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General Chat Thread, How do you plan your school IT provision since Becta has gone? in General; A thought, or rather a question, occurred to me last night, and whilst this question is primarily UK centric it ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    How do you plan your school IT provision since Becta has gone?

    A thought, or rather a question, occurred to me last night, and whilst this question is primarily UK centric it will have relevance in a global context. And the question is this:

    Since the demise of Becta - the UK govt organisation that provided the standards/rules such as the computer-pupil-ratio to ensure that all schools met a required standard - what are schools doing now to ensure their IT provision is meeting the schools needs?

    Are you still using the Becta standards, or are you now planning to meet the needs of the curriculum and/or admin systems? Are you still even using the computer-to-pupil ratio? Is it technology that is now pushing you such as electronic registers and cashless catering? Do fads push you down the wrong route and swallow up time and budgets unnecessarily? Or is it some other factor entirely?
    So please put my mind at rest and let us all know what it is you now do to ensure that the IT in your school meets the demand of the staff, pupils and curriculum demands, and what new challenges are you now facing since Becta is no longer there to give guidance.

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    CESIL's Avatar
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    Personally I am trying to get our SLT and other staff to get together and talk about what they want from ICT in the future.

    The hardest part is to get them to stop seeing the provision of IT services as just part of ICT as a subject. They need to start considering IT provision as more like gas, electricity and other utilities in that it is now so necessary for the running of the school.

    What I am trying very hard to avoid is snap decisions to buy ever more varied shiny stuff that they have decided "all other" schools are using.!

    If I am honest I would love some independent body to give me guidance on what technologies I should be investing in as even my LEA will only push their solutions just as any respectable salesman (an oxymoron?) would do.

    The thing that gets me down is that if I hold them back to try and get the best solution then I am seen as blocking progress...whereas if I go with their snap decisions I risk being criticized for wasting money...the trick is therefore to make sure any purchasing decision is theirs and not mine but still get the right gear.

  3. 2 Thanks to CESIL:

    adhutton (21st May 2013), jumpinjamez (21st May 2013)

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Provision here is largely driven by what the staff ask for (for better or worse). If the IT labs are always full, we expand resources. There is some temperance of that based on what the IT steering group think will actually get used (rather than staff just asking for the moon on a stick), but computer numbers have never been a big issue for us. Even in my last school, when Becta was still around, we never really paid much attention to suggested ratios, we just looked at demand vs supply.

    The biggest problem is getting SMT to pay attention to the stuff that staff DON'T make a fuss about about: e-safety, legal compliance, etc. Without Becta there is no official guidance on e-safety in particular, so SMT are only concerned with as much of it as is inspected. With Ofsted, that means some of it gets done. With ISI: none of it.

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    To be honest we didn't say attention to it anyway. Its business as usual here.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Agree with FN-GM. What I'm doing now is exactly the same as what I was going when they were alive!
    If anything, I have more freedom to ensure that plans ARE school-specific instead of running in to opposition quoting BECTA 'guidelines' which were often watered down/generalised to attempt to fit the needs of 'all'.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    We go by what the school needs - Becta was a good place for guidance but it was never treated as definitive.

    There does appear to be an increase in 'ooh shiny' in education ICT since Becta went through the pearly gates, but on the most part it is being handled by consistently highlighting the lack of integration into the curriculum with such things, and using terms like "putting the cart before the horse".

    So, realistically, we're carrying on as normal here, and I use Edugeek to get a more general feel for ICT, whilst my boss gets her general view from her Bursar's meetings with other schools.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    To be honest we didn't say attention to it anyway. Its business as usual here.
    This, and

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We go by what the school needs - Becta was a good place for guidance but it was never treated as definitive.
    This

    Our biggest problem at the moment is the head and SLT putting together a definitive school action plan that we can plan ICT against...

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=AngryTechnician;972276]Provision here is largely driven by what the staff ask for (for better or worse). If the IT labs are always full, we expand resources. There is some temperance of that based on what the IT steering group think will actually get used (rather than staff just asking for the moon on a stick), but computer numbers have never been a big issue for us. Even in my last school, when Becta was still around, we never really paid much attention to suggested ratios, we just looked at demand vs supply.[/quote
    Sort of the same here, though budget and physical space is the deciding factor here. The school is bursting at the seams... so much for the recession reducing private school numbers. We no longer have an IT suite as the room was needed and have two banks of laptops instead, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    The biggest problem is getting SMT to pay attention to the stuff that staff DON'T make a fuss about about: e-safety, legal compliance, etc. Without Becta there is no official guidance on e-safety in particular, so SMT are only concerned with as much of it as is inspected. With Ofsted, that means some of it gets done. With ISI: none of it.
    I think we ahead of you on this one, if only because I am a CEOP ambassador and always banging on about eSafety, DPA, etc. The HT does listen, despite ISI, but needs rather too regular reminders.

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    99% of the people here didn't take any notice of BECTA, or at least cherry picked the bits that suited them.

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    Ditto, I never really referred to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CESIL View Post
    Personally I am trying to get our SLT and other staff to get together and talk about what they want from ICT in the future.

    The hardest part is to get them to stop seeing the provision of IT services as just part of ICT as a subject. They need to start considering IT provision as more like gas, electricity and other utilities in that it is now so necessary for the running of the school.

    What I am trying very hard to avoid is snap decisions to buy ever more varied shiny stuff that they have decided "all other" schools are using.!

    If I am honest I would love some independent body to give me guidance on what technologies I should be investing in as even my LEA will only push their solutions just as any respectable salesman (an oxymoron?) would do.

    The thing that gets me down is that if I hold them back to try and get the best solution then I am seen as blocking progress...whereas if I go with their snap decisions I risk being criticized for wasting money...the trick is therefore to make sure any purchasing decision is theirs and not mine but still get the right gear.
    So this.

    I am starting to sound like a grump giving reasons why that shiny new tech yoou use at home is not ideal for school.

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    catshilllearning's Avatar
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    The biggest issue for my schools is the move to more flexible solutions such as laptops, tablets and the like. I am therefore recommending a good look at infrastructure especially Wifi which in too many cases is unable to cope with 30+ connections. Then of course there is BYOD and here it is fair to say that we are unconvinced...

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    Quote Originally Posted by catshilllearning View Post
    The biggest issue for my schools is the move to more flexible solutions such as laptops, tablets and the like. I am therefore recommending a good look at infrastructure especially Wifi which in too many cases is unable to cope with 30+ connections. Then of course there is BYOD and here it is fair to say that we are unconvinced...
    If you follow Becta's technical specifications for institutional infrastructure you won't go far wrong.
    We did when it came out (in 2005) and BYOD was a breeze because everything was pretty much setup for it. It was in a large part because we took the open standards parts seriously.

    Here's a link: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.g...on_d_final.odt

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post

    I think we ahead of you on this one, if only because I am a CEOP ambassador and always banging on about eSafety, DPA, etc. The HT does listen, despite ISI, but needs rather too regular reminders.

    Our Head asked me how we were getting on with implementing what I said needed to be done re data protection today.

    Totally

    Unprompted

    Last edited by jmak; 21st May 2013 at 08:39 PM.

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    catshilllearning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    If you follow Becta's technical specifications for institutional infrastructure you won't go far wrong.
    We did when it came out (in 2005) and BYOD was a breeze because everything was pretty much setup for it. It was in a large part because we took the open standards parts seriously.

    Here's a link: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.g...on_d_final.odt
    Unfortunately these specs have not helped some of my schools that used accredited providers and found that what they ended up with in no way matched what was promised. That is not a criticism of the specs but the reality is that having a high specification can never be a guarantee.

    One of the core issues is the practical viability of BYOD. Most of my schools have had bad experiences of pupils taking machines home and bringing them back into school. At the moment I am looking to run a pilot using low cost Android tablets but even then I realise that keyboardless computers are not going to work in all situations.



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