Technical support to schools

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

eduSTAR.TSS

While schools retain responsibility for their overall technical support, the Department assists schools to support their IT environment through eduSTAR.TSS (Technical Support to Schools), formerly known as the TSSP.

eduSTAR.TSS provides assistance for:

  • routine and operational support − which includes local technical requirements such as maintaining desktop computers, printers and software and managing user accounts. This may complement the technical support presently in place in schools.
  • specialist technical support − involves skilled technicians servicing school networks specialist needs for services. Specialist technicians may also assist schools with other ICT requirements such as planning and implementation advice, staff professional development, purchasing advice and other duties requested by the school. Specialist technical support allocations are calculated on a base allocation per school, plus an amount based on student enrolments.

Routine support

Funding for this level of support is provided directly to schools via their global budgets. Schools are required to use this funding to purchase any form of additional ICT technical support required by the school. This may include, but is not limited to, maintaining computers, printers and software, delivering professional development sessions or designing and building local computer networks. This funding is to be spent on ICT technical support only and schools are required to account for expenditure of this money.

School may choose to hire any combination of:

  • local technicians
  • IT trainees
  • direct negotiation with contracting companies to purchase additional specialist technician time to carry out this work

Specialist support

Specialist technical support is provided through contracted technicians recommended by the 64 state-wide cluster committees.

Technicians are engaged to provide pro-active and reactive specialist technical support for ICT infrastructure, professional development and DEECD initiatives including:

  • the roll-out of CASES equipment
  • CASES21
  • Notebooks for Teachers and Principals
  • proxy servers
  • VicSmart (Wide Area Network)
  • Internet services
  • Network and systems performance and security
  • Internet, Intranet and email services

One specialist technician is the primary point of contact for each school, and is the usual technician attending on scheduled visits. Technicians work in schools during scheduled hours determined by Network Committees, not on call from offices.

Network-based management

Specialist technical support is delivered through 64 statewide networks. The committee for each network - with assistance from the Department - recommends, appoints and manages the contracted specialist technicians for that network.

The committees may include representation from all schools in the cluster and are required to liaise with the co-ordinating specialist technician who co-ordinates the technicians contracted to the network.

Network committee responsibilities

Committees assume ownership for delivering specialist technical support including:

  • selecting contractors to service networks (with assistance from the Department's Information Technology Division)
  • managing contractor performance
  • setting overall goals and priorities for specialist support
  • setting attendance schedules for each school
  • resolving local issues between schools and contracted technicians
  • modifying fortnightly schedules to suit particular needs
  • appointing a school to pay the contractors.

Assistance for network committees

The Department:

  • ensures network administering schools have funding to pay contracted technicians
  • provides a business and operations website containing policies, procedures and online discussion. See: TechRoom
  • provides a time sheet facility for contracted specialist technicians. This can be viewed by network committees, schools and the Department
  • assists with advertising, recruiting and selecting candidates for vacancies. This includes collating applications, assisting on interview panels and assisting the network committee in making a recommendation.
  • gets involved in direct contract negotiation and contract management with the panel of suppliers
  • provides communication to network committees, schools and contracted technicians
  • provides tools (software), alerts (such as virus alerts) and some training to assist the contracted technicians deliver their services
  • assisting network committee to resolve escalated conflicts
  • provides additional assistance such as negotiating additional travelling time or additional annual travelling expenses with contractors for remote, regional networks.