A director responding to Reading, Writing and Rip-Offs

Panorama released an episode leaving a possibly sour taste in the mouth of teachers about technology company directors (That’s what I did) [And now I’m a shareholder]. Here are my thoughts on the program and hopefully a little bit of a balanced view.

TLDR; Not all technology companies are trying to make a quick buck from schools. Primary Technology certainly didn’t when I was fulfilling my role as managing director and wont while I’m fulfilling my role as a shareholder.

All of the schools I have worked with have had increased levels of access to technology through my involvement.

I would never inflate prices or try bully schools into signing contracts they don’t want. I think pricing should be transparent and that’s why I’m a huge fan of schools getting 3 quotes when making a purchase over a certain value (the value is usually decided by the LA).

Most of the schools I have worked with have been absolutely fantastic and responsible when it has come to purchasing decisions. I was once stung by one of these companies when it payed to fail for labor we completed, schools are not the only victims here.. Technology companies are…

The technology companies accused in the program are not technology companies, they are sales and leasing companies. Technology companies do the actual installation / configuration / development / design etc. I’d be interested to know if that was included in the price per item.

Michael Gove doesn’t have to take responsibility if free schools go bust. If only! Imagine Michael declaring bankruptcy.. Let’s not remember

On the topic of Michael Gove

From the Members of Parliament disclosure via Wikipedia.

Expenses claims
Main article: Disclosure of expenses of British Members of Parliament
Michael Gove claimed £7,000 for furnishing a London property before reportedly ‘flipping’ his designated second home, a property for which he claimed around £13,000 to cover stamp duty.[44] Gove also claimed for a cot mattress, despite children’s items being banned under the Commons rule. Gove said he would repay the claim for the cot mattress, but maintained that his other claims were “below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture” and that moving house was necessary “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”.[44] While he was moving between homes, on one occasion he stayed at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa following a constituency engagement, charging the taxpayer more than £500 per night’s stay.[44]
Gove’s second home was not in his constituency, but in Elstead, in the South West Surrey Constituency. Gove subsequently sold the house and now has no base in or near his constituency.[45]

Let’s take a second to reflect on what’s important..

This program could be really damaging to the relationship between technology and schools possibly putting some schools off investing fairly in the future of their pupils. Making the assumption that all schools dealings with technology companies end poorly would be extremely damaging. Exposing crooks is great and kudos to Panorama, but hopefully the viewers wont put all company directors in one box.

Gove wants schools to move “back to basics” ergo away from tech. Does it seem slightly suspicious this Panorama would be aired now? Just saying…

One thought on “A director responding to Reading, Writing and Rip-Offs

  1. It’s not
    technology companies wanting to rip schools off, but unscrupulous ‘leasing’
    companies using tech to rip off schools.

    Accountability
    / responsibility is key, and I’m amazed by the amount of school bursars /
    business managers still unaware of leasing guidelines (IAS17 / Operating
    Leases…), and more astounded that these professionals in schools are
    signing-off contracts. I’m guessing they’ve not read the small-print!

    It’s easy,
    check your finance partners credentials, are they LEA approved, ask to speak to
    neighbouring schools, what DfE frameworks do they utilise etc….

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