Back in August I posted about what a great Summer I had and how much I was looking forward to the challenges of Autumn 2007 – mainly around Glow, the Scottish Learning Festival and managing an office move in Dundee.
Progress with Glow has been good, 16 of the 32 local authorities have already signed the Customer Agreement (effectively the licence to access the service) with another 5 indicating that they ready to sign early in 2008. Six local authorities have started the process of rolling out Glow to their schools. Overall the project has been delivered as a technical solution by our contractor RM – on time, to specification and within budget (not bad for a large scale public sector IT project). The pace of uptake was always going to be dependent on the readiness of the local authorities and despite the many challenges they face significant progress has been made right across the country. Glow was never supposed to be a quick technology fix but rather an investment in a standard set of tools and access to a national learning environment for every learner and teacher in Scotland.
Again good progress here building on strong foundations built up over a number of years. The event has been reshaped from SETT to SLF with the focus on ICT shifting towards an event with broader coverage of learning, teaching and cpd. In terms of visitors, seminars and exhibitors it was a record breaking couple of days. Early indications from the formal evaluation carried out by George Street Reseach show that over 9/10 visitors rated the event as very good or good with similar scores for how well the event supported their cpd.
Dundee Office Move
LTS HQ is in Glasgow but we have retained a small office (c 40 staff) in Dundee. LTS (previously SCCC and SCDS) has had a presence in Dundee since 1971.
Again good progress as we have managed to secure a new office and find a better location for our distribution centre. The move to the new distribution centre will take place in January pretty much as planned. The office move we have agreed with the Scottish Government has been delayed. As a result of this we will have a temporary move for up to 9 months. I can’t say ‘as planned’ but this was not too hard to predict and we started the process of finding an interim office six months ago.
Looking Ahead to 2008
Glow remains the biggest thing on my agenda as we move from delivering a technology, through rolling it out to local authorities and schools, to supporting teachers and learners in the context of Curriculum for Excellence. We have had a lot of international interest in Glow, ranging from Wales and Northern Ireland to Singapore and Australia, and I expect a lot more next year.
The LTS Online Service continues to grow and develop (this blog is part of it) with around 40,000 web pages to support Scottish education. The challenge over the next couple of years will be to weave the LTS Online Service into Glow to provide a more personalised/customised experience for our users.
We have already started work on SLF 08 (and 09) and future events will be closely interwoven into the development of Curriculum for Excellence and the related engagement with the teaching and learning professions. I think we now have a formula that works and a scale that is just about right but we need to make sure that we continue to innovate to ensure that we maximise the overall impact of the event and provide good value to the public purse.
Still lots to do to ensure a smooth transition between offices in Dundee. My job here is make sure that my colleagues in Dundee are able to get on with their jobs without any worries.
LTS has a challenging agenda as we seek to improve the quality of our work, maximise our impact and support the local authorities in the delivery of the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes. Like the rest of the public sector we are expected to make year on year efficiencies so there are some tough decisions ahead.
‘May you live in interesting times’ is a Chinese curse but to my mind the alternative sounds pretty dull. The world of education will always be interesting. As long as our society, culture, economy continue to develop and the world around us continues to change we will need a dynamic education system. An education system that is not only able to respond and adapt to external changes but also one that gives our young people the best start in life and the opportunity to make the future their own.