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The school ICT policy

'Policy' - a course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous

A school's policy for ICT will describe the school's approach to achieving the vision for ICT.
The components of a school's ICT policy are described by Becta as including : strategic management, curriculum organisation, equal opportunities, curriculum administration, human resource management, physical resource management, management information system and evaluation.

Developing a whole-school policy for ICT
This section lists the issues that need to be considered and suggests sample wording.
The ideas here should be adapted to ensure that the policy is appropriate and relevant for your school.

Writing an introduction
Consider - who is the policy for?
  new members of staff
  parents and the local community
  external agencies and organisations

Consider - what do we wish the policy to achieve?
  To ensure all staff understand and agree on the approach to ICT
  To assist planning and promote development
  To explain the school's position to outsiders
  To assist the governors in the allocation of funds

Sample Wording
"This policy document sets out the school's aims, principles and strategies for the delivery of
Information and Communication Technology. It will form the basis for the development of ICT in the school over the next five years. This policy was developed in the spring term 2002 by a staff and governors' working party chaired by the ICT coordinator. It was formally adopted at a staff meeting on 1st June 2002.
Reference is made to the School's Assessment and Health and Safety policies. Full details of our software and hardware resources and maintenance procedures are included in the staff handbook."

The significance of Information and Communication Technology
Sample Wording
"Information and communication technology (ICT) prepares pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. Pupils use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning; with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to best effect, and consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future."
(National Curriculum for England DfEE/QCA 1999)

Consider - what is the scope of 'information and communications technology'?
Sample wording
"We interpret the term 'information communication technology' to include the use of any equipment which allows users to communicate or manipulate information (in the broadest sense of the word) electronically."

The school's aims for ICT
When deciding on the school's aims for ICT, internal, local and national factors should be considered.

Consider - what internal factors will influence your aims for ICT?
  the school's general aims
  the NGfL vision statement
  the school development plan
  special features of the curriculum
  strengths and interests of staff

Consider - what local factors will influence your aims for ICT?

  LEA targets
  school partnerships
  intake characteristics
  support available for, for example, special needs

Consider - what national factors will influence your aims for ICT?
  National Curriculum requirements
  OFSTED, e.g. feedback from inspection
  national training targets
  national standards targets

Sample wording
" The overall aim for Information and Communication Technology is to enrich learning for all pupils and to ensure that teachers develop confidence and competence to use Information and Communication Technology in the effective teaching of their subject.

Information and communication technology offers opportunities for pupils to
Develop their ICT capability and understand the importance of information and how to select and prepare it.
Develop their skills in using hardware and software so as to enable them to manipulate information.
Develop their ability to apply ICT capability and ICT to support their use of language and communication.
Explore their attitudes towards ICT, its value for themselves, others and society, and their awareness of its advantages and limitations.
Develop good Health and Safety attitudes and practice."

The school's curriculum organization
(A description of how the school uses a scheme of work and assessment methods (reference to the QCA units and/or the Key Stage 3 strategy)

  How will the school deliver the National Curriculum ICT requirements?
  How is ICT capability developed through subjects or ICT lessons?
  How does ICT support and enrich learning across the curriculum?
  How does ICT contribute to cross-curricular themes?

Sample wording- Primary
"Once a term a class will work on completing one or two units of work based on the QCA Schemes of Work. (This will be the objectives not necessarily the activities listed.) The study will last for half a term (see whole school overview).

Individual QCA units are used to form the basic medium term plans on which are highlighted: health and safety, SMSC, Key Skills etc. Adaptations are made to ensure the plan is progressive in developing pupil capability. These are used as working documents to identify time markers, additional resource needs and to indicate whether optional activities have been undertaken. Once a unit has been completed, the planning sheet will be evaluated by the coordinator and class teacher, to inform future planning.

Each class is allocated a time in the ICT suite to accomplish their ICT scheme of work units. This scheme is integrated to ensure that delivery of ICT is linked to subjects and takes on board the statutory requirements of other national curriculum subjects. Each class is also allocated additional time in the computer suite to apply the use of ICT to other subject areas. A half-termly timetable is displayed within the ICT room for staff to sign up for additional time where appropriate.

Individual machines in classrooms support the development of ICT capability by enabling further development of tasks from the ICT room; encourage research and allow for the creative use of ICT in subjects. This is highlighted in the ICT plan and in subject plans.

Each class is split into approximately three equal groups. Each group is taught the relevant skills appropriate to their ability. These sessions are delivered weekly for approximately 20 minutes. (The same one hour a week is thus spent teaching ICT to the whole class) Practise of this teaching is then planned into various lessons during the week. The contexts/activities will change for the different groups but the ICT objectives will remain the same, thus accomplishing the ICT scheme of work units. This scheme is integrated to ensure that delivery of ICT is linked to subjects and takes on board the statutory requirements of other national curriculum subjects. "

Sample wording - Secondary
"Children arrive in school with variable ICT experiences: the systems are different and sometimes the software is different. We view these prior achievements as an advantage and aim to build on them.
ICT lessons are taught in all years In addition ICT Capability will also be delivered within subjects in every year group. The ICT Coordinator, in discussion with Heads of Department, will timetable the use of the school resources to ensure this will happen.

A skills and techniques curriculum from the QCA schemes will be the basis of the ICT curriculum and this will be built upon by applied use in subjects - eg
Year 7 ½ term ½ term ½ term ½ term ½ term ½ term
ICT Using ICT Information and Presentation Models: rules and investigations Data: designing structure etc. Processing text and images Control: Input, process and output
Cross-curricular ICT through Eng History Maths Geog RE

Year 10 and 11 GCSE IT
All pupils study a short course GCSE (Key skills ICT). There are three option groups for pupils to study a full Applied GCSE.

(Describe here how ICT is used in subjects at KS4)

Sixth form
A programme of flexible modules, targeted at experience and requirements, is available to support subject delivery. Eg a module on the use of ICT to analyse statistics. A level ICT will also be offered.

ICT is organised in the school through working within the scheme of work which is based on the National Curriculum programmes of study."

Curriculum Management
These are some responsibilities relating to ICT, which need to be allocated

managing the implementation of ICT policy
ensuring staff access to ICT
ensuring continuity between year groups
ensuring ICT progression
liaison with feeder and/or receiving schools
purchasing/organising ICT resources
identifying the ICT support needed by staff
arranging in-service support
reviewing the ICT policy
assessment of pupils
meeting statutory requirements
curriculum development
overseeing equipment maintenance
health and safety policy and practice

Sample Wording
"The Subject Leader will facilitate the use of Information and Communication Technology in the following ways:
By updating the policy and scheme of work;
By ordering/updating resources;
By providing INSET so that all staff are confident in how to teach the subject and have sufficient subject knowledge;
To keep staff abreast of new developments;
By taking an overview of whole school planning to ensure that opportunities occur for pupils to develop an information and communication technology capability and that progression is taking place;
By supporting staff in developing pupils' capability;
By attending appropriate courses to update knowledge of current developments, and by keeping links with the Advisory Team for Information and Communication Technology;
By contributing to the School Improvement Plan on an annual basis
By management of the technician if available and communication of problems to NGfL team.
Making sure all staff understand system for logging faults and use of the Internet/email
Monitoring the curriculum
Maintaining records of software licences and their deployment."

Curriculum Enhancement
Sample Wording
Through the scheme the school promotes pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, key skills and other aspects and the general teaching requirements: use of language, and health and safety."

Access to ICT
How is ICT equipment deployed in the school?
Is provision made for pupils to use ICT equipment outside lessons?
Are pupils able to use ICT equipment unsupervised?
Are there open-access areas such as the library?
Is there a loan scheme for portable equipment?
Are staff able to take home portable equipment for preparation and practise?

Sample wording
"The school has a computer network room which is timetabled for classes throughout the week
Each class base is equipped with two computers on trolleys which are also linked to the main network.
They are moved into adjacent areas to extend provision when the
class to which they belong is working elsewhere.
Additionally there is a bank of laptops which link to the computer network by wireless technology.
All computers will be equipped with hard disks on which a suite
of core software is installed to enable functionality when equipment is detached from the network."


How does the school ensure that all children have opportunities to use ICT according to their needs?
How does ICT help to give children with special educational needs access to the whole curriculum?
How does ICT support gifted children?
How are gender issues handled?
What account is taken of pupils' use of ICT at home?

Sample wording
"All pupils, regardless of race or gender, shall have the opportunity to develop ICT capability. The school will promote equal opportunities for computer usage and fairness of distribution of ICT resources. Children with a computer at home are encouraged to use it for educational benefit and parents are offered advice about what is appropriate.

Efforts are made to ensure that text created at home can be transferred to a classroom computer once a teacher has been notified. The school will monitor the level of access to computers in the home environment to ensure no pupils are unduly disadvantaged. (Groupings for computer usage should generally follow the same pattern as for all lessons. It is appropriate to match pairs of equal ability, rather than have a more able ICT users always guide a less able pupil. This generally leads to passivity and dominance. However it is appropriate to plan to have peer tutors for some lessons where the objectives also enable the more able user to learn by specifically teaching).
Positive images of computer use by people of both sexes will be promoted. The school recognises the advantages of the use of ICT by children with special educational needs.
Using ICT can:
address children's individual needs
increase access to the curriculum
enhance language skills
Staff should structure their teaching materials to match a learning difficulty. If the situation arises, the school will endeavour to buy appropriate resources to suit the specific needs of the child."

Recording, assessment and reporting
How does practice with ICT reflect the school's policy on recording, assessment and reporting?
What additional demands do you take account of?
Do you keep a school portfolio of work in ICT?
Is the portfolio hard copy or electronic?
What mechanisms are there for moderated assessments - agreement thrilling?
How much, if any, evidence of individual ICT work is kept? For how long?
Do you have an agreed format for record keeping?
How are student assessments reported to parents?

Sample wording
As the class teacher works through the scheme of work they will record progress against the short-focused tasks where appropriate and assess the children's progress in the integrated task. This assessment will be used to support teaching and learning. Assessment will be based on some, most and further in line with QCA recommendations.

Some evidence is to be kept. This may include a description of the context and an explanation of how the pupils completed the task. Photographs, discussion, saved work and printouts (if any were produced) of differing pupils work. This will be known as a Portfolio of Exemplar Assessments and will accompany the children throughout their time at the school. It will be based on the advice on the national curriculum action site.

ICT work will be marked in line with the school policy on marking.

For reporting purposes, which will be at the end of Key Stage xx, a level of each pupil's ICT capability will be given. This will be based on the attainment target level descriptions."

Monitoring and review
How is current practice monitored to ensure that the existing policy is implemented?
How is ICT teaching monitored?
How is planning monitored?
How is marking monitored?
How is ICT use monitored?
How are schemes of work reviewed and developed?
How are staff development needs identified?
How and when will the ICT policy be reviewed, and by whom?

Sample wording
Monitoring is carried out by the headteacher (member of senior management) and the ICT coordinator, in the following ways:
Informal discussion with staff and pupils
Observation of ICT displays
Collection of class ICT files
Looking at the work in their individual paper files or notebooks
Classroom observation

There is an annual review of this policy by the ICT coordinator
A major review involving all staff will take place every three years."

Health and Safety/Security
Give reference to legislation
Refer to common school practice
Include security of equipment
Make reference to security of Internet use

Sample Wording
"Before being allowed to work in the computer suite(s) all children are made aware of the arrangements if they hear the fire alarm. A copy of the evacuation route and location of fire extinguishers can be found on the wall of the suite. Portable equipment will be checked annually and computers three-yearly under the Electricity at Work Regulation 1989.

Children will also be made aware of the correct way to sit when using the computer and the need to take regular breaks if they are to spend any length of time on computers. Computer Room Rules are also on display within the ICT room for reference along with specific rules for the use of Internet and E-mail. The school also has a 'Responsible Use of The Internet Policy' document.

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1 January 1993), European Directive deals with requirements for computer positioning and quality of screen. This directive is followed for all administration staff. Whilst this legislation only applies to people at work we seek to provide conditions for all children which meet these requirements.

Computers and televisions/videos are covered at night and are either stored in cupboards or taken home by staff during holiday periods. The school has an alarm system installed throughout. Each computer system has individual security against access to the management system. The files and network system are backed up regularly. The virus checker is updated regularly."

Copyright and licensing
This will need to be referred to - but there is a need to check LEA policy. All software loaded on school computer systems must have been agreed with the designated person in the school.

Is all software used in strict accordance with the licence agreement?
Personal software should not be loaded to school computers.
The school must agree to respect the intellectual ownership of software.
Refer to Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and 1991 European Software Directive.
(These will usually be embodied in a separate detailed school policy).
Give reference to web sites and the Internet - NGfL policy should encompass this

Possible Appendices:
Hardware and software resources
Assessment sheets
Acceptable use policy/letter to parents
Computer room rules



Useful Links

  What is a primary ICT policy? (Becta)  

Downloadable files  
  Notes on structuring an ICT Policy