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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    Question WHERE DO YOU GO FOR free downloadable advice

    Hi
    I am on the Holy Grail on our schools IT, new sheet, blue sky. Been doing a lot of background research in my spare time. Being a governor it not my full time job.
    Anyone know of any sources of free downloadable papers on overall IT strategy scoping and /or ITTs to service providers and suppliers for school software and hardware. Don’t want to reinvent a wheel if i can help it.
    thks
    cocker
    PS happy to donate a small amount to any preferred children’s charities for any particularly relevant individual stuff offered


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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Just for clarification, what type of school is this? I would expect an academy to have a Finance director in post early on with experience of tender and procurement. (I am an academy governor so am all too well aware aware of the need for governors to be strategic rather than operational, but it is hard)

    Looking at your question again, do you need to documentation on what the school needs to consider for its IT provision? I am just trying to clarify in my own mind exactly what you are looking for so that we can best help you.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 5th May 2013 at 10:16 AM.

  3. Thanks to elsiegee40 from:

    Cockneyrebel (5th May 2013)

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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    Hi
    Thanks for this.Our school is an Academy that converted in 2012.We have a "finance director"whos good, but we have not for sometime as a school looked to revamp radically our IT.I suppose its what as a governor should the school have /need strategically on IT............overall.Following on from that assuming we need some partners how best to get them.
    As always you are only as good as your experience.f you have not had to ,or been part of an IT tender process,whilst you might know how to procure generally ,might help if you don't make any mistakes that can be avoided.Thus the reason for the post
    thks again

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Have you considered hiring a Network Manager or looking internally at your NM. They have a vested interest in making the system work well as they have to deal with it every day and will generally want to do the best with the money available. Going to an external provider may end up costing a lot more in the end as their main goal is usually separating the school from as much money as they can without a fraud complaint being laid against them.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    You need to start from the point of view of Teaching and Learning. Revamping anything isn't about shiny and cutting edge, it's about what will ensure that the students make best possible progress within the curriculum offer. Obviously, support functions need to be able to operate efficiently too and the whole strategy needs a joined up approach to avoid duplication of effort.

    Do you have a Network Manager in place? They should be the one doing the planning in consultation with the SLT. Key factors to be aware of are things like Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 going out of support next year and the need to move onto newer equipement to use newer versions of these products.

    The governors need to buy into the process and should be challenging it through the school's 5 year plan in my view. As part of the planning process, which governors are supposed to be involved with according to ofsted, you also need to consider whether it is better for your school to purchase or to lease equipment.

    I recommend the UK Governors forum for discussing this type of issue from a governance point of view. There are some very knowledgable people on there http://forums.ukgovernors.org.uk/forum.php

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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    thks for this.Any decision to outsource would not be taken lightly ,as we know going out don't always work.[2012, security,games ], The intention being to get a spectrum of advice.One person can only give as good as he knows and sometimes will not have had the chance to experience some varying systems.
    Public and private sectors have some different ways of working and want to get the best of both worlds
    thks again

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    My comment here is that you have an outcome already in mind - 'revamped IT' but haven't mentioned what exactly the school needs.

    I'd be starting from a different angle personally - look at what the school is aiming to achieve through its teaching and learning, and then look at how IT could support that. Say, for example, you want to encourage independent learning. You could look at it in multiple ways - provide out of 'normal hours' IT access in IT suites designed for the purpose (not rows of computers, but more like university layouts in libraries). Or you could go down the route of 1:1 provision. Or maybe you look at BYOD. But these sorts of ideas would then be balances against the other aims of the school. You can then take those ideas, and get them costed up and compare them according to the outcomes you wish to achieve and see which direction would be best value.

    It isn't, from my view, a governor's place to be getting involved with recommending suppliers or talking about outsourcing - these are things the people employed by the school should be doing. The Network Manager, Finance Director, and Head Teacher. Maybe an IT steering group etc... Governors are, in my view, an oversight body - there to question and challenge the decisions made internally. To ensure good decisions are being made, but not to be making those decisions themselves.

    That is not to say that governors should not be giving advice based on their own experiences, but from your original post, you're indicating that you don't have relevant experience here and are looking for external input. Rather than do this, why not speak to the people I mentioned above and see what they can come up with?

    Finally - the entire concept of 'revamping radically' any aspect of a school requires dedication from all involved. Forcing such change on staff can and will cause such projects to backfire spectacularly as they dig their heels in and refuse to adapt.

    Such things have been tried before - eg. schools that bought into the PDA for every child fad that existed a few years ago and then found themselves not using them due to teachers being unwilling to adapt their method of teaching, due to technical issues, due to lack of integration into the curriculum etc...

    So basically, tread carefully.

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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    Thumbs up GOT SOME GOOD ADVICE FORUMS WORK

    Thanks for this good advice which I shall take. A few comments below

    I'd be starting from a different angle personally - look at what the school is aiming to achieve through its teaching and learning, and then look at how IT could support that. Say, for example, you want to encourage independent learning. You could look at it in multiple ways - provide out of 'normal hours' IT access in IT suites designed for the purpose (not rows of computers, but more like university layouts in libraries). Or you could go down the route of 1:1 provision. Or maybe you look at BYOD. But these sorts of ideas would then be balances against the other aims of the school. You can then take those ideas, and get them costed up and compare them according to the outcomes you wish to achieve and see which direction would be best value. Thanks very much, I’m hoping the SLT and teaching staff will put forward their views and recommendations on these points

    It isn't, from my view, a governor's place to be getting involved with recommending suppliers or talking about outsourcing - these are things the people employed by the school should be doing. Agree 100% The Network Manager, Finance Director, and Head Teacher.If they have never been involved in such a process before,[the LEA previously did everything] then the is a danger, would rather know what type of issues the process should involve. Also if you had your time again what you might do differently. Sometimes you can make a strategic decision ,leave the detail to be dealt with, then find your being pushed into making a decision because “time is of the essence”, but not feeling that with hindsight all the right avenues have been explored. Maybe an IT steering group etc... Governors are, in my view, an oversight body - there to question and challenge the decisions made internally. Agree To ensure good decisions are being made, but not to be making those decisions themselves. Spot on

    That is not to say that governors should not be giving advice based on their own experiences, but from your original post, you're indicating that you don't have relevant experience here and are looking for external input. Yep 30 years of procurement in non-education, private not public sector but never on IT Rather than do this, why not speak to the people I mentioned above and see what they can come up with? Have done and to date not anything coordinated has resulted. Also of course it doesn’t follow that just because a Head is appointed because they are a good teacher, people manager that IT is one of their strengths. Still once again thanks for all the very useful feedback

    Finally - the entire concept of 'revamping radically' any aspect of a school requires dedication from all involved. Forcing such change on staff can and will cause such projects to backfire spectacularly as they dig their heels in and refuse to adapt. You are so right. It is also a shame that some of the older teachers who are very good at teaching [e.g. get their sets good exam results, students like them etc{{ however you define a good teacher}}]have to spend endless hours out of normal hours cause they have to do vast amounts of paperwork manually cause they have never had the chance to learn more about IT.
    Having said that I was responsible for a business transition which lent itself to saving shed loads by going paperless. The staff waxed lyrically about the fact that it could not be done the files were the life of the business even though most were print offs of e mails, with all the previous ones printed again for good measure ,and as is usual became defensive and channelled all their energy into coming up with reasons why not to change. As well as one or two “the problem is” who had this as a stock answer to nearly every request. The CEO said well how are we going to proceed, his customers said they would welcome it, his suppliers –do anything to keep the business. So he sealed the letterbox, got the post what little these was re directed to the Head of admins home. On a Monday the staff came in threw a few wobbles, extensive smoking, moaning then by the end of the week, the new Docosoft e filing system was the best thing ever ,why hadn’t someone installed it before and the rest you can guess. Turnover went up 30%, costs dropped by 10%.

    Such things have been tried before - eg. schools that bought into the PDA for every child fad that existed a few years ago and then found themselves not using them due to teachers being unwilling to adapt their method of teaching, due to technical issues, due to lack of integration into the curriculum etc...Interesting given the learners,pupils,students are the ones who will have to use any hand helds etc I am a great believer in consulting them, not being led by them but certainly listening to them. Buying 800 iPads
    Cause that’s what “they want”o well,finding them all in a cupboard 3 months later priceless. For everything else there is Masterclass

    So basically, tread carefully.Egg shells thanks again

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