Coaching

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
John Upham
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Re: Coaching

Post by John Upham » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:24 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:John,
Are you then criticising Andrew for awarding a contract (without a tendering process) to yourself and Ken?
No. The contract was drawn up by the CEO and David Anderton after much email ping pong.
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Matthew Turner
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Re: Coaching

Post by Matthew Turner » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:46 pm

Well the contract may have been drawn up by the CEO and David Anderton, but who 'awarded' it, wasn't that Andrew?
Isn't it more appropriate and professional for contracts of this nature to be subject to a tendering process?
I would also say that given the close friendship between Andrew, John and Ken, that Andrew would have been better off asking an independent panel to make the decision on the contract. Andrew could quite easily have picked an independent panel to get the result he wanted, but it would have just avoided the charge of nepotism.

andrew martin

Re: Coaching

Post by andrew martin » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:59 pm

Are you or anybody else, making that specific charge ?


Andrew

Matthew Turner
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Re: Coaching

Post by Matthew Turner » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:34 pm

Andrew,
I'm sure that had Charles Wood awarded a contract to his close friends then you would have been the first to criticise (and rightly so). John and Ken are excellent people to carry out work for the ECF, but the process by which they were appointed seems to me to be not correct. If you define nepotism as favouring people who are near to you, then it appears Andrew Martin is accusing you of nepotism

"It also made sense to me to work with people with whom I could easily meet"

The problem that I see is not one of nepotism, but that you don't have a defence against such a charge.

andrew martin

Re: Coaching

Post by andrew martin » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:45 pm

OK, here's my final thought.

A Director is supposed to make decisions in the best interest of the organisation he is working for at all times. Nobody else wanted to even come near this job and I only took it to try to get the sets into schools and to help.

If I made mistakes, I'm sorry. If I asked Ken and John to help it was my naive idea to build a team and to try to be efficient given my severe constraints on time.

I hope you can accept this point of view,because its now time to rejoin my life.

Andrew

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Coaching

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:26 pm

I have to agree with Matthew since this particular project should have been advertised
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Carl Hibbard

Steve Henderson
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Re: Coaching

Post by Steve Henderson » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:15 am

I also agree, it should have been advertised.

Mind you the ECF board at a meeting asked council to server what was then the ECF Forum, D Anderton proposed and GW seconded it, and they didn't have that on the agenda, so it seems they just do what they want to. I know it should be in another thread :)

William Stimpson
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Re: Coaching

Post by William Stimpson » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:31 pm

I've spent a while reading the posts here and have finally reached the point where I think I must comment. If someone is appointed a Director of a specific area then he must be allowed to direct and not have to organise commitees to appoint two people for a contract. Since I doubt we are talking about multi million pound sums I do not see that having to find, recruit and wait for a commitee to appoint to people to do a job is worthwhile or efficient. Given the project was, at the time, needed urgently I simply cannot understand the necessity to waste electricity accusing Andrew Martin of nepotism.

Paul Stimpson
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Re: Coaching

Post by Paul Stimpson » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:04 am

William,

Sorry your arguments are pretty weak.
If someone is appointed a Director of a specific area then he must be allowed to direct and not have to organise committees to appoint two people for a contract.
I don't think going out to tender requires a committee. Advertise the job, invite tenders with an agreed timescale, review bids, job done. The ECF have done this before with grading, so it's not new.
Since I doubt we are talking about multi million pound sums
Irrelevant really, Most organisations would tender any outside contract of this size. It wouldn't be cost alone but also fitness to do the work in an agreed timescale, support to be provided etc etc.
Given the project was, at the time, needed urgently
No evidence to support this at all. John said he would be in user acceptance testing in March/April, I can't see many sets going out of the door by then can you? So a month delay on this by tendering would hardly have affected anything would it? Actually it would give a bit of breathing room to see how the supply of sets pans out.

Don't get me wrong I'm not criticising Andrew, I fully accept he was acting in the projects best interest. However like Matthew said and I fully agree, the problem is it's difficult for Andrew to look impartial if he appoints people who are directly employed by him in outside business interests (AMCA) if there is no clear transparency in the process.

I also happen to know there is a least one established Web based Chess Software for Schools that may or may not have been perfect for the ECF to have used. All of the coding is already done, it has been actively marketed at Schools, though I am unsure of it's penetration. It may have been possible for the ECF to have embarked on a joint venture and it may not have cost the ECF a penny. It may also have been pretty crap but it never got a look in.

For those interested the link is http://www.chesspod.com/preview/

Steve Henderson
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Re: Coaching

Post by Steve Henderson » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:47 am

Paul Stimpson wrote:
I also happen to know there is a least one established Web based Chess Software for Schools that may or may not have been perfect for the ECF to have used. All of the coding is already done, it has been actively marketed at Schools, though I am unsure of it's penetration. It may have been possible for the ECF to have embarked on a joint venture and it may not have cost the ECF a penny. It may also have been pretty crap but it never got a look in.

For those interested the link is http://www.chesspod.com/preview/
Because chesspod is still in the final stages of development, we are currently offering a discounted rate of £250 for the year to schools and chess clubs. :shock:

John Upham
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Re: Coaching

Post by John Upham » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:53 am

Steve Henderson wrote:
Because chesspod is still in the final stages of development, we are currently offering a discounted rate of £250 for the year to schools and chess clubs. :shock:
I believe (and I'm not the authoratative source on this) that CoM will be more granular than this. An exam will be charged at £5 regardless of the location or circumstances of the examinee. An individual will be able to take any number of exams at £5 a time.

I can't see too many clubs (or schools for that matter) paying £250 unless I'm very much mistaken.

CoM :

Each examinee will get a different set of questions per exam but chosen appropriately for the level of exam they are taking.

If a group of children sit the exam at the same time in the same room they will get a different set of questions in a different order. Attempts at a collaborative effort will yield little reward.

When they display each question it will be timestamped and their response (correct or otherwise) will be timestamped.

I will record the IP address (and HTTP USER AGENT etc) of their session. (Schools will probably only advertise one IP address of course).

We can then analyse what time the exam was taken and from what location and with what browser etc.

All of this will enable us to learn quickly about the usage of the system and where improvements can be made.

I anticipate CoM will evolve and improve with time.

New material can be easily injected into the questions database and bad material can be removed.

There will be no use of paper allowing the system to be dynamic and scalable.

If someone is determined to cheat by sitting the exam for someone else then so be it : how sad and pathetic if this is the case.

J.
Last edited by John Upham on Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Richard James
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Re: Coaching

Post by Richard James » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:16 am

Also to remind everyone about chessKIDS academy (http://www.chesskids.com) which currently provides a free chess service to both schools and individuals. I am working on a new and greatly improved version of the site, along with accompanying books, but as I've also been working on other projects progress is currently slow.

However, I am interested in working closely with anyone who is interested in developing it as a commercial product.

Paul Stimpson
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Re: Coaching

Post by Paul Stimpson » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:20 am

John,

You have quoted my name on Steve Henderson's post. Let me get something very clear that I have no connection or affiliation with ChessPod whatsoever. It was just put up as an example of what is currently available. Of course Richard James is also involved with an Internet Learning resource for kids and schools so could have been consulted or allowed to tender as well.

I agree that £250 seems very excessive to me also, but I guess if the ECF talked to the ChessPod guys they may get a better understanding of the model and take up. At the end of the day though the point is that no research seems to have been conducted in this area by the ECF, it looks rushed. Even if all other avenues were not pursued after the research at least the ECF would have a good understanding of what's currently available.
I believe (and I'm not the authoratative source on this) that CoM will be more granular than this. An exam will be charged at £5 regardless of the location or circumstances of the examinee. An individual will be able to take any number of exams at £5 a time.
Is this going to be practical in the real world? I know from my son's school that the teacher running the chess club has to get authorization to spend the £30 entry to the UK Chess Challenge. I would imagine some kind of yearly fee that incorporates the exams might be better. £5 a test seems reasonable but this could quickly rise to a high level of cost for a school if the take up is very good.

Given a lot of schools already punt £30 to Basman for the UK Chess Challenge I honestly can't see Schools paying more than £50 for a year on something like this. I could be wrong of course!

John Upham
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Re: Coaching

Post by John Upham » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:35 am

Paul Stimpson wrote:John,

You have quoted my name on Steve Henderson's post. Let me get something very clear that I have no connection or affiliation with ChessPod whatsoever.
Steve,

Sorry about that. Just an editing mistake on my part. I've corrected the offending post.
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William Stimpson
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Re: Coaching

Post by William Stimpson » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:25 pm

Back to the original subject,

I was intending to start a chess club at the primary school my son attends. The ECF listed a package of materials and here a CoM is mentioned, will I be able to obtain some formal qualification awarded by the ECF?

Will

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