FITS Version 1.5 News From BECTA.
The main goal of FITS is to assist schools in using their ICT to deliver a positive impact on pupil outcomes. FITS provides the processes required for the efficient and effective administration of technical support and is based upon ITIL, but modified to better suit the requirements of schools.
FITS has been moved into a more formal product management framework so that future versions can be planned and features prioritised in line with new requirements. There are a number of major factors driving the direction of the next version of FITS.
There is a rapid drive towards implementing ‘Service management’ within schools throughout England. FITS contains processes and checklists which help technicians and network managers track and manage third parties as well as their own in-house processes. For schools moving towards becoming Academies or BSF, this can help them be much better prepared to manage this situation as this is a formal requirement for these services.
Home access will enable parents and learners to access parental reporting, email, file storage and their learning platform. This will soon become compulsory in England. This is likely to require new infrastructure and processes to deal with a range of areas such as remote access, security and guest devices. FITS has been updated to cover the security aspects and Becta is providing an audit tool linked to new materials that make this easier to introduce.
A survey was conducted with schools that already use FITS and their feedback has been used to shape the next and subsequent versions. In summary:
• The satisfaction with FITS was over 90% and the materials were felt to be very useful.
• However, there were a number of areas where it was felt that it could be improved. The most significant of these was that many heads thought that FITS looked very complicated and would require a lot of effort to implement.
• Accreditation, career development and recognition featured heavily in the survey and this is a recurring theme with every local authority that the FITS team has met over the last few months. There is a general feeling that technician’s skills are undervalued and that a more formal career development path is needed.
It is hard not to notice the increasing use of technology within education. From the more towards a PC per pupil and initiatives such as home access, multimedia and learning platforms, there is more technology to support with the same number of staff. With this, it’s become more and more essential to have effective support processes that help you to introduce the right kit and be able to reduce the demand on your support services.
Some of the original FITS material has also been updated to bring it in line with the latest best practice. FITS is now about 5 years old and a few of the modules have been updated.
As a result of feedback about FITS being perceived as complicated and potentially costly to introduce, it has been restructured into a single version instead of the current Primary, Secondary and OM versions. It is now much easier to get started and there is a new ‘Starter Guide’ which makes this very quick to get up and running. FITS is still capable of scaling to the largest of schools and a new poster has been created showing the different levels of using FITS, the benefits gained at each step and an overview of what needs to be done. This again makes it easy to progress by adding additional modules.
The following modules are either new or updated:
• Service Desk
• Service Level
A new case study video will be added to the web site in early June. This features a number of schools that have successfully implemented FITS and they talk about the benefits to their schools.
The existing training courses are being updated to include the new material.
BECTA Are Releasing Version 1.5 of FITS On 20th Of April