Headlines: March 3rd, 2009

Some pupils are still not benefiting from improvements in the quality of school Information and Communication Technology lessons, in spite of Government investment and better planning in schools according to a report published today by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. It says pupils at all levels are not being challenged enough.

Inspectors found schools were making the subject a high priority for development and had improved leadership of the subject alongside two billion pounds of investment in new equipment and staff training. They report that the picture is more positive in primary schools while at secondary level standards in using spreadsheets, databases and programming were low.

The report, ‘The importance of ICT: information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools 2005/8’ says that in both primary and secondary schools many higher-attaining pupils were insufficiently challenged. At Key Stage 4 students on some vocational courses often spent time demonstrating what they could already do rather than acquiring new skills. The report says, too, that despite a statutory requirement, one in five secondary schools is still not making enough provision for students who chose not to take an ICT qualification.

Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said, “Students are enthusiastic about learning ICT, both in school and at home. Ofsted inspectors saw some great examples of students using modern technology to communicate and present their ideas,” and she added, “Schools must equip young people with the tools to ensure their employability. ICT needs to be given high status, both by the government and in individual schools, in line with its importance to young people’s future economic well-being.”

The report says assessment is the weakest aspect of ICT teaching and is inadequate in one school in five.