Paul Shoesmith has a wide range of experience of working with schools, suppliers, local authorities and government departments covering all aspects of the use of Information and Communications technology.
In October 2010, following the announcement of Becta’s closure by the coalition government, he set up a new company IET Associates Limited with former Becta colleagues Mike Briscoe and Nick Shacklock. IET Associates is a not for profit company, operating as a social enterprise, specialising in advice on the effective use and deployment of technology solutions in education. The company also undertakes project commissions, consultancy and conference or training activities.
He joined Becta, a UK government agency which supports all four UK education departments in their strategic ICT developments, as Assistant Director for Technical Policy and Standards in June 2004, and was appointed as Director, Technical Strategy in June 2007. He was responsible for a team that worked with school, local authority and regional broadband consortium staff and industry to develop standards and specifications for school networks and the applications and services that are used on them, and for the National Education Network. The purpose of these standards is to make sure that learners and teachers have access to coherent, reliable and sustainable ICT services which support teaching and learning, and the management of learning. The result should be technology that works first time, every time, for everyone, wherever and whenever they need it. One of the main areas that Paul was involved in was the implementation of the recommendations of Becta’s 2005 report on school management information systems and value for money, which included the introduction of a supplier independent and open interoperability architecture, and he continues to provide a leadership role with the SIF Association in the UK.
Before joining Becta Paul worked for Birmingham Education Service for 18 years. He installed the first computerised management information systems in Birmingham schools in the late 1980s, and was a key part of the project team which subsequently delivered these systems into all 450 Birmingham schools over a four year period. He had lead responsibility for the implementation of financial systems in schools, and later was responsible for support and technical ICT services for schools. He subsequently led the design, implementation and management of the Birmingham Grid for Learning network, providing a wide area network including internet access to all of Birmingham’s schools, one of the pathfinder local authorities in the governments National Grid for Learning programme. He was also involved with the West Midlands Regional Broadband Consortium (WMnet), a collaborative group operating across 14 local authorities with over 2,000 schools, and chaired the WMnet Technical Group for 4 years.
Paul became a member of the SIF Association Executive Board in 2008. In the UK he led the development of a SIF Association Community, supporting proof of concept and pilot activity in Birmingham and Northern Ireland, chaired the UK’s Technical and Infrastructure Working Group and was a founder member and co-chair of the UK management board. He is keen to further develop the links between the UK and US SIF Association activity, and welcomes the latest developments in Australia and the opportunities that these offer for further international activity with consequent benefits to the wider SIF community.
Paul has also represented Becta on the Information Standards Board for Education, Skills and Children’s Services, JISC Infrastructure and Resources Committee, and the JISC CETIS board.
He has been a governor at a primary school in Worcester since 1999, where he is currently vice-chair of the governing body, and chair of the finance sub-committee.