Nice article. Spot on. Hopefully it won't just be teachers with a training budget. And no, cutting it out of the main IT money doesn't cut it.
Perhaps they do not realise the massiveness of our role? Using his analogy, would he expect everything to be working on his car on time if the mechanic was swamped by doing 90 services every day?Originally Posted by blazer from TES Forum
Career structure ? Oh yes, I remember having one of those in my last job - about 5 years ago now........
Not sure how you can ever have a career structure in a school which employs 1-2 people doing IT; there's just not enough scope for progression whereas if you have a company with thousands of employees then there ought to be scope.
That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be training, of course there should be. It always grieves me that some educational instiutions are often so bad at educating their own staff (whatever their job title)
A module I completed during my degree was entitled Learning in the Work Setting. The module included the fantasy of "The Learning Organisation". I undertook extensive research, as you can imagine, in both my own and other schools along with commercial organisations.
Learning or training areas: Formal and informal, internal and external, imposed and self imposed. Guess which group of people came out top in the formal, external and imposed areas. Informal, internal and self imposed (self-motivated) - mostly support staff. My research found that there is a place for any and all of these areas of learning for adults of whatever job role/title.
Thankfully, and partly because my research findings were taken note of by SMT, the situation is slowly changing in my school. More Support Staff are now offered CPD and are allowed to attend formal training courses within their school hours. However, this should be qualified by the fact that many support staff and indeed class teachers, whilst being offered the opportunity for training may not necessarily ask for training. They don't always know what is available nor which areas they need training in.
CPD and performance management are now formal procedures for support staff, which means observations, target setting and review meetings. These again are areas, highlighted in my research, that support staff may have little knowledge or experience of. The wider school workforce is only just beginning to be recognised as a vital component of what constitutes a "School". Taking the debate into a "Teacher" forum can only be a good thing but may not be fully understood by that sector of the school workforce.
Last edited by leco; 20th March 2010 at 11:02 AM.
Great article DB.
Admittedly, lots of senior teams are unwilling to have IT representation, there is still very much a them and us structure, and 'they' don't like being told that their idea is not practical from a technological point of view, so will fear open communication. A shame.
It is hard to get this sort of opinion out in the right domain in a 'nice' way. I'd be against the lets print lots of copies and scatter in the staff room approach (i know most of us are only joking :P). It's a real issue and how we address it, will dramatically affect what if anything gets done about it.
One thing to consider is to try and make contact with the governing body if you don't already. There should be an IT link, however, what level of actual contact you have will depend on the governor, the school, and the management team. Some will be happy to just hear reports from the most IT savvy senior manager / head, other governors will and should insist on meeting regularly with the ICT team (teaching and support/technical) to help steer the school, which is the way it should be. I've found governors very reasonable and willing to listen, however often ill-informed and not up to date on what is actually going on in the school, certainly on the IT front.
If you can make contact, it doesn't have to be through the school channels as the information should be public domain and available on the LA website, you can highlight this sort of article to them. You never know what response you might get. At one school, the IT governor actually ran their own company, and after the initial approach lots of strong links were forged which involved the school techs visiting the business and sharing information.
At my last school, it took a while but i eventually got approval to do some Microsoft courses, and we came to an arrangement such that one would be done during a quiet period of school time, and one was done during my annual leave. Not ideal, but i'd rather have the training than none at all.
One of the biggest things putting management off is that they know that they can't live without us 'techs' and if they sent us on training how would the school cope! Going to them with a thought out plan of how you can get some training even if it ends up being online after school closes, would be better than nothing.
We struggle to find the time for training here, let alone the money. When i mentioned CPD, attending the SIMs conference was deemed as part of that. This year i chose to go to BETT. That's about all i can look forward to, everything else has to be done in my own time.
I am IT link governor of another similar school, and I do try to meet up with the IT coord but he is very loth to meet me as he knows that I am a tech and understand what he is doing (and don't agree - eg his latest decision is to use GoogleApps instead of a VLE). But at least I can explain to the other governors about the IT in the school, and what and where we are going, and as Vik says, they are very keen and interested in what I have to say.
I see were being attacked on the TES Forum again and there attacking Chris directly as well:
Originally Posted by TES Forum use S1lver
Schools must bridge the other digital divide - Opinion - TES Connect
Oh dear what a shame that the discussion in TES seems now to becoming a slanging match. Is it not possible to have a coherent debate about all of this, it appears not.
Witch - I can agree with you about support staff not stretching to include IT techs. I don't have observations though I do have PM interviews/reviews. The latest "mid-term review" was with the Bursar rather than the Head as previously. This consisted of me being given a list of tasks that need to be undertaken to meet the "whole school target". When I pointed out, quite politely, that I didn't think the tasks were actually Personal Development, the Bursar agreed they were not but then moved on to the next box on the form. It seems to be thought that I don't need to learn anything more as I know all about everything already (which is very far from reality).
Having said that I haven't asked for any training because, being the nice person that I am, I consider the financial constraints and would rather some other more "needy" person got some. I can "muddle through" whereas the support assistants have to deal with recalcitrant human beings. I know, I'm just too nice for my own good
I ask for training all the time
They say NO
But I do ask...
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