Category Archives: Dave Smith

Improve pupils’ global awareness – and you might even get some cash too…

Dave Smith, ICT adviser at Havering School Improvement Services, shares the opportunities for schools to  connect withDave Smith others around the world.

  • Would you like to link with another country in Europe through ICT?
  • Do you have a desire to partner with a school outside of Europe?
  • Are you looking to enhance your provision for Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural?
  • Would you like some funding to help too?

Well, the British Council has some ideas that could help…

Schools with whom I work have had the pleasure of making some excellent links through international study visits, video-conferencing and linking programmes including strong relationships with Japan, Sweden and Italy amongst others.  The British Council has often been part of supporting the initiation of such links.

John Rolfe, schools marketing manager at the British Council, recently came to talk to schools who are part of the Havering International ICT Development Group to share the range of opportunities to link with schools in other countries. A fascinating talk from John provided lots of ideas about how to link with schools overseas – a great way to enhance the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) aspects of your school’s provision.

John shared various projects, including the excellent Connecting Classrooms programme.  Working in over 50 countries, Connecting Classrooms is committed to supporting partnerships between over 5000 schools in the UK and worldwide and to help over 30,000 schools to collaborate online. The programme comes with a £1500 bursary to fund inter-school activities and visits, as well as direct support from officers at the British Council to help to link you with a partner school.  You could take the opportunity to share ICT practice in your establishment with a partner school abroad and find ways to use free, online tools to work on collaborative projects as part of this too.

Working internationally to support global citizenship in the curriculum is a learning journey for schools and teachers. Connecting Classrooms has developed a range of face-to-face and online courses and workshops that are aimed at practitioners who are new to the international context and for those who are already actively engaged in school partnerships who wish to deepen their professional experiences. The programme also supports the very accessible and supportive Britsh Council International School Award accreditation framework.

The next deadline for funding applications is Monday 11 February and further information can be found at

John also spoke to attendees about the fantastic etwinning ( opportunity – the free and safe platform for teachers to connect, develop collaborative projects and share ideas across Europe.  We are aiming to hold an eTwinning workshop for Havering schools later in the spring term 2013 – again funded by the British Council.  We hope that schools will take this opportunity to make links through ICT and develop strong linking projects that will again enhance opportunities for pupils and help to strengthen their SMSC provision, hopefully helping them to achieve even better Ofsted inspection outcomes.

The British Council provides a superb collection of eTwinning ideas including a downloadable publication available at the following address

So, with these ideas in mind why not add the British Council at stand B353B to your visit planner at Bett. I’m sure that you will come away pleasantly surprised at the great opportunities available for pupils and staff alike.

Dave Smith is ICT adviser at the Havering School Improvement Services in London, England. Find out more at, or find him on Twitter at@haveringict or @davesmithict.


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It’s time to get connected through the ICT Mark Network

Dave Smith, ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services reflects on the launch of the ICT Mark Network.

Networking is the new CPD, sharing ideas for free and inspiring others need not cost.  The ICT Mark Network is a great new initiative from Naace and the organisers of Bett that provides financial and other support to help you to set-up a group of your own.

On Thursday 18th October 2012 I attended one of the ICT Mark Network launch events in London. With the participation of schools, local authorities and ICT Mark assessors, the event had a real buzz about it as Jan Webb of Naace and Joe Willcox of Bett Show organisers i2i Events Group explained the benefits of how to get started.

The ICT Mark Network provides a way for ICT Mark accredited schools to work with those aspiring to become ICT Mark accredited to share best practice in ICT. Additionally, the Network acts as a way to get more schools involved in the Self-Review Framework, applying for the ICT Mark and attending the Bett Show.

In austere times there are not many initiatives providing schools with start-up funds to help set-up a CPD network. The ICT Mark Network even has the benefit of a dedicated Network Co-ordinator to support you in getting started.

It really is simple…

1. Sign-up as an ICT Mark Champion

2. Plan a launch event in your school

3. Invite local schools to your event – a list of schools will be provided, as well as support telephoning schools and providing promotional materials

4. You can even get financial support for your event to help cover refreshments!

5. Sign-up your Group Members

6. Encourage continued networking and learning – with some great ideas for this provided by the ICT Mark Network Co-ordinator

7. Plan a group trip to Bett – again there is funding to help!

This was one of the best events I had attended in ages.  The attendees discussed ways in which they could share best practice – sharing specialisms, such as the use of tablet devices, learning platforms, open-source tools etc. There was excitement around the sharing of ideas across a wider geographical area, helping to plug the gaps in local authorities where there is no-longer organised school improvement services to host networks.

Joe went on to explain how there is going to be a dedicated area at Bett 2013 for ICT Mark Network members to share ideas and help signpost the exciting seminars and other free CPD events to further enhance whole-school improvement through ICT.

These groups will provide an important focal point for the sharing of ideas and the encouragement of schools to become ICT Mark accredited. Currently there are around 1200 schools with the ICT Mark. The ICT Mark Network can only help to ensure that more schools are accredited. For me that is a positive thing, as this can only serve to have a positive impact on pupil outcomes.

So there it is then. Now is the time to sign-up to the ICT Mark Network. Learn from everyone, share ideas and even receive support to get started. It truly is a great initiative.

For more details contact:

Dave Smith is ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services. You can find him on Twitter @davesmithict and @haveringict, or via email

 Visit the ICT in Havering Blog

The next ICT Mark Network events are taking place in November:

Telford Venue: Southall School, Rowan Avenue, Dawley, Telford TF4 3PX

Tel: 01952387600

Date: Thursday 1st November 2012

Time: 4.00 – 5.15pm

Cost: FREE

Refreshments included


Shropshire Venue: Woodfield Infant School, Woodfield Road, Copthorne, Shrewsbury, SY3 8LU

Tel: 01743 343812

Date: Thursday 15th November 2012

Times: 4.00 – 5.15pm

Cost: FREE

Refreshments included

Up to three delegates are invited per school. For more information or to book a place, contact Richard Smith, by emailing, or calling 07527 464322.


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Free to do what I want: That is the challenge!

Dave Smith, ICT Adviser for the Havering School Improvement ServicesDave Smith, ICT Adviser for the Havering School Improvement Services, offers his view on the changing world of ICT in education. 

It may be an overused phrase, but when it comes to ICT in schools the times certainly are a-changing. In fact there are probably more ICT challenges facing schools now than there have been in a whole generation.

Recent messages relating to the future of ICT in schools whilst making the ICT Programmes of Study and Attainment Target non-statutory, have certainly caused concern and excitement in equal measure. In addition, there has been a definite need for clarification and direction from the schools I have been working with.

Some schools are grasping the freedom to devise their own ICT curriculum; others are looking for structured materials to support it. Announcements and discussion regarding computer programming and coding means that many schools are looking at programming for the first time in at least a generation.

With this desire to refresh the ICT curriculum comes the challenge of ensuring that we still enable pupils to achieve future economic wellbeing. Changes to the English curriculum – a greater focus on phonics, spelling, grammar and punctuation for example is also causing schools and academies to focus on supporting ICT solutions. If we are to nurture pupils to earn well, our curriculum must offer them the necessary skills to do so.

It’s been interesting to observe Secondary ICT leaders adjusting to the changes in the Primary phase. Schools that were introducing Scratch software in Year 7, have to adjust their curricular offer to take account of children now being taught Scratch in Key Stage 1. Secondary leaders are also reviewing their exam offerings to put more emphasis on computer science.

In Havering we have worked with our partners at Rising Stars Publishers to develop a progressive scheme of work for ICT called Switched on ICT. From autumn 2012 it will deliver materials from Foundation Stage through to and including Key Stage 3. It is now being used in more than 1500 schools.

Budget restraints and the removal of ringfenced funding, is hindering ICT leaders in putting forward a strong case for further ICT funding, with learning platforms and online subscriptions often falling foul of the funding axe. Schools and academies also have to look more carefully at the equipment they already have, such as interactive whiteboards and visualisers, in order to make more effective use of them in teaching and learning. Interestingly, this means that there is an increased need for continuing professional development. However, refresh rates for hardware are not as regular as they once were. With RAM upgrades and reconditioned equipment being of interest to the more financially challenged. In addition, schools seem to be spending more on outsourced technical support to make sure their existing equipment works well. Cutting technical support is a perilous road to follow.

So, the challenges are there. Budgets may be tight, the support is different, the freedom is immense, and to some extent it is frightening. However, it is the educational establishments that show true impact on pupil outcomes that we need to look to. In the changing world of ICT, it is those that embrace the challenges that will be the leaders of the future. Those who close their eyes will be failing the leaders of the future. I’m ever optimistic and believe that we can build upon what we have and meet the challenges head-on. We owe it to our children and young people to embrace the present to secure a prosperous future.

For more news and views from Bett visitors and exhibitors, download 2013’s Bett Update

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The future is bleak, but get it right and the future could be bright…

Dave Smith is ICT Adviser for the Havering School Improvement Services’ ICT Team, Finalists in the ‘ICT Service and Support’ category in the 2012 BETT Awards. The Hsis ICT Team has co-produced ‘Switched On ICT’ with Rising Stars Publishers, Finalists in the ‘Innovation in ICT’ category too.  Dave is also Chair of the Visualiser Forum and Teaching Technology Group.

So, the world’s economy is teetering on the brink, the future is looking bleak, yet we still want to improve educational opportunities for our children. The latest UNESCO publication designed to help train teachers on ways to optimise the use of information and communication technologies in the classroom has been launched and emphasises that teachers need to be able to help students become collaborative, problem solving creative learners through using ICT so they will be effective global citizens.

Therefore, if we are to fulfil the aims of the UNESCO framework within the straightjacket of the current economic crisis, we need to look carefully at how we deploy educational budgets to enable our children to flourish for a brighter future. With this in mind, you might like to consider the following advice:

  • Ensure you have a fully costed plan of future and previous expenditure, showing analysis of impact of expenditure and total cost of ownership and outlining ‘non-negotiable items’ in case the financial axe has to fall
  • Make the best use of existing technology and dispose of unwanted software and hardware that might be costing you money to maintain
  • Reduce printing costs by using print credits and storing outcomes of work electronically
  • Make use of free and educationally rich Web 2.0 applications – check out BETT Awards Finalist for ideas on how to make effective use of existing tools and Web 2.0 applications
  • Review levels of technical support to ensure best value and look for additional free support from local partner educational establishments in order to pool resources
  • Engage with parents and carers as a source to support ICT provision – through a BYOD ‘Buy Your Own Device’ scheme. Checkout the e-Learning Foundation
  • Look for additional funding from commercial or charitable organisations

ICT in Havering –

Havering School Improvement Services –

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