SIF Association UK 2011 Annual Meeting

Day one of the SIF Association UK 2011 Annual Meeting has come to a close. Highlights were from Warwickshire County Council’s Emma Gelfs on using SIF to facilitate efficiency gains and an improved customer experience with free school meals data. And the South West Grid for Learning’s (SWGfL) Ian White on Merlin and in particular the lessons learnt so far!

I presented an overview of how SIF and Shibboleth are in place to deliver a “pluggable” infrastructure in Norfolk with key outcomes to:

  • Enable choice
  • Make switching simple
  • Improve data accuracy
  • Advance security
  • Leverage efficiency gains
  • Save £money
  • Put the learner at the centre

Some helpful insights for those starting on the SIF path are:

  • Have every Management Information System (MIS) publish all SIF data and let the Zone Integration Server(s) (ZIS) handle what services and applications have access to what data.
  • Try to stick to one Zone per school.
  • Let the application drive and not the SIF Agent.
  • Get your data agreements bottomed out and in place.

How well does SIF fit with this Coalition Government’s priorities?

  • It is tailor-made for localism and local improvements – choice!
  • SIF can reduce burdens such as the school census.
  • Parental choice and engagement are ripe for SIF facilitation.
  • There are great efficiency gains to be had.

I’m excited about day two – particularly an update from the Department of Education’s Chief Information Officer, Tim Wright, discussing SIF in the context of Government strategy…

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