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General Chat Thread, eduGeeks and Governors in General; Just my two cents: Decisions should be made with a teaching and learning focus, i.e. we cant just go out ...
  1. #16

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Just my two cents:

    Decisions should be made with a teaching and learning focus, i.e. we cant just go out and buy something because we want to play with it, BUT just because we suggest something or are against something else doesnt mean we are trying to hinder or not considering T&L.

    We've had problems here with staff buying software, bringing it to us and then us telling them it wont work. Their response: "But it does everything i want and it says it works with Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and ME; surely it will work with XP" - As far as i'm concerned if a program lists the recommended machine spec processor in MHz steer well clear!

    All too often decisions are made without consultation with us geeks, yet its us who have to pick up the pieces, deal with the installation, expected to reduce network security because some crappy program requires all users to be administrators, or have access to the root of c;

    Ok, now i'll be a bit more positive, it seems to be happening less frequently. More often than not SLT will ask us to spec something up, or how can they acheive something through ICT. The main stumbling block now though is the cost. In education we recieve fantastic discounts, but most of us are given small budgets and for bigger projects we have to jump through a number of hoops, write proposals, costings, include research, etc. to push a decision through. Rather than accept our opinion people would rather make their own minds up, all well and good, but they use our research (which we could fiddle to support our argument if we wanted) to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crispness
    My take is that implementing ICT systems in schools is no different to implementing them in other businesses. Just give the eduGeeks the specs, the money and the time and tell you to get on with it.
    I wish they would give us the time and money to do this!

  2. #17
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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    I have come in to this a little late so forgive me for that as I am going to go back a step to the original question.

    Just give the eduGeeks the specs, the money and the time and tell you to get on with it.
    In an ideal world yes, and it is as simple as that except - even the best edugeeks do not always have an understanding of what the SMT of the school need the MIS system to do. The process flows, the reports required etc. And with any MIS it is the process flows and the output that define the setup of a system.

    This is further complicated by the fact there is another master - and this is where any problems get highlighted - and that is the DfES who want data form the MIS, the annual census and then other lesser extracts done by the LEA etc. This means that every single MIS in every single school in the UK has to talk the same language - this is where it is not the same is industry where at worst a handfull of companies in the same group need to communicate.

    Onto the follow up - only a few years ago it was not common practice to have a full time technical manager in a school - almost every school gave this responiblity to the Subject Head of ICT (aka ICT Co-ordinator) who had technicians answering to them.

    This practice is now largely eradicated (although more slowly in Primary schools) and the next manifistation of the post is beginning to head towards the management level. I, for example, have responsibility for my own £60k worth of budgets plus am the main guide for spending another £160k+ of budgets annually (and I do not want the safeguard of SMT signing these budgets off removed).

    In most situations I am also considered to be an equal to a head of department - and in some situations higher.

    IT in education is still very young, yet the teaching profession has long standing practices that will not change over night.

    How many of your SMT had IT when they were at school, or even when they were NQT's or middle managers?

  3. #18

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    Dont get me wrong - I have a very good working relationship with SMT - and I've driven things forward considerably since I have been here. But I dont feel valued.

    As for the Govenors question - in the 6 years I have been here I have not once had a meeting with any of the govenors. I have no idea what they do here to be honest. They probably have no idea what I do either!
    Have you ever brought this up with your line manager or the head? Also, is your school an 'Investor in People'? (I know, it is a laughable scheme!).

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by alan-d

    Basic IT skills for all teachers should be compulsory
    well said.

    we are a bsf pathfinder school and we are comming up with the same problems. we have a hell of a lot of new equipment comming into the school and if we are not carefull it won't be used!

    as for buying and spec'ing equipment we are pretty much left to it, which is good. we always try and have a long testing period to iron out the bugs and then make the descisions within our team.

    smt only get involed on the curriculum side of things really, and then its just a vague description of what they want to achive. genrally we lead the development.

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    Dont get me wrong - I have a very good working relationship with SMT - and I've driven things forward considerably since I have been here. But I dont feel valued.

    As for the Govenors question - in the 6 years I have been here I have not once had a meeting with any of the govenors. I have no idea what they do here to be honest. They probably have no idea what I do either!
    Have you ever brought this up with your line manager or the head? Also, is your school an 'Investor in People'? (I know, it is a laughable scheme!).
    No - I have not brought it up before, and Yes we are of course an investor in people whatever that means :twisted:

    Andrew

  6. #21

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    @butuz, you should bring it up then! You don't get things without asking in education... Or you could do what a teacher would do, become all stroppy and start ranting?

    Investors in People just seems like a complete waste of space - what does it actually mean??

  7. #22

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    I am a governor of two schools and I work in two schools (not the same ones!). In my experience it is definitely a problem with SMT not understanding IT, even though all teachers have done the basic training. In one of my 'governor' schools, the head knows that she isn't that IT literate, and she ALWAYS gets the very good tech in to discuss, with SMT, any new purchases, which is great. So, as a governor, I don't have a lot to do with any IT stuff.
    At my other governed school, which is a big comprehensive, there is a very good IT dept and ICT co ordinator so again, no real problems.
    At the two schools I work in, however, the story is different. In one, I do have some contact with the IT governor, who does know his stuff, but they still go away and decide on stuff without telling/consulting me. They did leave me to spec up the new IT suite though, so maybe they do believe that I know what I am doing.
    My other school is a complete nightmare. The head is completely IT illiterate, and doesn't see the point of it either, and he listens, not to the IT co ordinator, who knows her limitations and would consult me, but to the deputy head who has some knowledge but not as much as he thinks he has. The upshot is that the governors don't get a look in, and we end up with equipment appearing out of nowhere!
    I don't understand why a school pays someone they must believe has some sort of technical knowledge, and then doesn't use it!
    Also, in a school pyramid, the junior schools should liase with the high schools to discuss equipment, as it is very likely that the bigger school will have a) more technical staff
    and b) will probably have tried a lot of equipment and come up with the best scenario
    and c) the junior school need to know what the high school uses so that the children's transition from one school to the other is made easier.

  8. #23
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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    Quote Originally Posted by russdev
    But also there needs to be direct mandate from DFES to forbid practice that be a member of senior staff you need to be a teacher. This in my view is only way that the crisis of lack of senior support staff can be avoided.

    Russell
    Agree with that mate - if you look at what we do, It's probably one of the most important jobs in the school. I am not allowed to be SMT even though I believe I should be - I make whole school decisions every day of the week that affect 100 teachers and 1000 pupils but there is no real reward.

    I am not allowed to control the ICT budget as a whole because I am not SMT - and yet I am by far the most qualified person to hold it. Money has been wasted over the years because of this - and I have to go crawling to SMT to get my order for 50 network cables signed.

    Dont get me wrong - I have a very good working relationship with SMT - and I've driven things forward considerably since I have been here. But I dont feel valued.

    As for the Govenors question - in the 6 years I have been here I have not once had a meeting with any of the govenors. I have no idea what they do here to be honest. They probably have no idea what I do either!

    Andrew


    Are we working at the same school?

    Exactly the same for me here.

  9. #24

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by limbo
    I have come in to this a little late so forgive me for that as I am going to go back a step to the original question.
    Thats ok

    In an ideal world yes, and it is as simple as that except - even the best edugeeks do not always have an understanding of what the SMT of the school need the MIS system to do. The process flows, the reports required etc. And with any MIS it is the process flows and the output that define the setup of a system.

    This is further complicated by the fact there is another master - and this is where any problems get highlighted - and that is the DfES who want data form the MIS, the annual census and then other lesser extracts done by the LEA etc. This means that every single MIS in every single school in the UK has to talk the same language - this is where it is not the same is industry where at worst a handfull of companies in the same group need to communicate.
    But then that is our job to go and learn what is needed and to be fair I do know what SMT need from MIS but that is I went learnt it.

    I agree in part ICT should be whole school issue but bigger issue is SMT listening to people who have more knowledge then they do.

    How many of your SMT had IT when they were at school, or even when they were NQT's or middle managers?
    Agree but then that is where SMT need to consultant the people who do know and take advice...


    Russell

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Good SMTs devolve leadership of issues that they do not have the skills for.

    That might be to other SMT members or to specific staff in schools ... but remember that sometimes the right decision is not made because SMT have to play one thing off against another ... not nice or pleasant but a fact of life.

    TeamSLICT can be quite good for showing this and the SRF materials all talk about a group of people working together to drive the ICT Strategy.

    No single person has all the answers ... not even me ;-)

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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    Quote Originally Posted by russdev
    ICT should be whole school issue but bigger issue is aSMT listening to people who have more knowledge then they do.
    Absolutely - and that is the trick. The less SMT understand about IT the easier they think it is for an "expert" to "just sort it" - the more involved / interested they are the more they realise that there are many different strands to a solution - hardware, software, training, data flows etc.

    An IT solution such as a new MIS is not down to one person in a school - it needs a team of people involved. Sometimes these teams should be led by SMT and sometimes it should be delegated to the technical person.

  12. #27
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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    I'm a staff governor at my school, not that it's really helped at all with anything to do with IT, I've had more involvement when a governor is involved in the procurement process and I present the alternatives.

    Things are quite bad at present, which is down to leadership style I think. In the past we've had it very good, with a lot of communication going on, although of course there are always those requests plucked out of that pie up there somewhere.

    As a governor, I'm on the only committee that has never met in 2 years at least - the Communications Group!

    I don't understand why a school pays someone they must believe has some sort of technical knowledge, and then doesn't use it!
    Here here!

  13. #28
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    Re: eduGeeks and Governors

    I've worked in two schools in the past year, both full time. The first was excellent, all new staff were introduced to the governors at an informal meeting and the IT and chair of governors would regularly come and see us and ask questions. We had one advantage in that we reported directly to a deputy head that was not afraid of saying no we won't do this until we (the IT team) have looked thoroughly at it.

    Also as someone mentioned earlier having a good relationship with the procurement team meant that any orders for IT based kit would not be put through unless it was counter signed by IT.

    It all worked well and every department ended coming to us first, which meant we could advise them on the best way to spend their budget on IT and even get departments to work together and get better deals from suppliers.

    My new school could be more different, the word no from IT send some members of staff crying (yes I do mean real tears) to the head and then us being TOLD that they get what they want, in the end it didn't work as circumstances changed and the teacher changed jobs and didn't care anymore! So we didn't do it.

    What got me was that we weren't asked as to why we couldn't/wouldn't do it!

    As for the governors, not seen or heard from any of them. We also report to the 'Director' of ICT, can't see the sense in that. We have to explain everything to them in layman’s terms (nice guy but not a geek) and he gets caught like most teachers by the sales pitch and we end up having to convince him again that we don't want that solution.

    Finally (I hear the sigh of relief) the SLT, in this school the, them and us really does prevail and maybe it is because the governors are so distant from the admin side of the school. It could be that my last school was exceptional, but the difference between the two is amazing.

    Well I feel a lot better now I've got that off of my chest.

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