I know I have not posted in a while and it has been even longer since a school techie post. The reason for this is I have been looking for a new job and now I have one. Not working in school.
I will still try to keep up to date with the developments and technical side of things in education but I feel not having hands on day to day involvement this blog may become more of a general geeky blog, with much less support for what is happening in schools.
The reasons for this career change are numerous. Firstly with BSF coming in the school has decided to go over to a managed service. My job will not exist anymore in the school and I will be reduced to swapping keyboards and mice (for whatever time my TUPE contract protects me from being got rid of). Also they have decided to cut our hours and wages. Instead of working 52 weeks we are only contracted for 41 weeks and therefore our (already appalling) pay is reduced by around 12%. This combined with the terrible way we are treated in school has led me to leave.
When I started there were 7 members of the IT support team, now (with twice as many computer rooms, more than double the amount of projectors, whiteboards, laptops and software) there are 3. With aging equipment that the school refuses to replace, reducing our contracts to 41 weeks will mean the workload is nearly impossible at one of the biggest schools in the city. I have already been called in on my holidays numerous times as the school needed support and carried my holidays over the last few years. How do they expect to cope with 41 week support?
I was promised when I took over from my predecessor that by the time BSF would come in I would be on the same wages he was on. As you can guess this has not happened. With council pay reviews and timing the contracts to end 31st March I have missed out on my pay rises. So I have been doing more work and with more responsibility for practically nothing. 3 years later and I am still on 3K a year less than him.
But it is not all about money. A major reason is the way we get treated. Not just by students mouthing off all the time (and a couple of times I have been hit probably because they know we can't do anything about it) but by teachers too. We are treated like the scum of the school. According to them we aren't allowed lunch breaks (always get given a job which, to them, is urgent and has to be done as soon as my hot food is paid for in the canteen. Or complained about to the senior staff because I went to the Post Office on my lunch half hour), we aren't allowed to finish on time, WHEN WE STOP GETTING PAID (because a member of staff needed this doing and it is not good enough that there was no one in IT support, or an upgrade needs doing so you have to do it out of hours but you don't get overtime or time back) and even though we don't start work until 8AM, IN OUR CONTRACT, we get shouted at for not being around an hour or so earlier because some b***h could not get her email.
The electricity goes out at a nearby substation as the transformers melted, IT SUPPORTS FAULT (told in staff briefing no one could do anything because the computers didn't work, got spoken too poorly by teachers for computer not coming on WHEN THE EMERGENCY LIGHTING IS ON AND NOTHING ELSE ELECTRICAL WORKS 7 HOURS AFTER BEING TOLD THE ELECTRICITY IS OFF FOR EVERYONE). The kettle isn't working, IT. Broken window, IT. Need a desk moving, IT. Move filling cabinets, IT. Replacing toilet roll and soap, IT. Opening and locking the gates, IT. Turn the heating down, IT (had this one today). Teachers too lazy to do the washing up, IT IT IT!!!
We have had hundreds of pounds worth of damage in the last few days. The school won't replace it as we have no IT budget due to BSF and the school needs to find £240K. So we get blamed for the state of equipment.
We have admin staff that require their hand holding everyday because the school has hired admin staff THAT DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE COMPUTERS.
We have teachers that fill the IT help desk with jobs despite being shown every day how to do a simple task and blame us despite the fact they didn't turn up when we put on training and they went home instead.
We get the blame because the LEA have blocked a site. Told a few times we have to find a way around it, despite the fact that YHGFL block a lot of stuff because of Porn, Paedophilia and viruses.
We have been ordered to do things I won't go into here regarding licenses and software from the top of the schools management structure. This in conjunction with teachers doing their usual trick of installing software and copyrighted material illegally.
Repeatedly spoke to line managers about the situation but was fobbed off. Like when we asked to see our job descriptions and job families when we went through pay and regrading. Some technicians in 'Business' job family, some in 'Technical' and some in 'ID' whatever that is. No explanation, no job description, nothing.
People here have a 'Hollywood' attitude to IT. If someone works in IT in two clicks it should be fixed and a hundred times faster. I had a member of the admin staff this week wanting me to completely re-write this companies software because she 'didn't like it and it was too complicated'. For a start it would be against the license agreement to alter the software and anyway I AM NOT A PROGRAMMER. Saying 'well your good with computers' does not mean I can write you a piece of software it took a professional company and a team of people years to perfect in a few minutes.
We are consistently ignored (when we are carrying a heavy computer or printer get out the way instead of blocking the stairs chatting) and not involved in any of the decision making (40 new netbooks, Ipods, Iphones, Nintendo DS's? Where did these come from? What you want them working on our network for next lesson? But you haven't bought any wireless access points? Or you do know that the RAID card has died in the server that has ALL THE SCHOOL DATA ON, where is the money for that?). We don't get told the most basic or most important information about the school (you are doing an IT exam today and need accounts setting up, a printer and software installing?). Or worse, we are talked to like we were scrapped off someones shoe.
In short. I am leaving school IT.