By Bob Harrison
TTeacher ICT confidencehe recent announcement from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) that a partnership between the Open University and e-skills would try to stimulate a “step change” in the professional development of teachers in the use of ICT (see A4C report) could not have been more timely according to a new report published by BESA (British Education Suppliers Association).

An analysis of the online responses from 770 primary and 572 secondary schools across the UK suggests that teacher confidence and competence has dipped by almost 10 per cent in primary and secondary schools. Another alarming finding, and justification for the DCSF £5.6m investment in the ICT/CPD project is that the percentage of teachers receiving ICT training in 2009 is down by 10 in primary and a worrying 20 in secondary schools.

More than 80 per cent of teachers say that "limited access to ICT is affecting their use of ICT in the classroom”.

The report suggests that the declining provision of school ICT suites and desktop computers continues in favour of mobile, portable and wireless provision although only 34 per cent of schools feel they are “well equipped with laptops”.

Bandwidth and connectivity continue to improve although a worrying statistic emerging from the report suggests that while 73 per cent of primary schools reported “good pupil access to the internet” in 2006, this declined to 58 per cent this year. Secondary schools show a similar  decline from 73 per cent in 2008 to 64 this year.

More information

BESA summary report
Report on the Open University/e-skills ICTCPD project

Bob Harrison is an education consultant who works with the National College for School Leadership, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency and Toshiba UK.

You can read his blog on the Futurelab Flux website