This has been a worry for years.
About 5 years ago we we looking at leasing some kit and when we had the lease through we got our accountants and solicitors to review the paperwork sent to us. Turns out that if we'd signed the lease a) we would have paid 4.5x the normal price of the kit and b) if we had repaid early the penalties for doing so would have run in to the 10's of thousands of pounds!
Good job we had the backing of the accountant and the solicitor and that the bursar had the foresight to get them to have a look at the agreements first!
We ended up getting a really good bank loan instead!
Who runs these schools, do they have to be labotomised by law.
tomgrindle (31st March 2012)
People on here have been saying this about various leases such as that copier one that a certain company offers.
It just takes the government 10 years longer than the rest of us to understand there is a problem.
Why should a teacher be seen as qualified to lead when their experience and qualifications are for teaching? Why do they get promoted into management roles without any experience. I've seen some schools promote teachers who have only been in the job for 3 years into management roles!!
Lets go to a bank and see how many of the tellers get promoted up to the board of directors within a tiny timeframe, without experience and without qualifications.
To be fair more primaries are starting to see the need for in house technical professionals to stop this sort of thing happening.
Those who don't have it, or can't afford it have to make do the best they can which is either relying on the LEA, or relying on a teacher who has limited experience, very limited time and limited patience who'll sign anything to an outside "expert" to get it over with.
My place was the same (or no where near as bad) before I started. 4 hours a week LEA support and the IT Coordinator doing everything else. Luckily she's an AST and soon to be SLT and been doing the job for decades, so knew her limitations. Now we have an IT Manager (me) and apprentice technician (80% IT, 20% office) and an IT Coordinator whose on the SLT. Yes, not all primaries can afford to do it on this scale - but surely for the one in the article paying a techie £20K a year would have been far better than owing the bank £700,000!
SYNACK (8th January 2012)
Oh sweet $deity ... here we go again about so many teachers not being able / qualified to manage! I know there are people who have had bad experience of managers in schools ... but you get that in all walks of life. You get it in councils, in hospitals, heck ... many members can give you horror stories of idiots who manage in the forces.
Yes ... this is nasty and to some extent is down to malicious mis-selling ... and there are enough stories going round about that too. However, there are lots of good ways of purchasing / leasing in schools ... and part of the problem is getting this information in front of the relevant people in schools. This should have been spotted by the bursar / business manager, as well as the Governors ... if they didn't then *they* are also not doing their roles properly either.
Getting things in front of the relevant people is a great idea, but what if the school is managed by teachers without experience of leasing or IT or contract law etc... You end up with a teacher passing it to another teacher to make the decision. This then gets passed to the bursar for a decision, a person without a clear definition and without, in many schools, a qualified person doing it. The entire system is built on a stack of cards, being held up by people going above and beyond to repair the mistakes made by those above in many schools.
Basically, its what would defined as 'the blind leading the blind'. Combine this with the current destruction of the LEA system, so reducing the availability of legal services, and schools are heading for a perfect storm in my view.
Note: Not all schools are managed by people like those I'm talking about, some are very well managed with proper oversight and proper knowledge and experience in the right places.
People who manage schools are in a fairly unique position that (until recently) they must hold a PGCE and have worked as a teacher in schools. To get into Senior or middle management in a school is extremely unlikely unless you have prior experience as a teacher. This may work for T+L decisions, but not necessarily for business decisions. Once you've paid the <£140k for a head teacher, £60k-80k for senior management and £40k+ for middle management schools don't have much left to pay for people to make business decisions.
This situation will only become worse as we go forward with more and more academies. As schools opt out of LA control they will have fewer people to go to for advice or be unwilling to go to them as it will come at a price.
While governors have some role in this, you'll find if its anything like my experience of being a governor, these decisions are devolved to the head and budgets are just rubber stamped in a sub committee.
This story fits the old adage - if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
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