As for stopping comparing to my home broadband...duly noted, I hereby cease! It doesn't stop me believing thought that there are many hidden costs and a distinct lack of value being offered in what my school currently recieves, as some of the responses have shown in comparing to their deals.
I started this thread because I get very upset when a school with no IT understanding is potentially spending very scant money on an over-priced service. My only mission is to ensure the school spends everything it can on continuing to provide and improve teaching and learning in tough times. And tough times means looking for alternatives to expensive, bloated solutions sometimes!
If it's a primary then I can see that governors interests and expertise may be exploited more fully. I myself am a parent governor partly for that reason but still only provide an overview and advice.
One of the things i would do is talk to local secondaries - they tend to have far bigger IT teams and tend to help out with things like this for primaries - I know I do - not sure which part of Uk you are but if its southwards (east/west sussex/hampshire) drop me a PM and i'll see what i can dig up.
I assume as a primary there is no on-site web filtering meaning it's done by the lea or whoever, if replacing it then you will need to consider that as part of any replacement service.
Primary tech steps in with a Safeguarding bit as @GrumbleDook hasn't appeared yet!
I also happen to be a school governor! A school governor's role is supposed to be strategic; it isn't their job to get involved with the day to day running of the school.
@misources your situation with a part time tech is that of most primaries.
It is a fine balance between cost and support for all these things. Safeguarding MUST be considered... the school has a duty of care to ensure that pupils are kept safe within school and are given the wherewithal to stay safe beyond the school's boundaries - it's a limiting judgement by Ofsted.
From a school's internet and email point of view that means that sound filtering needs to be in place either using a proprietary on-site filter like Smoothwall or using one that's bundled with an educational ISP's line through the LA or an external company like RM
Whatever is there also needs to manage email and ensure that this cannot be used/abused... so the recent free offerings for schools are from Google and Microsoft's live@edu... or from an external company like RM's EasyMail ... or hosted internally using Microsft Exchange with appropriate software to monitor it like Impero
Secondary schools typically have a team of people full time 52 weeks to manage these systems and even they will contend that keeping the school's network secure (no hacking , data protection, virus issues) and safe no undue risk caused to or by pupils) takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
In a primary school, the team of one needs help. That help is by using managed services. I've used RM above because that's what's in my school... we're independent so LA services are not an option. It's not ideal and it's not cheap, but without it I could not do my job.
I do agree that your service is expensive and it is possible that costs can be reduced, so shopping around is a good idea, but it must be done within the range of educational suppliers and standards, not domestic ones.
@misources Where in the country are you as many techs on here will then be able to offer specific information about what the service from the LA/RBC is and includes and what other options may be available.
Just so you are aware ... I work for an LA, have been heavily involved with managing connectivity and services for schools, have helped develop a toolkit to support schools making decisions about connectivity and services ... and general independent advisor to schools and those providing IT support / management to schools (including governors).
The comparison between home and business broadband is one that does come up every so often and use of the search facilities on the site will bring up a range of discussions which have been had before. The comparison between business and education connectivity / services is also one that comes up as well ... and there is a difference there too.
As for eSafety / Safeguarding, there is a whole section of the site which covers many discussions and resources around this. It would be worthwhile having a look at the resources here, including the links to groups like the Home - UK Safer Internet Centre as well as the local resources in your LA from the eSafety staff / officer, as well as the Local Safeguarding Children's Board.
I think that many members have already covered areas that are the marked difference between home broadband and schools services. The management of the services is an important issue that I cannot stress highly enough having worked with a few hundred primary schools. This is similar to the reason why many schools make use of additional software to manage computer systems within schools (e.g. RM's CC3/4, Viglen's Classlink, etc) as it gives a pretty good, standard setup that takes minimal work to keep it going, update it and has a ready support team to deal with any issues. Whilst it is simple for some schools to take on more of the load on this (hence why a number of larger schools will run vanilla networks and are more likely to want to look at just connectivity and no other services from a provider as they move more services into the control of the school ... but sometimes at a cost to time and staff, off-setting any straight savings). Perhaps one other thing I might add on a technical / operational basis is around possible traffic shaping. Depending on what services / access you need this may cause problems for you (which you can take as read that I have had to help out a few schools outside of my LA with exactly this issue!)
For eSafety and legislation, some links have been put up already. The main sections of legislation centre around The Children Act 2004, H&S legislation (concerning the mental health of both children and staff) and aspects of law around illegal materials ... ranging from images / videos through to copyright breaches. One of the site sponsors (who specialise in filtering) has been supporting more research and advice on this which might be helpful for you. eSafety in Education | eSafety law | Inappropriate content liability ... it is worth saying that some schools will take more responsibility for this themselves than others ... and whilst using tried and tested solutions can be expensive, they are in the marketplace for a reason. I know some folk will opt for open sources solutions, but this is not a true alternative to a manageable system which is backed up by resources and expertise (regular updates to filter lists, improvements due to changes in how websites and search engines operate, etc). It can come as a surprise to some people how much effort it takes to keep things stable every time Google or Bing has a major change.
There is one thing I would stress more than anything else ... whilst financial and technical considerations are important, the most important considerations are what will deliver the educational requirements to the school, on a consistent and reliable basis; what will enable the school to run all their services that the school needs to operate, remembering that some business that school do may require more secure systems than just over a home line ... which can be setup but will require more equipment / software / time / expertise or a combination of all of them; and keeping classroom teachers as that ... not as make shift technical staff (YMMV and depends on the desire to get involved).
If you do have any more questions or need a bit more information about a particular aspect I am sure that the membership will be happy to do what we can.
Most of everything has been covered above. I shall hasten to add that you may have been jumped on a bit as value for money is something close to all of our hearts (we all know what our budgets are like!) yet money is literally a tiny consideration when safety and responsibility is in question. With this in mind, the responsibility for advising/choosing a supplier is (usually, hopefully) down to the IT experts: us guys. Thankfully we've plenty of places to get advice on this, this forum is a great example and better yet we (personally) have the benefit of guys like @GrumbleDook here to poke and prod when the need arises
For instance, using a worst-case scenario: You browse somewhere and a "less than tasteful" popup screen, well, pops up. It turns out the "artists" "performing" on this popup screen are underage.
A typical free filtering system alone, on a domestic type connection (or small business type connections made up of domestic connections like bonded DSL) - you could find yourself unemployable and on the sex offenders register. The school would be under investigation and responsibilities flung around, and people fired.
A proper system, approved filtering at LA/ISP level, possibly accompanied by an on-site filter of choice: the popup probably wouldn't even happen. Even if it did, there's so much responsibility between yourself and your ISP that the worst that would happen is perhaps an internal investigation followed by your provider tweaking a few settings on their filters to stop it happening again.
It's an extreme example but one that demonstrates the actual value of what you're buying into.
Anyway, back to the lighter side: there's plenty of help to be had here, feel free to ask the whys and hows and you'll soon feel that you're far from alone in your situation. I also work with primaries so fully understand your situation as do many others here
Many say but School has a symetric connection but how is that a plus point when you get 100/10 or 120/12 at home against 10/10 at work? Plus I find the home connection depending on users in my area fluctuates less than the school connection and the home connection has way more uptime. I understand the extras like proxy & email along with the others but why can school connections not at least match mobile connation speeds, yet alone what I can get at home? Schools do get extra services and e-safty but unless I missed it no one has explained why School connections have to be so slow more so for the price you pay.
Surely school connections for use over 100ís of devices should not be lagging behind in speed over mobile phone connections used for one device and should not be over 10x slower than home connections again used for a handful of devices.
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