Ofsted inspectors found that the teaching of ICT in many schools is inadequate. The problem is particularly acute in secondary schools.
The latest Ofsted report has found that achievement in information, communication and technology (ICT) was inadequate in almost a fifth of the secondary schools visited. Inspectors found that how well pupils did in secondary schools was adversely affected by the lack of challenge for more able students and poor coverage of key aspects of the ICT curriculum.
The report, ‘ICT in schools 2008-11’, found that although ICT was good or outstanding in over two thirds of primary schools visited, the position was less positive for secondary schools with just over a third of the secondary schools in the survey judged good or outstanding.
The report draws on evidence from the inspection of ICT in 167 primary, secondary and special schools between 2008 and 2011. The ICT curriculum and qualification routes provided by nearly half of the secondary schools surveyed were not meeting the needs of all students, which reinforces concerns raised in Ofsted’s previous ICT report.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Miriam Rosen , said:“ In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, young people need to be given the opportunity to learn ICT skills in an interesting, challenging and relevant way.
She added:“Schools should provide a range of ICT courses that are suitably matched to students’ needs, support them with their learning and prepare them for higher education and for skilled work in a technological age.”
In 30 of the 74 secondary schools visited, nearly half of students reached the age of 16 without adequate foundation for further study or training in ICT and related subjects.
The teaching of ICT was outstanding in three of the secondary schools visited and good in 32, but it was no better than satisfactory in just over half. Where teaching was no better than satisfactory, the use of assessment to track pupils’ progress was poor, which led to teachers and pupils lacking an understanding of current performance and what was needed to improve. It also meant that sometimes students repeated work from previous years.
In both primary and secondary schools there were weaknesses in teaching more demanding topics such as databases and programming, highlighting the need for schools to provide subject-specific support and professional development to improve teachers’ confidence and expertise.