If a user is to have a laptop which may be used at home it needs to be locked down, you should never let anyone other than IT install applications on it. Plus it makes for a simpler life for you.
We're going the other way - all teachers have laptops - set up so that they are synchronised and always look as though they are on the network - they dont have admin access and generally treat them fairly well. They do put personal photos on which then get sent up to my server but everyone knows I delete all pics once a year unless they put them in a specifice shared place.
They used to have admin access but I stopped it expecting mayhem but most were surprisingly accepting.
BUT we want to go to electronic registration and the thoughts are: what happens if the teacher is out or forgets his or her laptop? - we don't have spares.
We have also had issues with laptops connecting to whiteboards and the network - cables are forever getting broken so the thought is to put an immovable desktop there alongside an extra connection to the network - so they can connect their laptop, synchronise their data so that it will be available for use on the desktop.
Desktops last longer, too
Docking stations, locked down laptops with SMT support, hard drive encryption and an addendum in contracts that it is part oftheir job roal to bring in there laptops if you can. Nothing works better than contractual obligation and I have seen it work wonders in some schools.
The school I work at does not have desktops in the classrooms. When moving to SIMS for registration, the idea of installing them was mentioned but that would have meant buy a shed load of desktops plus increasing the number of network ports. A whole lot of money.
Instead, the teachers use their laptops. We supply all the teachers with laptops and so we can tell them what to use them for! It works well (when the teachers aren't being too lazy to do the registers or make up random problems of simply destroy them).
If a teacher is given a laptop for X, Y and Z they should be disciplined for 'forgetting' it IMHO but that will never happen. Staff should not be using the machines as personal machines at home as that should breach your AUP and has potential DPA issues. Plus they become a taxable perk!
Anyway... as long as you can put up with the odd idiot, laptops FTW... less walking to fix computers (they come to you) and halves the number of machines you need for your staff.
What I do if I find laptops in locked rooms I take it and give it to the head and leave a note on where the laptop is to pick it up from the Head
In your non-ideal world, I'm guessing about the best option is to buy new desktops for the classroom (at £200 each the small, wall-mountable Acer machines are great) and give away the old desktops for home-use machines.
New teachers are being taught that you cannot really do the job without good home access to the internet and hopefully remote access to the school system so they know that it is necessary to have such things.
But if a teacher chooses not to have home broadband? The school is open until 6 every night, and often later, and in the holidays, so they don't actually have to work from home if they don't want to, it is a personal choice - the norm, I know, but it can be done without.
Schools have no money for extras these days, and IMHO teacher laptops are just that. Most of the teachers at my schools do work on their own machines at home. Some use the laptops provided but not very many.
I am going to use the old IT suite machines for the classrooms - they are Dells and I know that they will last a good few years, at least long enough to trial the system, anyway!
I spoke to the trainees on placement at our school and also my son's girlfriend who is currently training, and they all said that they knew they couldnt do the job without a decent computer.
Though as I remember being at uni money is infinite! recession, what recession!
Sorry All, I've been away due to a family bereavement. Just wanted to thank you all for your input - it's been really helpful.
One thing I should have mentioned is that all our teachers already have laptops, so really it's just case of the cultural change moving away from desktop machines. It would initially be a cost saving, but of course that could be made up for by possible increases in costs supporting laptops.
We're going to have a think about it and a pilot first before we wade in with any change.
Thanks again for all the replies. :)
Also when you get laptops make sure they have accidental waranty on them, you wont regret it!