Update November 9th 2012
The information below has been superceded by the events of October 31st / November 1st.
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Planning Broadband for Leicester and Leicestershire Schools
In the meeting at the King Power Stadium the suppliers approved for the emPSN supply to schools were given the opportunity to discuss and present the options available.
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Shame on BT for not turning up at such little notice. Updata didn’t bother either.
This session was a fantastic example of ”What you think you heard isn’t what we think we’ve said” and I, personally, was very disappointed with the session.
I modified my views a little after I had the chance to have detailed discussions with a table of head teachers (new collective noun) and some proper discussions with 2 of the providers – KCom and Capita.
So – what was wrong with this session?
The perceived expectation from the schools – bearing in mind the date – did not appear to be the perceived expectation of the presenters. To be fair to EMBC it doesn’t say the word “price” on their website. Shame that, because a lot of people expected “.. service options..” to be fairly comprehensive.
It is nearly February – the cost of broadband from November 1st 2012 to April 5th 2013 will come out of the 2012/13 budget, which starts in 9 weeks. The head teachers I spoke with need to know.
The “haven’t we been good for 10 years” booklet was also coldly received as a quango wasting public money. (Personal view – mine).
On the bright side (there is one), the suppliers do have information which will allow schools to “Stay the same and get better”, but the engineer’s maxim is required. If you can’t get the right answer, change the question.
The format of the session could have been greatly improved with a proper open question and answer session with the suppliers at the front of the room.
From my discussions with the existing suppliers KCom and Capita (Synetrix) and groups of schools – this looks like an option:-
Starting from this viewpoint “I as a headteacher would like minimum disruption to ICT over the next year or so and I would like to know what my financial outlay can come down to in order to achieve this” and add in flexibility, development options and pick and mix pricing. KCom and Capita look like they will be able to do this.
In the presentations it was clear that the larger the group and the longer the contract, then the better the deal. The word cluster was mentioned. This was heard by the audience as ‘family’ or ‘development group’ but was said by the persenter as ‘a large group – it could be the whole county’.
If I was a headteacher with masses of pressures I would buy time. By that I mean I would look for a way to work forward cost effectively from here and give myself enough time to make proper decisions based on what we become as a school in the future.
I would find the most cost effective way to retain something like the services in place and I would look for an 18 month contract. That would then provide a contract up to April 2014, which brings the internet contract back into line with school budgets.
The most cost effective way may be to make a ‘super cluster’ which includes schools from many seperate families and development groups.
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