Collaboration Process

Case Study
Current Situation
Ten years ago when the primary school was closed down in a tiny Welsh hamlet, the 56 pupils aged between four and eleven faced a journey of almost 10 miles to attend schools in the nearest large town. The town had a number of first schools, three middle schools and a one large high school. The parents were horrified. The children were to be split between two first schools and a middle school which was situated on their side of the town.
The children had been used to small class sizes – part of the reason that the school was closed down was because of the low number of children. The 56 children were spread across the year groups 0 to 6. Lower down the school, classes were taught together and this had benefitted some bright children who were now a year ahead. The parents held a meeting and Dr. Matthew Letterdearne, a local consultant, decided to purchase the Victorian school building with the intention of running it as an independent school.
Eight of the teachers and the head teacher were persuaded to stay and a trust was formed. A board of twelve trustees led by Dr. Letterdearne and comprising a group of local businessmen and parents was quickly established. The trust raised substantial funds in the first month. These were put towards a scholarship fund to ensure that although every child’s place would have to be paid for, the school could offer scholarships and bursaries to less well off families. In spite of this, twelve children left the school citing lack of money as the problem. However, a year later, a year 7 cohort was established and new children came in to year 0. Finances were still tight but the school was growing.
Ten years on, the school has grown substantially and now takes children from nursery to year 11. In addition to the old Victorian school house now housing the preparatory school it has acquired an old brewery (now the senior college) and a large detached house across the road (which was converted into the nursery). There are now 211 children and 36 members of staff including 5 full-time and 23 part-time teachers, the head teacher, three nursery staff, a part-time librarian/marketing manager, four kitchen staff, an IT manager an odd job man/gardener and a cleaner.
The trustees have recently decided to offer boarding for pupils in years 7 to 11. This will enable them to recruit pupils from other areas of the UK and abroad. They have identified a run-down pub to turn into a boarding house and this is scheduled to open in 12 months.
ICT support for this operation is limited to a number of software packages holding

  •  Information about current pupils
  •  Details of the staff who work there
  •  Details on interested parents who have attended open days and records of contact with them
  •  School policy documents and curriculum material
    NOTE: The package also produces monthly and annual returns (on paper) that are submitted to companies house.The packages are hosted on a central server that is accessed by from each location by a number of old PCs donated eight years ago and mostly running windows XP. The server also hosts an email and diary system to support the business processes of the organisation. The school does not have broadband but communication capacity is more than adequate for the traffic it currently carries. Internet access is only available from the senior building which also houses the office areas. Browser based access has been tried directly from the remote locations but, given the capacity of the connection, ran so slowly it was not tolerable.

After turning the school into a viable business, the trustees feel that there is a need for an IT strategy to take the school into the 21 st century.

Read through the CASE STUDY carefully. Complete the following tasks
All Tasks are INDIVIDUAL
1. The current IT systems at the school are hopelessly inadequate and too old to be part of a future solution. On top of this the IT manager has handed in notice of his wish to retire. The school bursar has put forward the idea of outsourcing the IT management role to an organisation rather than trying to replace the IT manager. The organisation would be tasked

  •   Developing an IT strategy to support the management of the business processes and teaching and learning processes of the school
  •  Managing the Implementation and supporting and maintaining the IT solution
    List with brief explanations, the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing this role with respect to this case study.
    List with brief explanations, the advantages and disadvantages of in-sourcing with respect to this case study.
    Provide a recommendation for the school in terms of in-sourcing or outsourcing and explain the basis for your decision.[20 marks]
    2. a. Following several meetings with teachers, the board of trustees has requested that all teaching staff should have access to the school information systems to provide them with the information they need to support their role, to facilitate and manage communication and collaboration with other staff and to store information from processes such as registration. Several possibilities have been suggested as follows:
  •  Provide each staff member with a tablet
  •  Provide each staff member with a lap top
  •  Provide 20 PCs in the staff room
    Decide which criteria will be important to the school in making the decision.

Create a multi-criteria decision matrix to assist with the decision making process and make a recommendation to the school.

[20 marks]
b. The board recognises the need to manage the information and knowledge that the school has accrued. Discuss the terms “Information Management” and “Knowledge Management” giving examples of how these processes could be facilitated through the use of ICT and how they would benefit to the school.

[10 marks]
3. The trustees have committed £350,000 to convert the pub into a boarding house for 40 pupils. The conversion will take a year and in that 12 month period, they hope that pupils will apply to join the school in the next academic year. They have forecast that the school will recruit around 10 students per year but accept that it may lose some students – at least 1 each year. They wish to see the profitability over a five year period from the start of the conversion with these figures but also to be able to “play around with the numbers”. Create a spreadsheet model to help with this using the following figures:
Boarders will pay fees of £8000 per term.
The following are costs associated with each boarder per term
Food at school 150
Airport turnaround trip 50
Lodge food and sundries 420
Tuition (average) 3500
The Following annual fees associated with the boarding house staff
Resident housemistress 1 per 20 borders 18000
Resident matron 10000
Nurse (occasional visits) 1000
Second matron (cover for each house mistress) 5000
Cook – (part of school kitchen team) 2500
Cleaner (part of school cleaning team) 1000
The following are annual building related costs
Maintenance 4000
Utilities 2500
Insurance 3000
Remember to take into account the cost of conversion

[30 marks]
4. As preparation for overseas pupils starting to study for UK external examinations such as GCSE and A levels in Letterdeane College, the school offers a number of custom courses which they develop tutors and heads of schools in other countries. These courses include TEFL and cultural work as well as grounding in the subjects to be taken. This ensures that the students gain the terminology in those areas as well as knowledge of standard English. A key requirement in the development process is for teachers to be able to collaborate with overseas tutors and to capture the views of and disseminate outputs to other stakeholders such as the parents of prospective pupils.
Recommend and cost out three software products which could be used as part of a solution to facilitate the collaboration process. Describe and explain the benefits of each piece of software with reference to alternatives, the case study and your earlier answers in this coursework. List any hardware that would be required and discuss any issues (legal, social, moral or ethical) that might arise from the use of the software and the collaboration process generally. (circa 1000 words).

[20 marks]

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