing how and where to get help (email address, phone number, location), use of phone system, access control, catering systems, library systems, MIS, etc. The issuing out of any new equipment, keys etc. will all have to be managed.

    Maybe a series of intros to those systems for key people before the first day, multiple people having some knowledge of them. They'll need at least a week before term starts to get into the swing of things. A good structured induction to the new site is really needed, you don't want to be repeating the same thing a thousand times to each person. This followed up with access to the FAQs etc.

    A plan B - paper based instructions on how to do the really important stuff and a few of the basics. Where to get help how to get an outside line on the phones, key phone numbers and email addresses. A plan of the school will help too.

    If there are a lot of new staff or staff new to each other in a merger then maybe an introductions session, a photo sheet maybe.

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    thanks steve, inductions are a must and so is documentation, for any orginisation or infrastructure

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Issues I would face when started a new school

    Learning the infrastructure
    Documentation - what is there, what needs updating etc
    Helpdesk system
    remote desktop support (teamviewer for example)
    VPN for home access (hamachi is a reasonable program for smallscale VPN)

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    This isn't just starting a new school chaps. The school is new too, so there will be endless teething problems in the first term.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I realise that, however if you had no input in infrastructure, you need to learn what is there.
    2 new builds I have worked in have had 0 documentation yet another one has had complete documentation of all fibre installs, cat 6 cables etc

    The last 3 should be implemented pretty quickly

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    Gibbo's Avatar
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    You'll get a lot of "<previous manager> used to do this for me, or let me do this" .

    And +1 to the documentation. It'll either be missing or out of date!

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    It would be as if it is a fresh start for all, so the our old person did X is still valid, but documentation would probably be non-existant

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    Stream of consciousness ahead:


    Is it just the building that is new? Or are you new to post too? What about the rest of the team? Who designed the infrastructure (physical and software), and are they at your beck and call? What is the background to the rest of the staffing there? What did they have before, What are their expectations? Who signs off on the implementation?

    On a technical level: what software and hardware is in place. Is it 'stock' or has someone taken the time to patch it (i.e. enterprise hotfix rollup up for Windows 7, Exchange 2010 SP3, latest drivers and firmware, Office Cumulative Updates, Has AD been set up so that security groups and OU/GPO structure map well to organisational structure.) What training on new systems is in place for the staff?

    Assuming you are not in a position to control what you have in September and if those that do have control can't give you the answers to the above, I'd plan for a firefighting three months.

    Think about each operational process, make sure their is a way to effective record and review incidents, actions and decisions.
    Set up a triage system, with front line staff to receive queries and give basic fist line support.
    Have a triage team leader who allocates jobs to 2nd and third line as needed, and ensures that first line are documenting properly.
    Have a team who can roam around the building as directed by the co-ordinator of the first-line team
    Have a third line team who do the more complex stuff in with regard to infrastructure changes. - Make sure you've got a change control system. Set AM and PM change control meetings.
    Monitor second and third line work, and documentation.
    Have early morning team briefings.
    Analyse the nature of the work done at the end of the day,
    Have end of day briefings: jobs done, urgent feed back etc.
    Spend some time in the evening analysising work done, incident queue and general effectivenes of the approach. Prepare for AM the breifing and adjusting the work plan, as required.
    Make sure you report to senior management.


    Set up a weekly surgery, an open location where staff can just drop by in a friendly environment to discuss issues. Make sure you always follow up on the sessions.

    If you are going to have some control over implementation prior to September, then think through each system and process that your end users are going to interact with, and write a crib sheet for each one. Test them. Train your team on them. Water down the triage system from above, but be ready to ramp it up if things start to fall apart under load. Run the weekly surgery session what ever, it makes you approachable and heads of issues before they escalate out of control.


    GO TO THE PUB with everyone on the Fridays.


    List of things that you might benefit from drawing a system map of to identify potential problems:

    Boot (Power, Firmware, Config, Software Imaging, Network behaviour/performance/application deployment/updates, AD/Management settings)
    Logon (does the user import from the MIS work?/ AD/Management settings)
    Application Selection
    Application Launch
    Internet Access (paperwork!, connectivity, firewalls)
    Internet Filtering (filtering lists, access groups, authentication)
    Device Management (where is it?, what is it supposed to have configured on it?)
    Printing (drivers, access control, cost-centre accounting)
    IWB Connectivity
    Databases/MIS/Finance (integration between the two and also AD. Also client stability and start-up performance)
    Email (distribution lists, performamce, shared mailboxes and calendars)
    Shared Document Storage/Collaboration
    VLE
    IPTV
    Phones
    Photocopiers
    Access Control
    CCTV
    Classroom Management Software
    Cashless Systems/EPOS
    Library Management

    Lots there to think about.

    If you've got a blank slate, and the server infrastrucutre is in place and you are in a position to implement, test and get customer acceptance signatures for each of the services they want, plan for a slow roll out of the services (six-12 months would be a safe bet, unless you are going W8/Office 2013 in which case plan a 24 month roll out to be safe), keep things simple and set priorities agreed with SLT. A ground up new system is a huge thing, and it is going to be around for many years. There is no need to try to have it all ready from day one, unless people are moving across from a system that already does it all; in which case you've got a few weeks to plan, and four months to roll out each service, best of luck.

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