[ubuntu-uk] Persuading a school to switch

Mac Ammonius.Grammaticus at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 26 00:03:16 GMT 2008


Stephen O'Neill wrote:
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> Mac wrote:
> | James Grabham wrote:
> |>> Its got nothing to do with the school, it will be up to the LEA
> |>> unfortunately.
> |
> | James >>> I don't think that's right:  schools make their own decisions
> | these days.  And there's actually no such thing as Local Education
> | Authorities any more (those ceased to exist as legal entities a couple
> | of years ago).  So Craig may have some success just in his own school.
> | Let's hope so!
> 
> 
> LEAs are now known as LAs - Local Authorities, but they're basically the
> ~ same thing as far as I know.

Briefly, and at the risk of straying off topic, the parts of Local 
Authorities that used to be called the Local Education Authority have 
been merged with what used to be children's social services into 
entities called Children's Services Authorities whose remit goes way 
beyond education, in respect of which the main functions have become on 
the one hand strategic and on the other inspectorial (mainly through 
oversight of School Improvement Partners who work directly with schools 
on school's own development agendas).  Schools, under the government's 
New Relationship with Schools policies, are very much their own masters, 
and manage their own budgets;  though they may, if they wish, buy 
services offered by various parts of Local Authorities.

But that's not Craig's main problem.  The continuing difficulty for free 
software in education is the unquestioned acceptance that M$ software is 
the de-facto standard that employers will expect young people to use.

At the highest level in IT in the Local Authority where I work (not in 
IT but in the education bit of Children's Services) the mere mention of 
Linux is immediately dismissed with ill-disguised derision.  But that's 
the corporate organisation.  Individual schools up and down the country 
are taking their own decisions about free software.  Not many.  But 
enough for the adventurous and far-sighted and those who care more about 
education than about shaping the labour market not to feel entirely 
alone.  And the Vista debacle, the cost of upgrading hardware to run 
Vista and Office 2007, and the Danegeld schools must go on paying to 
Microsoft, are all factors that are starting to cause financial managers 
to challenge their IT colleagues to consider alternaives - as the BECTA 
report, too, enjoins them to do.

Phew.  End of rant.  But my hope is with young men like Craig, who have 
a sense of the significance of Ubuntu and other free software at a time 
in their lives when not being told what to do - by teachers, parents, 
Bill Gates, or anyone else - matters enough for them to find ways of 
being their own people.

More power to you, Craig!

Mac



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