Headlines: April 15th, 2002

OFSTED, the schools inspectorate, has sounded the alarm bell that the relationship between teachers and technology is in trouble. Pupils get on well with technology and so do newly qualified teachers.The problem lies with their more experienced colleagues. Funding is not the problem. Not only has the budget for infrastructure and training been increased, but lottery funding has also been made available through the New Opportunities Fund.OFSTED believes that there is an unprecedented willingness in the teaching profession to embrace technology, but so far there has been little effect on teaching and learning. In six out of ten schools training has failed to adequately tackle issues relating to the quality of technology. Where teachers have been left to their own devices to use distance learning materials in their own time, they have often made little headway. A significant number of teachers still experience difficulty with technology. Too many schools still have trouble in managing their technical resources and struggle to use technology across the full range of subjects. There is also criticism of the minority of Local Education Authorities who give week support for developing the use of technology.

The inspectors found that training is most effective 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.

OFSTED urges the Government to look at technology funding beyond 2004 and to devise a strategy which takes account of the advent of broadband services to include libraries, community learning centres, museums and galleries alongside industrial, commercial and domestic uses. It also would like to see training in the strategic management of technology integrated into the national training programme for senior managers in schools.