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Defining roles

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."- Peter Drucker

The Leadership role
Leadership with ICT begins at the top. With significant levels of expenditure made on ICT resources the rationale for decisions needs to be clear and developments need careful monitoring. This is not something that can be devolved to a corrdinator.
In regard to ICT investments, school senior managers should be able to demonstrate the relationship in their school between the investment made on ICT resources and improvements in learning quality and standards.

School Leadership with ICT is an education programme for headteachers (SLICT) from the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). This programme is designed to support headteachers in the further development of their leadership role for ICT.

The programme aims to:
  enable school leaders to develop their understanding of the use of ICT for improving school effectiveness
  enable school leaders to develop their understanding of the role of ICT in improving teaching, learning and pupils' achievements, both in ICT capability and when using ICT as a tool in other subjects
  enable school leaders to develop their own ICT capability in order to improve their personal productivity, in relation to their leadership roles
  examine the leadership and management implications of managing ICT in schools in order to maximise pupil/student outcomes.
  examine strategic development planning for ICT developments in school in accord with local and national strategies;
  give school leaders information time and space to review and develop their vision for ICT and its role in relation to their schools.

Each of the above elements can therefore be assumed to describe an aspect of the role and responsibilities of the headteacher in regard to the development of ICT in the school.

Effective ICT programmes in schools are promoted by leadership at all levels. Heads of Department have a particular role to play in promoting ICT development, professional development and curriculum development in their subjects. The prime responsibility with ICT is to assure that statutory requirements for the use of ICT in across subjects, and the entitlement of pupils to National Curriculum ICT across each key stage, are fulfilled.

The Coordination role
TeacherNet describes the role of ICT Coordinator as follows:

"ICT coordinators have a number of roles within a school. They highlight areas for the development of ICT within the School Development Plan, as well as coordinating the purchase and maintenance of equipment, software licences, renewals of filtering and virus protection software. There is also some responsibility to audit staff training needs and provide suitable training opportunities. An important part of the job concerns disseminating relevant information on integration of ICT into planning the curriculum. There is also a level of interaction with other staff members as the ICT coordinator has to keep up-to-date with development issues and keep colleagues abreast of any changes. The ICT coordinator also acts as a role model using ICT skills in everyday work."

However, in 'ICT in Schools - the Effect of Government Initiatives', Ofsted found that:

"The coordination of ICT demands a considerable range of expertise, requiring good ICT understanding and knowledge, technical skills and the ability to provide professional support. Too many demands are placed on some ICT coordinators, most of whom have a full teaching commitment and few opportunities for monitoring the subject adequately across the school. In recognition of the demands of the role, larger primary, middle and secondary schools increasingly have more than one member of staff involved in the coordination of ICT."

Hence the role of ICT Coordinator should involve the coordination of activities and developments described by an ICT development plan, in a climate where individual responsibilities for ICT at all levels for ICT have been previously agreed.
Team approaches to developing ICT, supported by senior management are most likely to be an effective approach in what is a systemic area of a school's work.

Coordination and leadership should go hand in hand in moving developments towards a defined vision. There should be opportunities for progress to be discussed upwards and downwards between the ICT Coordinator and SMT, and the ICT Coordinator and subject leaders.

The role and duties of an ICT Coordinator should be the subject of negotiation and review. However, the role is likely to include contributions towards staff development, management and leadership, curriculum planning, resources, and teaching and learning. A tool to review the balance of priorities is included below. A key question for discussion of this will be: "Which duties will have the greatest influence upon achieving the school's vision for ICT?"


Useful Links

  The Strategic Leadership in ICT (SLICT) web site

Downloadable files  
  A tool to determine the priorities of the ICT Coordinator's role
An example description of the role of an ICT Coordinator (Hampshire)