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GOVERNMENT'S ICT INITIATIVE CONTINUES TO PLAY IMPORTANT ROLE, SAYS SECOND OFSTED REPORT

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The government's strategy to boost the application of information and ...
The government's strategy to boost the application of information and

communication technology (ICT) in teaching and learning makes an

important contribution to ICT in schools but the associated training

for teachers has not yet had an impact in classrooms, according to a

second OFSTED report on the strategy, published today.

In April 1998, the National Grid for Learning (NGfl) earmarked£657m for the ICT infrastructure within schools and generic

training for teachers over a four-year period. In 2001, the NGfl

scheme was extended, with£710m of additional funding for

2002/04. From April 1999,£230m of lottery funds were made

available from the New Opportunity Fund (NOF) to help increase

teachers' competence in their use of ICT.

The report says that since OFSTED's first report, better publicity

and information for schools about the training scheme has resulted in

better understanding by teachers. There have also been some

improvements in the training, especially where providers have acted

on feedback from schools and from the Teacher Training Agency's

quality assurance advice.

As a result of these training improvements, especially where

providers have revised their materials, teachers have improved their

basic ICT skills and the extent to which it is used in classrooms has

risen. Pupils' ICT capability is improving throughout primary

schools, particularly in literacy, numeracy and other subjects. In

secondary schools, the incidence and quality of subject teaching

using ICT varies significantly. Where it is used, ICT has a

beneficial impact on teaching in four out of ten departments.

- There is now an unprecedented willingness in the teaching

profession to embrace ICT and newly qualified teachers accept ICT

as an integral part of their professional life. However, ICT has

continued to have a limited impact on teaching and learning in the

following respects:

- in approximately six in ten schools, the training has failed to

adequately tackle issues relating to the quality of ICT;

- teachers left to their own devices to use distance learning

materials in their own time, have often made little headway;

- a significant number of teachers still experience difficulty with

the technology;

- too many schools still have trouble in managing their ITC resources

and struggle to facilitate the full range of ICT work across other

subjects.

The report notes that effective NOF training takes place where senior

managers in schools take an active interest in teachers' progress,

where there is effective peer support, and where groups of teachers

meet for part of the training.

The report acknowledges an overall, positive shift in LEA support for

ICT but with weaknesses remaining in a significant minority.

The report concludes that there is scope for further developments and

improvements in the government's ICT initiatives.

It says there is a need at the national level to:

- set out broad intentions with regard to any future specific funding

of ICT beyond 2004 to ensure that recent advances in ICT resources

in schools are maintained;

- develop a long-term national strategy for broadband services to

include libraries, community learning centres, museums and

galleries alongside industrial, commercial and domestic uses;

- integrate training in the strategic management of ICT into the

national training programme for senior managers in schools, by

building on the pilot courses run by NCSL and BECTa;

- develop further the role of ICT in the national literacy, numeracy

and Key Stage strategies;

Chief inspector Mike Tomlinson said:

'It is encouraging to see the developments in ICT training and

teaching since the last OFSTED report. With more work and subject

integration, further improvements should be attainable.'

NOTES

1. ICT in Schools: Second Interim Report, Spring 2002, is available

from the OFSTED Publications Centre, Tel: 07002 637833; Fax: 07002

693274 or e-mail: freepublications@ofsted.gov.uk. It is also

available on the website .

2. This is the second OFSTED inspection report on ICT in Schools.

The first report was published in May 2001.

3. The inspection was based partly on the findings of OFSTED's

national programme of school and LEA inspections, but mainly on

visits to schools and LEAs by Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) and by

Additional Inspectors recruited by OFSTED specifically to evaluate

the impact of the initiatives.

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