This time of year, Datacable’s customers are eagerly looking round to see if they can get better value for money by changing suppliers. Of course you are, it’s your job, and we welcome it. Keeps us on our toes. But choosing an ICT support company requires really hard analysis.
Competing companies eager to grab new business will offer incentives and unsustainably low first year ‘teaser’ prices, unfortunately for us. We know – we do the same ourselves. What, then, can Datacable offer that’s better for you than changing companies every year, to take advantage of the annual auction, and to search actively for better service?
It’s hard for us to compete in the auction, because one of the things we think we do right is pay our technicians fair salaries. And we aren’t going to change that.
The truth is, continuity is in itself a real benefit. Like in your job – you know what would happen if the school tried out a new head or new business manager every year. Chaos. I am not suggesting that our role is as important as yours. But we all have the same learning curve, the same time to get up to speed and begin to influence things.
A technician who knows where the server and the toilets are has made a start. A few months in and he or she will know and be known by you and most of your staff. By that time, they should be developing some loyalty to the school, and be on the way to being useful. After a year on site they have probably already had unhappy experiences in the remoter corners of your network, and know where to look when it happens again. Only then will a good technician with the right attitude begin to work efficiently.
Of course, this depends on the support company being able to guarantee some sort of continuity by recruiting and retaining good staff. We believe that this is one of Datacable’s strengths.
A changeover DOES cost. It takes a year for a technician to get up to speed on your incredibly complicated (and probably temperamental) network. Don’t imagine that a superhero is going to appear and make everybody happy on day one. Don’t underestimate how difficult our job is.
In fact I’d put a figure on it. I’d guess that every time you change companies, the troubles and inefficiencies and unfamiliarity and extra monitoring and hand-holding in the first year will be the equivalent of about £2000 worth of time lost to you and to the technician.
One year – maybe this year – a change will be justified. But it won’t be free or easy. Factor in that £2000 when you make your decision.
From time to time we like to offer our schools incentives that we consider a genuine help to your ICT development. We know that schools are stil finding their way with the new primary computing curriculum framework; it’s been a huge new project to take on. Even those that have got that sewn up may be struggling with the early years framework.
Currently, we are working with FantastICT (www.fantastict.co.uk), a firm in Staffordshire whose work we admire, to supply you with their clear and well-presented schemes of work – the Primary Computing Curriculum Framework and the Bury Primary Computing Solution: EYFS. These retail for £275 and £200 respectively, and are well worth the money.
But if Datacable customers ask us, we will buy one scheme for you. This is a serious work of high quality that will save you hours of research and planning and preparation. It’s certainly not a throwaway freebie. It’s something you need. Call us!
Better outcomes for pupils – more confidence for teachers. It’s more than just a slogan!
E-safety should be very high on the list of your school’s concerns. The internet provides new and constantly mutating threats of child exploitation; and it’s everybody’s job to monitor what children are exposed to, and to enforce the school’s policies. Including ours; Datacable technicians may not be directly responsible for the protection of your pupils, but they should be expected to notice things and draw them to the school’s attention. We felt that we needed some training on this.
The CEOP (Child Exploition and Online Protection) certificate is a simple place to start. It’s a certificate issued by the UK Police to indicate that you have had an introduction to the risks children are exposed to on the internet. We strongly recommend that your staff have this certificate as absolutely vital evidence that you can produce to Ofsted. It’s not difficult; we have it, and if you ask us, we can help you get it too. As so often, Susan Cutsforth is an excellent trainer, and we recommend her.
Beyond CEOP, there is the the 360 degree safe accreditation, which (if it can be awarded to businesses) we are hoping to achieve soon. You start with an online self-review, and when this has been satisfactorily completed, you will be visited by an assessor who will complete your accreditation. With a little time, effort and help, any school can (and should) achieve this certification.
On March 6th, we were invited to attend the splendid opening, by Ed Balls, of Morley Newlands’ beautiful new school building. It is really a wonderful building, and the head, the governors, the architect and the builders are to be congratulated. The staff and children put on a fantastic opening ceremony.
I was delighted to be invited to the occasion, and amazed to find Datacable being publicly thanked for our part of the work. It is not often we get a round of applause, a bottle of wine, and a handshake from an eight-year-old as a reward for doing our job.
Datacable were asked last summer, at very short notice, to install a large and comprehensive infrastructure – networking, wireless, touch-screens, pcs, laptops, servers, and a large hall projector. The plan was that everything was to be brand new, a whole new system built from scratch. It was a massive project, and more than half our staff were involved. And I am very proud to say that in the final rush to get everything ready on time, Datacable employees maintained their reputation for calm, competent, unflappability and cheerful professionalism.
In his opening speech, Adrian Stygall, the head, said some very complimentary things about us. “In three weeks, Datacable completed the whole undertaking, which worked faultlessly from day one. It is unprecedented in my experience for such a huge transformation to go without a single hitch.”
The message is – if you are having ANY building work in your school, bring us in early. We are good at it, we give free advice, we understand your budget. And we understand next year’s IT requirements – important details like how to lay out electrical arrangements on teaching walls – better than most architects and engineers. If you want it to go smoothly, talk to us. Ask Adrian if want confirmation!
NMSP. We are very proud to announce that Datacable are now holders of the NAACE Mark for Service providers. Naace accreditation is the gold standard of quality assurance and professional recognition. Some of our schools have already achieved the NAACE mark; few of our competitors have.
We have always worked hard to give a high-quality professional service to our customers, and it is very gratifying to have this recognised and endorsed by the most competent authority. Your school should have the same public endorsement of YOUR excellence in ICT. Now we are well placed to help you achieve it.
Schools’ computer networks demand higher and higher standards of reliability and professionalism. Now, we can offer an independently verified assurance of quality. Nobody, locally, is more qualified than us.
To our knowledge we are the only Service Provider in Yorkshire to have this accreditation.