Ofsted (2011)

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Ofsted (2011) ICT in schools 2008–11. https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/110134.pdf (accessed 23-08-2012)

This report draws on evidence from the inspection of information and communication technology (ICT) in 167 primary, secondary and special schools between 2008 and 2011.

Commissioning and procuring the right equipment, infrastructure and software were becoming more challenging for the schools visited as their vision for ICT developed. Schools surveyed were engaging pupils, staff, governors and parents in helping to specify needs, but only a few had evaluated the effectiveness of previous investment or developed costed plans for rolling future investment.

Throughout the period of this survey laptops and many other handheld devices were increasingly available in large enough quantities to provide flexible and accessible ICT opportunities for teachers and pupils. Many schools had also improved their broadband connectivity, often investing in wireless networks to increase access. Students were very positive about these investments which they typically saw as ‘changing learning’ and enabling them to study more independently both at school and at home.

There had been a movement away from dedicated ICT suites to the more flexible deployment of laptops and specialist ICT equipment. In schools where teaching and learning in ICT was judged to be satisfactory or inadequate, pupils often had to wait for the opportunity to use the ICT suite for work in other subjects. In the more well-resourced schools seen, pupils were able to select with confidence the tools, software and media best suited to particular learning aims and activities.

A small number of schools were developing a new approach to the provision of equipment and software. These schools were encouraging pupils to use their own tablets or other devices. This was seen as a more sustainable strategy for the longer term which would reduce the pressure on school budgets while also fostering the engagement of pupils and their parents in learning at school and at home.

Schools were becoming more aware of all the ancillary costs of running substantial IT networks in addition to the initial purchase costs of equipment. Some schools were able to calculate the total cost of ownership of their plans. A small number of schools were investigating the potential benefits and savings in licence fees through remote hosting of data. Such a change might also make off-site access to the virtual learning environment more easily available to staff, pupils and parents.

Most of the schools were aware that those pupils and parents without access to a computer and connectivity at home would be disadvantaged in exploiting the full potential of the virtual learning environment. These schools were exploring a range of ways to assist these pupils such as through the Home Access scheme or loaning laptops.

A small number of examples existed of the use of handheld and touch-screen mobile devices. One school, in which ICT was judged good, had decided to invest especially in mobile technologies and a virtual learning environment, since 97% of its students had broadband access and this would enable the school to reduce its annual expenditure on fixed ICT equipment.