ICT in the Primary School
The nature of primary practice in ICT continues to evolve. The goal for
curriculum planning will be to ensure that the whole of the ICT curriculum
is taught. Schemes of work such as that provided by the QCA are well-supported
by additional materials from a number of publishers. Most primary schools
have a well-established reservoir of ICT activities developed by particular
teachers over time. These need to be brought together to form a clear
set of curriculum plans which cover the whole curriculum and which can
be delivered by all teachers to all their year groups.
The simplest way to deliver the ICT programme of study and apply ICT in other subjects is to timetable a period of ICT. This implies that an ICT suite
will be available for the whole class, but it is not impossible to timetable ICT in a situation with only one or two machines in the classroom. In this case part of the period
could be used for demonstration to the class (or part of the class) and then pupils
could undertake set tasks throughout the week. Splitting the class into 3 groups
would enable differentiation. Also, working with a small group of pupils
will ensure they will not have to wait too long to practice their skills. A similar way to spread this experience is to timetable ICT into a 30 minute slot but twice a week. Primary schools are
increasingly finding creative ways to schedule ICT work in
time that was initially fully devoted to literacy and
Although ICT needs to be a subject taught in its own
right, it is often more effectively delivered when the ICT is serving learning in other areas. Good links between ICT and other subjects are important. For example, ICT skills in "developing and refining ideas by bringing together, organising and reorganising text, tables and images" could be developed to support work in Comprehension and Composition in literacy.
ICT skills acquired in an ICT lesson could subsequently
support an activity in English. This could enhance the
learning that takes place in English and consolidate and
develop the ICT skills through their application.
The planning of an ICT scheme of work should ensure that
the ICT covers the full programme of study and allow
pupils to attain at the appropriate levels with each ICT
strand. Pupil's ICT work should be planned to allow them
to attain at the same levels within the ICT statement of attainment as they are capable of achieving in other subjects, such as maths and English.
Sometimes, when ICT is to be the medium for studying a subject,
pupils may be working at lower ICT levels than they have
previously attained. Although this is perfectly
acceptable, the opportunity exists to plan such lessons so
that pupils will be working at their level of capability
in both the subject and in ICT.
Curriculum planning should
seek to achieve a balance between developing pupils' ICT
skills and applying them to the learning that takes place
in subjects. Many schools do not get this balance
right. Logically, the purpose of developing a
capability in ICT must be to apply that capability. Yet it
is common for ICT skills to be taught in isolation, with
few planned opportunities for them to be applied to
learning in subjects. A measure of a well planned ICT
curriculum will be evidence that ICT skills learnt in ICT
lessons are having an impact on the quality of content and
presentation of pupils' work in subjects.
ICT offers a rich learning medium. The use of Integrated Learning Systems,
simulations, the Internet and CD ROMs for research are there to be used
to improve learning for particular pupils. Such activities should be
part of pupils' entitlement to a rich and varied learning experience.
In addition, regular opportunities to use ICT at home for school work
should be offered where pupils have access to ICT resources. A target
in every school's ICT development plan should be the facility for all
learners in the community to access the school's ICT learning resources
outside of school hours. The use of ICT at home and during the extended
day will become more commonplace with further developments in broadband
access and e-learning.
ICT in the Secondary School
The same principles apply to ICT in the secondary school.
In fact, it is important that schools view the development
of ICT capability as a continuum from the early years to
post-16. Ensuring progression has been a problem
with National Curriculum ICT up to this point in time, but
the National Key Stage 3 Strategy is likely to provide
practical solutions to this problem.
There are different ways to organise the
curriculum to ICT Capability. The most straightforward way to do this
is to identify and teach ICT lessons in each pupil's timetable. In addition
to pupils having an entitlement to develop ICT Capability there are
also statutory requirements for pupils to use ICT to study aspects of
other subjects programmes of study. With coordination, skills and techniques
acquired in one term from ICT lessons could subsequently be used to
enhance learning in another subject area. For example:
In order to address ICT in the National Key Stage 3 Strategy most
secondary schools are likely to consider timetabling ICT lessons through
the whole of Key Stage 3.
Pressure on curriculum time may mean that some schools will schedule
a mixture of taught ICT lessons and ICT developed and applied through
subjects. If such a choice is to be made then a priority might
be to ensure that pupils have ICT lessons when they start at the school.
This should give them a good grounding in the schools' ICT facilities
such as its network structure, establish or confirm the levels each
pupil is currently working at, and provide a solid set of ICT skills
for them to build upon at an early stage.
The National Strategy will focus schools sharply on meeting National
Targets for ICT levels by the end of Key Stage 3. Timetabling
ICT lessons in year 9 would provide greater assurance that pupils will
have experienced the depth of study and the coverage of the ICT units
necessary to achieve this.
At Key Stage 4 the picture of how ICT is organised is more varied. Rather
than recommend particular approaches it is easier to report on the variety
of approaches found. Many, but not all schools offer an examination
course to pupils in ICT. This is most often GCSE ICT but it may also
be a GNVQ. Applied GCSEs look likely to offer further opportunities
to use ICT at this Key Stage. ICT Key Skills are also offered in many
schools and a number now make this a compulsory element of the curriculum
at Key Stage 4. In some schools pupils start Key Skills in year
9 and complete it in year 10, thus freeing up time for ICT to support
other subjects in year 11. The National Grid for Learning (NGfL) target
of ensuring all school leavers have a meaningful qualification in ICT
is coming closer to reality as time progresses.
In a number of subjects teachers are making increased use of ICT and
this can provide a context for applying and developing pupils' ICT Capability.
For example, assignments, course work, or projects in a particular subject
can be developed so they also offer the opportunity to be accredited
for their contribution to Key Skills. Such opportunities are 'signposted'
in subject syllabi.
Working with and supporting
One of the key characteristics of a good ICT coordinator is the ability
to motivate and manage colleagues. Whether in a primary or secondary
school they will have the opportunity to work across the whole curriculum.
As the notes on planning indicate, delivering an ICT entitlement to
all pupils is complex. It can be achieved in a much wider variety of
ways than for most subjects yet requires a strong input from many people.
The need for an ICT Coordinator to work with and support other teachers
is an important part of the role. At the beginning, most staff will
have little previous experience of using ICT in their work and limited
technical skill. The NOF ICT training has served to build expectations
and teacher's confidence but support for teaching with ICT will need
to continue at school level if this national scheme is to have real
impact. Good interpersonal skills and a supportive, solutions-orientated
approach will be key qualities of the successful ICT Coordinator.
with teacher colleagues will cover a range of needs……
Helping them plan ICT lessons and sometimes simply providing lesson
colleagues from other subjects incorporate ICT in their lesson plans
and schemes of work
that these lessons are part of a coherent scheme of work for ICT which
they understand and can internalise
they can access and deliver the ICT elements of lessons by providing
support and training
ICT user groups - such as representatives from departments or year groups
- such groups will plan and ensure the delivery of ICT based activities
appropriate resources are available for all ICT activities - both by
managing resources, managing access to resources (e.g. booking systems
for ICT rooms) and by ensuring no activates are timetabled which cannot
with school senior managers to manage and help deliver in-service opportunities
as an effective interface between senior managers and staff with regard
As well as teachers ICT coordinators will probably need to work with
other colleagues. These include learning support assistants and technicians.
Working with learning support assistants (LSAs) has many of the same
support requirements as working with teachers. In addition, there are
a number of different roles for LSAs which could require additional
input. For example, they could be supporting pupils with particular
special needs. In any case there may be a need to help LSAs….
with specialist equipment
them manage the use of equipment in different lessons or other circumstances
them work with teachers in lessons
with small groups of pupils who are using ICT
ICT resources and equipment for use by pupils
Working with technicians also requires many of the same skills as working
with teachers. In addition there are a number of other areas…..
their workload and work schedule
their work and ensuring they are fully occupied and their work is of
and writing job descriptions
they can support teachers by ensuring all the resources are available
and working in their lessons
them identify areas where they need to work proactively - for example
identifying future lesson resource requirements