An area of priority for all of our supported schools and a service we are able to provide to any school on a discrete project-basis is the development of a three-to-five-year ICT strategy. Partnership Education believes that having a clear strategy in place should be the starting point for any programme of investment or development and allows proactive decision making and planning, leading to better end results.
It can be difficult for school IT Managers to step back from the day-to-day maintenance of the network and support of users to make wider assessments and long-term plans. This can however lead to reactive decision making, reactive spend/budgeting and inefficient use of available resources in the long run, making it difficult for ICT to deliver to a school’s long-term objectives.
On top of facing the above issues at each of their individual schools, MATs face a range of wider challenges in managing ICT at a central level, ensuring minimum standards and compliance are maintained across the board while improving outcomes and utilising economies of scale where appropriate. These challenges may include:
- Small to Medium size Trusts not having the scope to have dedicated, specialist IT expertise (such as a Trust IT Director or CTO) within the Trust Leadership Team
- As Trusts form, they comprise multiple schools all with legacy ICT estates, systems and ways of working. To enable growth, they may then want to have more oversight and control over the way key functions are provided, including Finance, HR and IT
- There will be a constant trade-off and strategic decision to be made around how to manage ICT as a Trust. At one end of the spectrum is a prescriptive, centralised approach and at the other is a laissez faire, distributed approach allowing schools to make their own choices and manage ICT how they see fit.
Our reviews take a two-pronged approach to strategy development, working both “top-down” (Identification of ICT Vision, Long term objectives) and “bottom-up” (technical reviews, risk assessments and user feedback gathering) before working with the school to develop a plan which can align those two components with a costed three-to-five-year development programme. This will include:
- Workshops with school/Trust leadership and curriculum leads to establish the vision and objectives for ICT
- On-site technical reviews of all ICT systems and devices to provide a RAG-rated, prioritised overview of the condition of all existing hardware
- Staff and student surveys to assess user-level usage of technology and current challenges
- Development of a sustainable device refresh strategy to keep user devices and classroom AV up to date
- Planning of an affordable schedule of infrastructure refresh to ensure ongoing reliability and performance of core systems
- Development of a three-to-five-year strategy including school and Trust level projects, along with the associated long term ICT budget plan, accounting for all discussed capital and revenue costs