What's that old saying? Where there's smoke, there's fire...
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
It is entirely the responsibility of the school! That's the point. Companies are there to make money, they are fulfilling their role, whether we agree with their tactics or not. Sure, if fraud occurs then that needs dealing with via the law, but schools not reading contracts properly? That is 100% the school's responsibility. If you buy a new car and don't bother reading the contract, and then find yourself stung by some large administration charge, then its your own fault.
Instead of immediately having a dig why not take a step back, think about why things like this go wrong, ask how much of it is the responsibility of the school and how much is caused by the firm who did the selling, think about the number of times we hear about mis-representation ... intentionally hiding facts to get a sale ... and whether this applies in this and similar cases. Think about how people can spread the word about how it can be avoided (lessons learnt) and what our schools have in place to try to catch things like this. Schools are not unique in examples of bad management / leadership so why not consider looking at how others deal with it.
How can it be avoided? Read all the paperwork properly, or if you don't know enough about it, get advice from someone or somewhere that does - contract lawyers, your LEA, the DfE. Burying your head in the sand and just steaming on is exactly what I'm talking about, it is bad management.
Hang on, you're listing unions as a place to get advice from about how to do your job properly. That makes about as much sense to me as a chocolate teapot. Surely you should already know how to do your job before being handed the position?
If you want to talk about accountability for this and training, then the people who should be dealing with this have access to advice already (whether Bursar or SLT) ... and this is not just via LAs. SLT unions give advice nothings like this ... NAHT and ASCL have both addressed this, but NUT and NASUWT are not as proactive as they tend to focus on the classroom side of things rather than running schools. Schools can (and do) also buy in services from folk like StrictlyEducation, CfBT, various Academy groups (some also resell services to those outside of members of their group) so there are plenty of places to go for advice ... and this is before we get to the informal networks of people sharing advice too. Do you honestly think this is the only place where people regularly share things?
No, I don't think this is the only place where people share advice. However, the government has not been very helpful in encouraging the sharing of information. Many of those advice giving mechanisms are disappearing via the implosion of LEA services.
'Should be addressed'. By who? How? When? By the DfE? How would it be monitored? Ofsted? They mainly focus on T&L so not really suitable. How about an auditor type system, such as FMSIS? Well, the government already disposed of that, and replaced it with the SFVS which is only mandatory to LEA controlled schools. The entire system is moving towards *less* accountability in schools! Where else in the world does someone get handed a multi-million pound budget without an MBA or the like?
If courses like CSBM, DSBM, NPQH, MBA, MEd, etc are not covering things then it should be addressed ... if people are not going on the courses or getting the advice it should be addressed ... but rather than pointing fingers and having a gripe why not say *why* NMs / IT Techs / external IT Support Providers might have been able to spot this when others didn't. Give examples of policies your schools may have (or should have) which should help catch things like this.
The problem is, the people who hire the people below them are teachers, the teachers then get promoted and hire more teachers. It is rare in my experience to find someone in a school who isn't from a teaching background and who has any decision making power, and if they are in that position, someone who doesn't get overridden or ignored by a teacher in power wanting something shiney (there are many many hundreds of examples of that on here) or signing the school up without following policy.
This isn't slagging off teachers, it is pointing out that realistically, teachers are not qualified to manage a school, much like I am not qualified to do so either, or my GP not being qualified to manage a hospital.