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Hardware Thread, Laptops for Staff - Still a requirement? in Technical; It's not so much the support of them that worries me, yes there is a cost, it's the whole "it's ...
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    It's not so much the support of them that worries me, yes there is a cost, it's the whole "it's our right to have this" and how they treat it as their own and not as a school machine. The number of staff who now complain that I no longer let them borrow a laptop in school when they have one assigned to them at home is unreal!
    That's precisely it, they seem to think they're entitled. Convincing them otherwise is what is going to be really difficult.

    CyberNerd, when you recalled your 100 laptops, how did you do it? I presume you had SLT backup? What grounds did you cite for them being recalled? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soveryapt View Post
    At my school it is seen as a requirement of the job for staff to have laptops, there was talk at one stage of giving all the TAs (well the TA3 +) a laptop too for when they were acting up in lessons so they could plan those sections.

    My ideal would be similar to bossman's setup, in that the laptops we have now are the last lot to be purchased and we phase things out, the only exceptions being those who make a request in writing that is accepted by SLT, but I know that won't likely happen.

    Like many others, I find the whole "well my son/daughter was using it last night and .." scenario a nightmare, made marginally easier through the use of images and a AUP that says "whilst we make every effort to have remote backup systems in place, it is your responsibility to ensure your data is backed up on your laptop in the case that we need to rebuild the laptop" etc ..

    I actually had one person say "oh, they've taken it to university as their laptop had broken" to which I politely said "get it back within the week and bring it to me otherwise I will have to take this to the SLT" they didn't like it but hey, it got the laptop back.

    It's not so much the support of them that worries me, yes there is a cost, it's the whole "it's our right to have this" and how they treat it as their own and not as a school machine. The number of staff who now complain that I no longer let them borrow a laptop in school when they have one assigned to them at home is unreal!
    Exactly the same here too!

    I would really like not to have to supply laptops to teachers and the expectation here is that they should have one regardless of whether they've got their own PC / laptop sat at home as well. 90% of the laptops never get seen again (PC in every classroom) and those we do see are often installed with kiddie games and the like. If there's an official document that says that it's not a legal requirement to supply them one (our staff are under the impression that it is), and replace it when they've broken it or when they thinks 'it's getting a bit old' then if I could be pointed in the direction of it I and my budget would be most grateful.

    We're actually thinking along the lines of removing the static PCs in classroom so they have to use their work supplied laptop for work related tasks.

    Cheers

    HBJB

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    If there's an official document that says that it's not a legal requirement to supply them one (our staff are under the impression that it is), and replace it when they've broken it or when they thinks 'it's getting a bit old' then if I could be pointed in the direction of it I and my budget would be most grateful.
    Precisely what I'd love to find too!

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Staff here were given a choice - desktop or laptop not both unless your department is prepared to buy a laptop out of their budget. If you're given a laptop you MUST bring it with you into school each day and as we removed full admin rights some time ago we no longer have random games installed or someone allowing their husband to run their business on it (I kid you not!)

    From the ones that were returned we gave some to Exams for pupils who need scribes, can't write, etc.; we set some aside for cover if a member of staff with a laptop is ill, on a course etc.; we gave some for use with a wireless access point in the Food room as it wasn't possible / practical to install wired points in there; we put some in the staff room for use by PGCE students and we have a few spares to cover any other eventualities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken1 View Post
    Precisely what I'd love to find too!
    I don't think you will find such a thing however you will also not find anything that says there is a legal requirement to provide them with one and if they think that's the case they are mistaken.

    So on the premise that there is no such legal requirement or documentation to back it up you apply your own policies to the situation.

    Ben

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    What is the provision of ICT across the school? Could you persuade SLT that if staff brought their laptop in each day that would free X PCs to install in a department that really needs them, or create a bookable suite for use by all departments?

    What is the policy for refreshing computers? Are those used by staff newer than those elsewhere? If they are older and starting to need replacing, could you argue that the money used to replace them would be better spent elsewhere?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 36Degrees View Post
    Staff here were given a choice - desktop or laptop not both unless your department is prepared to buy a laptop out of their budget. If you're given a laptop you MUST bring it with you into school each day and as we removed full admin rights some time ago we no longer have random games installed or someone allowing their husband to run their business on it (I kid you not!)

    From the ones that were returned we gave some to Exams for pupils who need scribes, can't write, etc.; we set some aside for cover if a member of staff with a laptop is ill, on a course etc.; we gave some for use with a wireless access point in the Food room as it wasn't possible / practical to install wired points in there; we put some in the staff room for use by PGCE students and we have a few spares to cover any other eventualities.
    Now I like that idea too, the option of laptop or desktop. The main issue I could see with this would be the whiteboards and whatnot, but I guess you could buy generic docking stations so 1 usb connection and your done kind of thing ..


    As for the main question in hand, I think that it's going to be a case of sit down, put a plan together, reasons for and against getting rid of laptops in your own opinion, any cost implications for either situation for the school (including your time in repairs and cost comparison on basic repairs - replace a screen on a laptop £90 + fitting time - replacement screen for a desktop, £45-50 and in place in a few minutes). Once you've done this, sit down with the SLT and go through your thoughts. So long as you're not coming at it from a it's easier to support attitude and there are genuine cost savings to be made etc, I would of thought most SLTs would get behind you.

    I know that if I was to sit down and do a similar thing that I would probably get the support eventually, but I would be met by pitchforks and torches being waved by the angry mob of staff at my office door .. lol ..

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    we try to shy away from laptops for a number of technical reasons. The reasons that got us our own way with SLT about them however, were lower value for money over desktops, high total cost of ownership due to repairs, length of time taken to support vs desktops, security, and misuse.

    we now issue them to the executive head, some heads of school and some teachers who teach offsite. (many people don't want them now as they are financially responsible for all damages, and they are subject to audit for unauthorised software etc.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken1 View Post
    That's precisely it, they seem to think they're entitled. Convincing them otherwise is what is going to be really difficult.

    CyberNerd, when you recalled your 100 laptops, how did you do it? I presume you had SLT backup? What grounds did you cite for them being recalled? Thanks.
    Basically; there is a digital technologies group which meets periodically. It consists of Me (NM), Lead practitioner of ICT, Head of ICT, Deputy Head, Head teacher (and sometimes other members of the school, depending upon what we were discussing).
    We went over the problem of renewing laptops and the costs associated over a 5yr period. We compared that to desktops. Desktops looked favourable.The Digital Tech team effectively told SLT thats what we were going to do. there was a brief discussion with Curriculum leaders to see what extra resources they would need. We ended up buying (in addition to a computer in every room) extra machines for the staffroom and a few more in offices. Teachers were consulted - there was lots of whining - but eventually they accepted it. To recall them we cited the SIMS summer update - (we did not have .net4 installed on most of the laptops) and we decided that there would be technical difficulties in installing it. The technical difficulty wasn't that we couldnt be ar*ed. It was much more technical than that.

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    What is the provision of ICT across the school?
    Pretty good I think. Each classroom has a staff desktop with IWB. 7 computer rooms, combination of IT rooms and suites.

    Could you persuade SLT that if staff brought their laptop in each day that would free X PCs to install in a department that really needs them, or create a bookable suite for use by all departments?
    Not really 'cos we don't have any space for those new computers.

    What is the policy for refreshing computers? Are those used by staff newer than those elsewhere? If they are older and starting to need replacing, could you argue that the money used to replace them would be better spent elsewhere?
    Computers are now on a 4 year replacement schedule (up from 3 due to current finances). Staff laptops are supposedly replaced every 5 years. Yes, I think the money saving argument is my best one with SLT.

    Lol Soveryapt, I think I would be in a similar position. The SLT would appreciate the freeing up of our time and the cost saving. Staff on the other hand will go bonkers. One of the arguments from staff is about them needing them at Parents Evenings. We've got one this evening so I'm popping back later to see how many of them use them. My guess is less than 10!

    Cheers again guys.
    Last edited by Shuriken1; 19th October 2011 at 03:54 PM.

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    The technical difficulty wasn't that we couldnt be ar*ed. It was much more technical than that.
    :P

    That's a fair point about extra resources, hadn't thought of it. As I do though, every dept office has a PC in, as does the staffroom, so I think I'm safe on that. We also don't have a meeting team like your Digital Tech one, but I like your approach, will keep it in mind. Cheers.

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    I'm one of the people that will always fight for teachers (and other staff) to have laptops. In the same way that individual devices for students / pupils can be heavily tied into learning ... learning is personal so the device should be too ... you don't share exercise books do you? And so it is similar with laptops and teaching. Taking into account different ways different teachers will use the device why should we force them down a particular route? Is it because they don't know any better or are not able to make a decision? Fine ... educate them then (or arrange for someone in the school to do so). If the argument is purely down to money and the ability to support the devices without any consideration for need ... then it is not being thought through properly.

    And yes ... I know a number of the response have been thought through properly and choices made ... the idea of laptop / desktop choice is a good compromise on that side of things ... but if it isn't considered properly then you could just be hampering things.

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    Yeah, fair points. I think in my particular situation, though, it is a matter of them have excessive resources. They have easy access to desktop comptuers around the school, in their classrooms, department offices, staffroom etc. They also have remote access via Remote Desktop. Personally, I think the need for laptops as envisage years ago whereby staff can do their work at home is not necessarily appropriate with the introduction of remote access services. Obviously some will make the 'well I don't have a PC at home' argument and it's valid to a point, but it doesn't personally wash with me. It's definitely going to be a massive consultation-based exercise, but I don't think many of them can really argue that the school should be paying for something for their kids to be playing SIMS 3 on (that's not made up).

    As always though, appreciate all the input. Thanks.

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    @GrumbleDook I agree that staff should have laptops and your reasoning with regards to sharing is a valid one but IME experience the issue lays with them wanting a PC in their classroom because they don't want to connect it every morning (even if it's just plugging in power and a docking station) and neither do they want to carry it to and from school. If we had the money to do this then perhaps we would consider providing them with a laptop they can leave at home but we don't.

    That is why they were given the option to have either a PC or a laptop with it made perfectly clear that they couldn't have both and would have to bring the laptop into school with them. Although it didn't work in all cases, the vast majority were happy to have been consulted and not had a solution forced on them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    I'm one of the people that will always fight for teachers (and other staff) to have laptops. In the same way that individual devices for students / pupils can be heavily tied into learning ... learning is personal so the device should be too ... you don't share exercise books do you? And so it is similar with laptops and teaching. Taking into account different ways different teachers will use the device why should we force them down a particular route? Is it because they don't know any better or are not able to make a decision? Fine ... educate them then (or arrange for someone in the school to do so). If the argument is purely down to money and the ability to support the devices without any consideration for need ... then it is not being thought through properly.

    And yes ... I know a number of the response have been thought through properly and choices made ... the idea of laptop / desktop choice is a good compromise on that side of things ... but if it isn't considered properly then you could just be hampering things.
    We always give the teacher a choice. Everyone without fail has decided for a desktop. They all have a pc at home (and many have a notebook). We have remote access (which only around 10% have bothered to use but they all can get in). If a teacher has a geniuine need for some IT, then I will fight tooth and nail for them, but many, its just a wim.
    Alan

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