Information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008 This report is based on evidence from inspections of information and communication technology (ICT) between September 2005 and July 2008 in 177 maintained schools in England, as well as other visits to schools where good practice was identified. Part A describes the quality of ICT education in primary and secondary schools over this period. Part B considers how tackling assessment, vocational qualifications, value for money and resources might improve ICT provision.
Age group: 4–19
Published: March 2009
Reference no: 070035
Part A. The quality of ICT education8
Quality of provision19
Leadership and management24
Part B. Issues in ICT29
Assessment as a driver for improving ICT capability29
Re-thinking ICT qualifications and progression routes31
Is it worth it? Value for money judgements on ICT33
Getting ICT to the learning35
This report draws on evidence from the inspection of information and communication technology (ICT) in more than 177 schools between 2005 and 2008. The schools selected represented the range of schools nationally and included small, large, rural and urban schools from across England. Part A reports on the quality of provision of ICT in primary and secondary schools and its impact on achievement and standards. Part B explores four important areas that are central to developing ICT education in England: assessment; ICT qualifications and progression routes; direct access to ICT provision in classrooms; and value for money. The evidence from the visits to primary schools suggests a picture of improvement with rising achievement and standards, particularly at Key Stage 1. The pupils observed generally used ICT effectively to communicate their ideas and to present their work, but they were less skilled in collecting and handling data and in controlling events using ICT. Most of the primary schools ensured pupils received their full entitlement to the National Curriculum for ICT, although commonly the curriculum was not well balanced. Teachers tended to give more attention to those aspects of ICT where they themselves felt confident. At best, teachers integrated ICT carefully into the curriculum and it was helping to raise standards in other subjects. Good leadership and management made developing ICT a priority in these schools. Effective use of self-evaluation to inform investment in resources and training was driving the improvements which were seen. In the secondary schools, students’ achievement was good or better in 41 of the 92 schools visited, satisfactory in another 41 schools and inadequate in 10. There was a suggestion of improvement in the final year of the survey. The Key Stage 4 curriculum was inadequate in around one fifth of the schools visited; assessment was unsatisfactory in a similar proportion, and many students were following qualifications of doubtful value. Although students used ICT well to present their work, communicate their ideas and, increasingly, to manipulate and use a variety of digital media, standards in using spreadsheets, databases and programming remained low. Furthermore, teachers gave too much emphasis to teaching students to use particular software applications rather than helping them to acquire genuinely transferable skills. There was widespread use of more reliable resources but in some schools responses to some serious, long-entrenched failings were stubbornly slow. In a minority of the primary and secondary schools visited, higher-attaining pupils underachieved. This was particularly marked at Key Stage 4 where accreditation of vocational qualifications is based mostly on the assessment of coursework. Students were spending...