I think this may get a varied response, however I am just interested in other peoples views & opinions.
I am a professional in the ICT industry, and have recently over the last month started support a technician in a school. Only a couple of hours a week and the work generally consists of clearing back logs - the school has been neglected for a couple of YEARS!!
The school setup (roughly) is as follows....
- Single Network (with Primary & Backup Domain Controller)
- 200 Workstations (media, music, 4 ICT suites, administration office, and lecture workstations)
- 700 Users
- 75 Laptops (for staff)
- Wi-Fi throughout
- Exchange mail server
What staff structure do you think would be suitable, technicians (full time, part time), management / development leader? who links with senior leadership? A management company is out of the question, for now- yet I'd be interested to hear your views on that too! In the first instance they are looking to maintain current hardware & software, with a view to develop, expand and evolve their ICT usage (for staff & students).
Look forward to some discussion around this topic, also any good pointers to helping out (software / other resources).... It's my mission to get them back on track!!
Some of my opinions:
My school we have a manager and two technicians. One who has a different role. Manager links in with SMT and is line managed (or we as a team) by assistant head teacher who is part of the SMT. Though as in most organizations? we can approach anyone in the SMT if we need to (and so should be able to) for whatever reason.
We have autonomy as a separate team/unit as such. Which works well IMO if you have people in the team who actually are creative, innovative, know their stuff and work hard. No point of being micro managed by senior leaders unless concerns are had. We also operate separately from the I.C.T Teaching department.
In previous jobs In I.T. I was never micro managed either and again works well. Previous schools I worked directly with for example headteacher when big choices needed to be made but this was a junior school - so not exactly big with 45 comps.
Every organization needs a leader, a single person. So within a network support team one should have a manager to make the decisions and then the minions to carry out the work. Easy. The more levels of people you have, the more titles and bs, the less effective it gets.
Why not look at other schools for best practice? Employ someone who has taken I.T. forward in schools.
In terms of software, schools should be at the forefront of technology (Within reason) as we are providing a service to the public who will be going in to the workforce. They should be aware of all whats available. Open source software - Why not utilize it? For example Windows 7/ Office 2007 might be in business in a few years time, students should have access to this as they could be using it when they leave. Of course though budgets and circumstances don't always allow for that.
I would take a look at FITS in respect to staffing levels of ICT in schools. Especially in regards to how they should be implemented and in what role. Perhaps someone like Grumbledook here from the forums would provide some useful information for you as he seems to be very well informed on how management and ICT should link up, having i believe been taken on by his local authority to work on such things.
As well as this forum where you will get some great advice, i would suggest you contact your local schools and see if there is an organised regular support meeting for network managers and technicians to share best practice and provide more local support.
Perhaps you could take our school as a template?
One technician to do everything.
For a school that size, they should likely have a network manager, and a technician, but financially this is unlikely to happen. We're about the same size pupil-wise, but a fair amount larger in terms of PC's, and there's only 1 person here.
One of the important things is that the policy work, procurement, planning, and paper work work a lot better when they are in a seperate role to the day to day maintenance role. Being able to get on with them, without being interrupted by someone who has forgot to turn a switch on somewhere, would greatly improve things in this school for example.
Personal Option Here:
We have 500 workstations, ~15 servers with 1300 users.
Were have a team of three to support this; a manager, senior tech (me) and a tech.
To be honest the manger spends all there time dealing with SMT, annoing poeple, paperwork, project management and precurement.
Us two techs do the reamainder of the 'i've forgetten my password\printer out of ink stuff' as well as testing for any new software/projects.
Were not run off our feet but at times it seams never ending.
One person could support the school as in keeping things running, forever tending to broken hardware and fixing things.
Even simple things like purchasing of toner is being missed at present, there are few spare keyboards & mice around. Surely someone needs to manage the ICT department (on the technical side)? Including ICT procurement, documenting proceedures & policies, in-house training for staff, researching software development & deployment, SLAs, software licensing, server upgrades and the likes.
Really unsure what structure is best, I don't doubt some users on here keep things running at schools the same size & bigger, yet I dare say this isn't ideal or support is required at times from 3rd parties.
With one technician; I feel a school is left vulnrable ( illness etc. ) - Thanks for your thoughts..... I look forward to more responses!
I'm starting to think a manager & two techies (1 senior & 1 junior possibly)... is just a structure which is needed, in smaller schools - perhaps a manager and one techie.
Originally Posted by fawkers
I believe technical staff work better when they're able to bounce off each other and a local "geekup" for local schools - I do believe to be a great idea, yet I don't feel there would be many local technicians up for it. It's certainly worth firing out a warning shot and gauge the response!
Manager and 2 techs works pretty well, basic tech to do the day-to-day user support, more advanced one to help with network \ server issues and all 3 take a part in user training, VLE and so on.
When we had 2 people we're generally running around after users - with the third person it allows more time to test out new technologies, produce training guides etc