Guys always an interesting debate as I sit here with 168 brand new RM notebook 310s lol.
In one of my former establishments we started off on the laptops for teachers scheme with vigour, the teachers loved it, the IT staff loved it as they had the same spec machines, parts were easy to keep in stock.
Machines started to fail so we went to BYOD, and that went badly, very very badly. Diff spec machines, IT staff were expected to do all repairs beyond warranty at the cost to the school even if damage was caused at home or by a child.
We then did a consultation and said we would be doing 1 more round of Laptops for staff and after this we would be going to desktops in the machines, 40% of the staff wanted to go to desktops straight away but as they were not given the option we went with brand new Toshiba laptops. Less than 2 years after this staff complained that the laptops were slow and not any good. Desktops got installed and then staff complained they lacked portability. It was explained that staff have their own logins, a 32GB USB stick and the machines were hard wired straight to the core network rather than going through various switches (with the exception of 2 which were over 100m away).
They loved the speed that came with them but hated that they could not personalise them and not "work from home in comfort" or "could not afford a PC / Laptop for home"...despite the fact that they all at some point asked us as IT staff to fix their home machines in return for beer/alcohol/payment. It didnt wash and home access was set up and yes there will always be complaints, but we had less issues with this than ever before.
In general it works very well.
We do the same.
I'm actually looking at putting together a proposal to move away from laptops for teachers in favour of fixed PCs in the classroom. Would free up our wireless network for portable student devices, and would be backed up by a new remote access system.
This is a really interesting thread, as we are in the early stages of a consultation process to go the other way, i.e. remove desktop PCs from classrooms and issue laptops instead.
All of SLT now have laptops to ease working at home, which they also find useful in SLT meetings (it was something we initially offered to one Deputy Head because their child-care arrangements meant he needed to work at home, but couldn't use the home computer because of the children (circular argument, really!). The increased use of computers, both in teaching and administration, means that the communal computers in the Staff Room are always being used, and however many more we put in there, they will still all be in use all the time. With that and the number of people who teach multiple subjects, we are in the position whereby we have more classroom/staff room/staff office computers than we do teaching staff. Also, some staff teach in shared classrooms, and if they had a laptop, they could get all their resources ready to go before the lesson rather than have to lose the first few minutes opening PowerPoints, e-books and so on.
The issue we will have is that not everyone will want to have a laptop, yet in order for this to work, everyone must have one.
Another reason behind wanting to give staff a laptop is that we can encrypt the drives, so should someone steal their computer, the data on it is safe, unlike if they had their home computer stolen.
A few more things to throw in the pot which may not have been dimensioned but are more based on how schools might choose to operate when it comes to who teaches who and where.
Some schools don't allocate dedicated classrooms to teachers. Instead you teach in the various available spaces, usually in a given department / subject area. This can mean that teacher desktop devices are not always appropriately set up for the member of staff that has to go in during a particular lessons. I have heard the argument that the locking of desktops causes problems for the next teacher in that room .. but in the same way classroom management and behaviour is a teacher issue, not a technical one, this is the same ... so I can't say that it is a valid argument ... only something to be aware of and educate users about.
Laptops are also used as a recruitment incentive within some schools ... and whilst we know that this means they will be used at home as well, with education of the users we can make sure they are only used by the member of staff ... again a DPA awareness issue.
All our teachers, cover supervisors, TAs and assorted other based on need, have a laptop. All our registers are taken on the laptops, so they have to be brought in daily and problems are usual picked and fixed very quickly. The laptops are locked down, but we have a policy of allowing staff to request we put any legal software on their laptops. It is a compromise on the full freedom they (and we) would like and us not employing 20 technicians.
We have a five year replacement program for all IT equipment and decisions had to be made about what we could afford to keep running. So desktops attached to projectors in the classroom were left to expire. We are just consulting on whether senior management/heads of year also require the desktop in their offices in addition to their laptops. And how much they are prepared to give me extra in the budget if they want to keep up that density of computing.
Laptops are encrypted, so when they go home we have a measure of security for the data.
Hadn't thought of it as a recruitment tool, must mention that to the senior team.
All in all, staff having laptops has generally been seen as a success and a positive thing and they wouldn't go back (the question is raised every year). Has it improved outcomes for the students, the ultimate measure of a school initiative, I am not sure. All staff had laptops when we went into special measures, all staff had laptops when we became outstanding.