If you want to stop the County from top slicing then you have to go the whole hog and pull out, it used to be called "Grant Maintained", but it got watered down into Foundation and Trust statuses.
They'll still take some of it though, but you'll be able to reduce the slice. I'm not convinced it is completely worth it, unless you don't get on with the LA.
It's the same kind of deal around here. AIUI it's mostly a bunch of tech-enthusiastic heads, allegedly representing all the others, who vote the money back for county wide X, Y and Z. That doesn't however include SIMS - schools pay for that themselves and likewise if they want the LA support (most do).It is worth mentioning that for Northamptonshire to retain the schools portion of the HT grant it went to Schools' Forum (reps of schools including headteachers, bursars and governors) who agreed and supported it.
Our LA topslice for their VLE solution, as a school we decided it wasn't for us but didn't get our contribution returned - nobody seems to know what percentage it is.
bossman (29th October 2009)
This is very common place across most LEAs to top slice funds like the HT grant, which is very annoying, as some have said they may top slice for services you don't want or use but you have no say. It is wrong IMHO, and these comittees that make these decisions are usually, again IMHO, staffed by the wrong people that have no idea about what they are talking about. They never seem to have any IT Technical input when looking at IT stuff, its great Heads, Bursars, Governors etc saying yes lets take X% from the HT Grants to pay for EG VLE or Internet or MIS, but what if resourceful IT Managers could actually get it cheaper than what they are offering etc. Its very bad practice IMHO and should be made illegal, the government gives these pots of moneys to the LEA to allow Schools to, in the case of the HT Grant, Harness Technology, but if your grant has been sliced by a large % before you get it, it leaves you with very little funding to Harness the Technology, thus making it semi-useless. Each school has its own priorites for development and harnessing the power of technology, and paying for VLE, MIS, Internet etc isn't always on there list!
It's a bit harsh, you would hope broadband money would be discuss with the technically people, still it is at the end of the day the "teachers" choice, if they want to use high bandwidth applications in schools, then it should be them demaining it, not us technical people who want to download Windows 7 that bit faster... not that i'm saying no to a 100mb pipe
VLE\MIS packages are things we get little say in, because we have little input into the actual system\data. Would any ICT Technican want to say to there bursar that they are moving to Sage because they can support it better then FMS?
You are sort of right and sort of wrong ... and it is also down to perception.
Schools forum is not your typical committee ... they are a vocal group that do everything they can to get the best for the schools. They control themselves and give LA folk a hard time (as they should). The fact that IT is not represented is not always the case but it is down to *your* school's choice about what it takes as a priority. To make a change you have to work on *your* Head.
Take eLCs ... devolved out to schools and often regarded as a waste of money in the long term. We can talk about what it would have done if a central put had been pulled in to develop stuff ... and we can then discuss about Open Source too.
Yes, you get more value with aggregate purchase, but often less choice and control. It is a balancing act. If a few schools opt out and take the cash it makes it harder to get something decent for the other schools. If schools want to opt out and enough do then fine ... take it to right group and discuss. The fact that your head might *also* decide it is not worth fighting that battle so that they get favourably viewed for other things like more funds for buildings or spending the time discussing allocation of students.
Some LAs are more 'controlling' than others and some schools forums are more ready to roll over and accept everything that gets put to them. IT is just a tiny bit of what goes on and if devolved would be a small bit of funding. As for making use of the technology ... that comes down to things like CPD, staff development time (let's mention Rarely Cover in here too) and actually having an ICT Strategy at your school. There are lots of schools that don't have one. Lots. Why would anyone trust a school like that? You would end up with a heap of white elephants and a quick search on the forums shows what people generally think of those.
If we are talking about generating a level of trust between LA and school so that when schools have shown they know what they are doing they can get on with it for themselves (a summary of some of the criteria for Foundation and Trust School Statuses) then that is another question which Central Govt are not that interested in answering by any method other than .... Academies!!!!
However what is interesting here is the schools choice and whether 'top slicing' is denying schools the basic decision whether to go for one MIS or other. Surely there should be a mechanism for a school to 'opt out' from top slicing and get their appropriate funds to be able to go for their choice of MIS.
Some LAs seems to be giving this option - it should all LAs. Yes?
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