Bye bye creative curriculum?

The new Primary Curriculum is axed. Cutting the creative curriculum means 1 of 2 things, either:
a) schools can adopt their own creative curriculum without government guidance
b) schools have to stick to the current curriculum

Option a seems to make most sense as Cameron talks about empowering teachers.

So it is very likely schools will have to stick the current curriculum (option a) as sensible decisions isn’t the way Whitehall operates.  Anyone else get the “If it can be cut – cut it” type mentality?  On the same day as Cameron reminded us that our national debt is larger than Ron Jeremy’s libido.

It is no surprise that any “new spending” or “new project” would get cut but it seems like the Conservatives need to be clear and frank about the Primary Curriculum and their reasons for not proceeding with it after teachers have collectively spent tens of thousands of hours working towards delivering it.

Before Becta closes they have rushed through the Self review framework changes.

What do you think?  Do you think it will be option a or b?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

UPDATE:  In the meantime, the Department has advised schools that the existing primary curriculum will continue to be in force in 2011/12 and primary schools should plan on that basis.  Source


Home Access Problem – Please help!

When I’m visiting schools lately and talking about the home access scheme and how great it will be I’m always slapped across the face(baby powder included) by one huge, big, stinky question.

I try to encourage schools to allow pupils to bring their laptop in from home, when I ask the school:

Me: How are you going to support kids bringing their “home access laptop” in?

Teacher: “What about the kids who don’t get a laptop from the scheme?”

Me: Erm…??

Please help me answer the question!

Nearly all of the schools I work with have good enough wireless coverage to support this so it makes sense, right?  We have technical solutions in place for antivirus, updates and other technical risks..

Extending the Framework for IT support

We felt that the FITS (Framework for ICT Technical Support provided) could be modified to more embrace the specific needs of a primary school so we decided to create an extended version of the framework for all UK schools to use.

Completing an extended FITS report from your school will fulfill a lot of SRF requirements and is appreciated by OFSTED. We have had great success using this platform in Bradford and would like to share our findings.
We use the framework to ensure that schools can plan ICT activities and expenditure over the next 3 years and also ensure that if any school encounters any loss of quality of service.
You can complete an eFits for your school. The service is completely free and is very easy to use. To access the extended fits simply:
  1. Register/Login at Primary Technology ontrol Panel
  2. Click Support Tools then Click Framework for IT support
  3. Fill in the form and click OK
More reading on FITS (becta website)
Screen shots of a report:

Capita wins contract to deliver Home Access grant

No big surprise here, but what could it mean in real life terms?

Capita won the Becta contract to manage grant administration for the Home Access Programme, which provides computers and connectivity to low-income families Capita have £15.7 million to play with from 16th October 2009 to June 2011.

Some quick initial thoughts: Connectivity will obviously be provided by BT, estimated £20 per month for internet connectivity over 22 months is £440. Lets say capita take 10% as operation/admin/profit overheads. That leaves us with £14.3 million. Let’s estimate that 50% of the people who will require connectivity will also require a computer @ £300 (including support/licensing etc.). So that’s £440 on internet, £150 on a computer meaning they can allocate about £600 per person.

Quick initial maths estimates that 23,833 families could be impacted by this across the UK over the next 22 months.

Population of the UK is close to 61 million (source: CIA). This contract may impact 0.3% of the population. Is that enough?

Press release:

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Microsoft SESP Licensing – The reality

I read through all the Becta and Microsoft schpeil on their new licensing model (SESP) and how it is the best thing since sliced bread for education so I wanted to put it through its paces.

The first Edular I worked with refused point blank to quote me on SESP as it wasn’t in their system etc. They knew nothing about SESP – even its existence was a shock to them.

I went back to my MS licensing contact at Microsoft via Twitter and asked him if he had a recommendation on another Edular to try.. I also recommended he managed communication and training better with future education licensing models, he agreed.

The second Edular admitted they knew nothing but said they would investigate. A few days later after hearing nothing I rang them back to ask for an update, they sent me through a Select quote but not a SESP one so I emailed and rang back requesting SESP, 4 days later, still no quote….. On the 5th day I vented my frustration online and a third Edular (I didn’t know so many existed…) got in touch via twitter saying they can help and dropped me through ane email asking what I was looking for so I sent them an email with my requirements.

On the 7th day I was told by the Edular they were having some problems getting the actual pricing from Microsoft.

12 days later I still didn’t have a quote so I wrote a few tweets online which were picked up by some Microsoft people who then scurried away to ask the licensing team why Edulars couldn’t provide a quote.

14 days later I eventually have a price, thanks to Richard from Bechtle for all their hard work in helping me obtain these prices.

One of the things that’s different between Select and SESP if that you need to know the total amount of devices, amount of pupils and teachers inside of the school – as far as I’m aware with select licensing you just need machine count.

Lets compare the old vs the new pricing model

I have requested 2 pricing structures: Select & SESP.

For this experiment I’m supplying the Edular with machine and pupil counts for an average size 2 form entry Primary School in Bradford (480 pupils – 28 staff members) and requested the following licensing:

  • 2x server 2k8 standard licenses
  • 30x office 2k7 standard
  • 90x XP desktop cals

Basically in this model it works out at 5 pupils to 1 device. At this point in the article I think we should consider the value of this licensing prior to reading on to find out the actual costs..

Please take a few moments to think to yourself what you would pay for these licenses…

If you are like me you will want to pay about £30 per office license, £100 per server and £1 per CAL so a total of £1190. You will also take into consideration that in 3/5 years time your school may need to spend this level of money again to relicense newer versions.

With the SESP licensing you must annually renew each license.

The pricing I recieved was (rounded up/down):

£50 per standard server license

£13 per Office Enterprice license

£1.15 per CAL

So my total costs were:

£100 on servers per year

£390 on office per year

£103.5 on desktop cals

Total annual cost of a school licensing model (excluding any oem licenses) is £593.50.

These licenses include software assurance which is basically spin for receive the latest version free.

To summarize

Over a 5 year period schools under a SESP agreement will be paying £3,000 on licensing where as before they were paying between £1200-£1600.

Hopefully someone has made an error on pricing and I can update this article…

UPDATE: 06/12/2010  this article was never updated because MS sat on it and didn’t do jack ish.  They now have a new licensing model out.

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