Working Thursdays

July 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

One of the issues for Middle Management within IT is how to structure your work schedule. In my particular case, my teachers contract does not suite the role requirements particularly well. I have chosen to work Thursdays (an odd meeting here and there) and the last week of the summer holidays to ensure the IT development is successful and that IT infrastructure is in place for the start of the new school year. These additional days are vital very important, but should I have to work an extra 10 days a year? Should I ask for these days in lieu? What is the best solution?

The benefits of working intermittently through the summer;

  • Personal learning and greater understanding of the IT infrastructure.
  • Discussing and reflecting on decisions taken during the first week of the summer.
  • Planning meetings are thorough, uninterrupted and can involve all IT staff.
  • Involvement in the development of the Laptops 4 Learning project; ensuring that we reach our inclusion targets of 75%. 
  • Meeting opportunities with IT agencies and suppliers. 
  • Increased accountability of the IT team and the ability to respond to issues early.

Although I thoroughly enjoy both the teaching and the strategy development aspects of the The ‘Director of E Learning’ role, I am unsure as to whether it would not be better suited to an IT professional / business manager. It is impossible to assure your own headteacher that IT development will be successfully carried out without your personal involvement and that in turn means working some part of your summer holidays.

My wife is a big fan of Sarah Beeny, the ‘Property Ladder’ presenter and expert. Show after show, we watch prospective property developers ignore her invaluable advice. One common mistake is their ignorance of her insistance to attentive project management. Although the summer project may only be 4-6 weeks (staff holidays accounted for) I am certainly not expecting an IT summer project to manage itself but I am not willing to work all summer either. One day a week on site and emails is in my opinion permissible.

Sarah Beeny’s final rule is account, accounts, accounts. The numbers must add up. The schools IT budget is the largest budget I have had to manage so far in my career. It am very conscious of what and where we are spending. Although this year our financial committment on single items of IT is much less, I am still committed to keeping a close eye on spending. Whilst working these days is not compulsory, I would not be confident in my conversations with the Senior Leadership Team that we were doing all we can to make ICT and IT a leading contributory factors in the schools improvements.

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