Saturday, February 28, 2009

BSF - building or transformation programme?

Ever been disappointed by what appears in the press? Putting the record straight about comments attributed to myself in the TES recently presents an opportunity to explain how optimistic I am.

I was quoted as saying, "Chris Poole has led Microsoft's involvement with the programme for the past four years, but he says despite claims from the Government that every school will be brought up to the same standard in ICT, he has yet to see a real "transformation".

Apparently I went on to comment, "The programme is little more than a building and ICT project," Mr Poole said. "I don't think the Government has thought about how it is going to manage true transformational change." .... and then ..... "Microsoft is concerned over ICT provision, dubbing BSF "just a building project".

Some pretty casual reporting here but it does afford the opportunity to say what I really think!

I do believe there is a danger of BSF becoming a 'building + ICT' programme but I am optimisitic. Why?

In particular because of the work I am doing with a growing number of very progressive LAs.

For a few years we have been working closely with LAs like Knowsley, Sandwell and Sheffield who see BSF as a transformation programme and further a catalyst for much wider renewal and regeneration of their communities. In the last year or so I have been asked by a number of other LAs to support their efforts to avoid their BSF investments going down a building programme route.

So I am optimistic because (and if):
  • There are a growing number of LAs who see BSF as a transformation programme
  • Focus of debate and discussion shifts from buildings to transformation through ICT
  • Market matures so there are more ‘expert’ and demanding clients
  • Celebrate success well beyond the new buildings that are opening
  • Bring more ICT innovation into market through supply side
  • ICT given higher profile. 20% of marks and notionally 10% of funding but, as in other areas of our lives, capable of enabling circa 80% of the transformation!

So what are we doing about that?
4 big questions that rebound around this programme and at all levels:

  • Why change? Why not improve what we already do (incremental)
  • Transformation? What could that look like?
  • How do I embark on this journey and move from where I am to somewhere better?
  • Where are the exemplars?

    …. and what have we done and are doing …….
  • Support and help to accelerate work of progressive LAs – I have sat client side as a ‘critical friend’ in 2 procurements
  • Invested in showcases to show illustrations of what a transformed learning experience could look like. Worked with LAs to develop these. Not blue skies. Based on view that the technology already exists to deliver these ideas.
  • Deliver endless numbers of workshops and events to ‘open minds and raise awareness’
  • Teachers - through our Innovative Teachers programme we are working with 5 LAs to develop a scalable and sustainable model of CPD that can reach all teachers but focussed on great learning, supported by ICT
  • Leaders – through our Innovative Schools programme we are linking schools around the world on the same journey and contributing resources to help eg deep case studies at

........ and more …..

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