In part 5 of this series on creating a culture of innovation, we consider another aspect of delegation, and a special type of fund.Read More
More money for training teachers of Computing -- woo hoo! But is it in millions or billions?Read More
I suffer from an unfortunate form of doublethink. In my personal life, I tend not to be an early early adopter. That’s because I rarely have an urgent need for whatever it is the new technology has to offer. However, when I was head of department in a school, and then when I ran a team of advisors and technical support staff in a local authority, I was very keen to spend money on brand new stuff.
Becta. The Harnessing Technology grant. Building Schools for the Future. The once-familiar landmarks of the English educational technology landscape are disappearing or gone. The indications are that they are being followed by City Learning Centres. These CLCs, set up around a decade ago to both provide facilities for local businesses and serve as beacons of innovation and excellence to the schools in a locality, are being closed down, threatened with closure, or reduced in staffing and funding. The question is, though: should we mourn?
I haven't looked into these claims, but according to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, there's a lot of money to be saved through the use of technology:
- £650 million from greater use of collaborative procurement in schools. DCSF will provide support to schools through its procurement programme, enabling schools to use secure electronic procurement through the Educational Procurement Centre. DCSF will also support up to 250 groups of mainly primary schools each year to benefit from a shared schools business manager.
- £50 million through schools lowering energy usage, using energy display meters which will be available to all schools that want them, enabling schools to typically reduce energy consumption by between 5 and 15 per cent.
On the first point, there has been quite a lot said recently about Gordon Brown, the Pime Minister, wanting to increase the facilities offered by government departments to enable people to conduct their business with officialdom over the internet. Again, I haven't delved into it, but at first glance it seems like a welcome development to me. There is little more depressing and time-consuming than waiting in line in a government building, trying to get something done: doing it online is a far better prospect.
I have serious doubts about the idea of energy meters. I can imagine kids (especially boys) wanting to see how far they can make the number rise! I can see such things working in a domestic environment, where the effect of doing X on energy consumption is fairly immediately apparent, and where everyone has a personal interest in using the information to reduce energy consumption. But in a school environment? I have my doubts.
I'd be interested to hear what others think of this idea.