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BSN News & Jobs - The IT Issue, with Key Leadership Opportunity

BSN has an exciting and rewarding Head of IT opportunity for an experienced IT professional with man
May 9 · Issue #68 · View online
The British School in The Netherlands
BSN has an exciting and rewarding Head of IT opportunity for an experienced IT professional with management experience. This is a role with a broad remit and the chance to have a tangible, strategic impact on the education of our students. Find out all you need to know about this role in the Recruitment Brochure.

We will be saying goodbye to our current Head of IT, Leon de Graaff, who is leaving to start up his own IT business. Leon has had a great impact on the BSN and will be very much missed. We asked him to reflect on his experience and to share any advice for his successor:

It’s been a fantastic time at the BSN; I’m forever grateful for the great time here. I’ve gained a lot of experience and have worked with great colleagues. I hope and trust my contribution to the BSN in the last 10 years has been appreciated, and that quality and reliability of IT both in the classroom and the offices has been what people needed it to be. I’m proud of what the team achieved in 10 years’ time. The technical equipment and infrastructure and its adoption in the classroom are now so much better than what it was in 2009.

My children continue to be in the BSN, so I’m happy to stay connected – be it in a bit of a different role. The job IT manager is a challenging one, with sometimes difficult decisions to make. The outside world is changing rapidly, but the BSN is ready and agile enough to face the changes and threats that take place. To find the balance between continuity, finance and technical possibilities can be tricky. I would recommend my successor to include his/her new ideas into an updated strategy, and work from there on.

I will dearly miss the great colleagues and the strong, positive atmosphere that I found almost every single day. I’m grateful to my fellow-managers and Board of Management, Board of Governors that I worked with, also the ones that have left the BSN now. Good luck to all of you!

We wish Leon all the best for the future!

To give you an insight into the complexity, variety and reward of providing IT support at a dynamic, forward-looking, multi-campus school, members of the IT Team describe their typical working day, what they enjoy most and the challenges. 

Cathy Colless, Senior Administrator:
It’s a small team so most of us are involved in both supporting the operational systems and also involved in projects. So I am not sure there is a typical day. On some days such as the start of term troubleshooting operational problems and supporting users fill my days. At other times of the year I can spend more time on projects or planning new developments.  

Recently I have been working on the paperless project, which I have really enjoyed . It’s very satisfying to see large filing cabinets being removed from offices. Oh and I guess I better say what great team I work with, actually it is true the IT Team do make work a fun place.

I work with sensitive personal data and of course I take the custodianship of this very seriously. GDPR laws protect the personal information of individuals and underpin all our data management policies and systems. Unfortunately this sometimes means I have to be the person pouring cold water on what might otherwise seem like a great idea.
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Richard Artes, Senior Administrator:
There is no typical day in IT. One day I am meeting potential suppliers of a new solution, showing them around a school and discussing the options. The next day I can be investigating why a lift telephone doesn’t work, or cleaning a server room, or upgrading a firewall, or installing an intercom. Investigating e-mail routing issues, testing windows updates or installing a new server. Replacing a broken hard disk, upgrading a fiber link or installing a new wifi access point. Applying for new security certificates, installing a new telephone or a new switch. Covering for colleagues on holiday means I get to do something different to a normal day, like backups or helpdesk tasks.
The list is endless!

Network and server skills are essential for me. That means Microsoft and Cisco training, exams and experience. Also a desire to learn new technologies and apply the learning. IT changes every 4 or 5 years, so we get new technology in quite often.
What is the biggest challenge?
Co-ordinating suppliers, contractors, teachers, heads, concierges, managers and the team to get a project completed. And, often in the holidays there are a lot of people away so decisions have to be deferred and payments are late. Holidays for teachers means an opportunity for us to replace, upgrade or renew, hopefully with no impact when they return.

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