Thursday, 8 November 2007

ICT Services

For those of you who aren't familiar with the BSF process let me explain that as part of the scheme the school has to take the ICT services. Facilities Management services are theoretically optional, but ICT services aren't.

This element of the project more than any other has caused great consternation across the school community. We're pretty proud of our ICT. It's not perfect, but we have a great team in place (one of whom, Nick, our Network Manager, is likely to start posting on this Blog pretty soon) and I think things move on in leaps and bounds here. The idea of losing control, staff and, in particular, creative potential is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to eventual participation of the school in the whole BSF project.

I don't think we'll ever be persuaded that the ICT side of BSF is a good thing for us. If it was that great, the Government wouldn't need to make it compulsory because schools would all be champing at the bit to buy in. There will be a large amount of capital investment and there will be savings to schools for a few years, but in our case much of the investment will go on replacing cabling that's been ripped out by the building works. Anyway, rant over. All involved have heard the SNS rant many times now.

Basically Governors will need to decide whether these issues, together with the others that arise from the project, have the potential to make such a major negative impact on the school that they outweight the positives.

Earlier this week there were two meetings to look at movement on the ICT offer. I don't think I can go into too much detail here, because we haven't yet had final confirmation from RM (the potential ICT provider), but it looks as if they are approaching a solution that will reduce costs for central services, and resolve worries that we had about staffing levels here. We also had discussion about what might happen to the ICT team when they're transferred to RM, which again I can't go into too much detail about, but allayed some of my fears. We were given a draft of the document which will go to the governing body, which covers many areas that have been concerning in just enough depth, but seems pretty open and honest. We also flagged up a few areas, such as training and kit, which will need to be gone into in depth after "financial close" on December 19th.

Anyway, just as a teaser, here are some of the topics I'll be covering in the next few posts:
  • TUPE Transfer
  • Consultation
  • Facilities Management
  • Kitting out Rooms
  • Lawyers
  • The Sign-up process
  • The BSF process (likely to be another rant)

Bet that's whetted your appetites.

Meeting Count 2/11/07 - 8/11/07 - SEVEN

1 comment:

Chris Tidswell said...

Jill, you appear to have ceased blogging on this topic, has the frustration got to you? I work as a Network Manager at a school that has just a new build under PFI and are now starting down the road to BSF. In fact we have a meeting with the Senior Leadership in the morning with, I believe, a representative from BSF. We had BSF thrust upon us at a Network Manager's meeting by th LA who, rather than talking us through it, pointed us at the P4S website, no in fact they just told us to google for partnerships for schools and find some information on it, a very responsible way of informing your school Network Managers and building their confidence.

I have no real worries over my own position as I am of the opinion that if they decide to lose the role or absorb it into the LA or Service Provider I will most likely move on. I am concerned though for the school and the students and staff we support. I have worked under RM before and their lack of skill and accurate and speedy response times left a lot to be desired. I would like to think (as this was almost 7 years ago now) that they will have improved, however I worry for the red-tape that might come with a managed service which may slow down the teaching and learning aspect of ICT. I hope not but I fear this may be the ultimate case, and was the reason that Network Manager's came about in the first place.

I hope you will be able to post more on your experiences and what your concerns are as you become ever closer to BSF or have you already been sucked into the void!!?