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Open computing curriculum will enable teachers to flourish, say Ofsted

Kayleigh Bateman

The best schools are the ones with an environment where teachers can flourish, according to Ofsted, commenting on the new openness of the computing curriculum.

Due to launch in September, the new computing curriculum will be replacing ICT lessons, however it has been widely criticised for being too short and lacking in guidance for teachers.

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Speaking at Bett Show 2014 this week David Brown, Ofsted's national lead for ICT, said he believes the best schools are the ones that enable teachers to work in an open environment.

According to Brown, 130,000 lessons were inspected last year and a quarter of a million schools are still considered inadequate. He said new inspection frameworks have raised the bar and only "good" is good enough now.

Brown explained the framework has undergone a few updates – one being the importance of e-safety awareness.

“I’m pleased to say every remit of Ofsted is being inspected and considered in terms of e-safety. Schools need to find a way of putting that into their core if students do not take computing at GCSE, to ensure it is still covered somewhere,” he said.

In addition the framework for secondary schools now includes inspections on careers to ensure information, advice and guidance is available.

UK schools shun Ofsted IT buying guidelines

Internal school politics are forcing IT buyers into purchasing under pressure and making decisions that do not follow official Ofsted guidelines, according to a report from Casio Projectors.

'The state of UK schools: IT Equipment, Budget Cuts and the role of Ofsted’ report found that pressure from colleagues, senior management and conflicting departmental priorities is leaving schools unprepared. Just one in 10 IT buyers (12%) said they base their IT and AV buying decisions "a lot" or "considerably" based on the guidelines laid out by Ofsted. 

Almost three quarters of those surveyed (73%) said the government’s budget freeze had casued them to experience IT and AV budget cuts and that it was causing pressure to mount in schools over IT spending.

The top sources of pressure when allocating their school’s IT and AV budget were site as 50% feeling pressure from senior managers and the schooling board, 47% feeling pressure from teachers, a quarter feeling it from conflicting department priorities and only 6% said they feel pressure from Ofsted guidelines.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said: “Although it is great that senior managers in schools have started to recognise the importance of IT buying and its impact on teaching and learning, the guidelines set out by Ofsted should not be overshadowed by pressure from internal management staff.

“It is important that IT decision makers are not peer-pressured when allocating their budget, so high standards of classroom technology in UK schools can continue and everyone can benefit from its use.”

Gemma Platt, product marketing manager at Casio Projectors, said: “With internal pressures and cut IT budgets placing increased pressure on IT buyers in schools, it is perhaps no surprise that a high percentage are not considering the long-term implications of their purchase decisions.”


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