The report shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been involved with ICT school improvement. Estyn have held up the mirror and confirmed what we already very much knew. It was quite a coincidence that I blogged about the need for a robust, reliable and resilient infrastructure within schools last Thursday evening, and then woke to a BBC Wales breakfast news report saying that this was the main finding of Estyn's report - spooky! For me, the other main highlight of their findings concerns the lack of ICT vision in most schools. Again, this is something that we have been finding in our recent discussions with schools. Even in schools who budget well and sustainably for ICT there is often a lack of vision around what they want ICT to achieve in their school, and very rarely (if ever) the impact it has on standards.
Here are my interpretations of the Estyn main findings. A primary school who uses ICT well would be one where:
- Pupils develop a full range of ICT skills by the end of KS2 (to include data handling and modelling).
- They use ICT to stretch the more able and talented.
- Pupils apply the skills learned in ICT lessons in other subjects.
- They use ICT to improve literacy standards in reading.
- They use video filming, editing and animation to improve pupils’ oracy, presentation, research and writing skills.
- They can show a link between the use of ICT and an improvement in standards.
Teaching and Learning
- Teachers use ICT to engage and enthuse pupils.
- Teachers are confident to deliver ICT the full range of the ICT programme of study in KS2.
- The ICT SoW is implemented effectively across the school.
- They assess and track pupils’ ICT skills against the NC.
- They have a good understanding of ICT standards.
Leadership and Management
- They have a clear vision for ICT.
- They have a clear determination to improve staff capacity, planning and provision for ICT.
- They ensure that all staff have the competence and confidence to use ICT well.
- They ensure there are opportunities for staff development in ICT that meets the learning needs of the pupils.
- They have an ICT plan that priorities key developments.
- They rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of their ICT plan against the impact on the pupils’ ICT or literacy and numeracy skills.
- They take a baseline assessment of pupils’ ICT skills before implementing a project or initiative.- In Welsh language schools they take the decision to turn on the Welsh language interfaces of key software
At the risk of sounding 'old school' to some people - engage with the NAACE self review framework. By fully engaging in the SRF all these Estyn findings get addressed. Nothing should then be a surprise to you when Estyn come knocking on your door.