Tag Archives: funding

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. http://www.unescobkk.org/education/ict/online-resources/databases/ict-in-education-database/item/article/unesco-ict-competency-framework-for-teachers-version-20/

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 http://www.risingstars-uk.com/series/switched-on-ict/ 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 http://www.e-learningfoundation.com/
  • Look for additional funding from commercial or charitable organisations

ICT in Havering – www.haveringict.edublogs.org

Havering School Improvement Services – www.havering-sis.org

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Whole New World

Ray Barker from BESA (the British Educational Suppliers Association) provides an insight into the current state of the education sector.

The past year has brought a ‘whole new world’ to the teaching profession. With the arrival of the coalition government in May 2010 came an end to the Building Schools for the Future programme, the removal of ring fenced funding, especially for ICT and a slow elimination of the power of local authorities to name just a few changes.

However, it has been the more recent renewed focus on the core subjects with the introduction of the new English Baccalaureate that has possibly had the greatest effect on the secondary school teaching profession.

The speed with which it was introduced and the fact that secondary schools are to be measured on their Baccalaureate grades before they knew they were to be assessed in this way has left schools feeling that the ‘goal posts’ have been moved without any guidance and training.

And it is this lack of mandatory, high quality, continuing professional development that is virtually unique to England.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education’s recent inquiry into ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy’ raised concerns on several of the government’s recent policies including a lack of CPD. In the USA for example, teachers are expected to attend conferences and exhibitions in order to take part in professional development and learn about the latest resources and approaches.

Evidence gathered from 584 teachers, 32 education associations and suppliers and 1400 National Education Research Panel (NERP) members highlighted the fact that very few professions train their members to qualify without further mandatory developmental training year on year.

We do of course have INSET days but the APPG inquiry suggested that at times these days are used inefficiently and ineffectively.  The alternative is for CPD to happen externally which involves further expense in supply cover, at a time when schools are feeling the pressure of budget cuts.

The APPG report raised the fact that initial training cannot provide all the knowledge and skills that an individual will need for their entire career.  The lack of CPD challenges professionalism and does not provide the best value for our education system. 

However, what we do have in the UK is possibly the greatest opportunity for teachers to maintain their CPD each year, from some of the country’s most experienced and eminent speakers, namely BETT. Every year in January nearly one hundred speakers provide some of the highest quality CPD available, at a minimal cost of £15. In addition to this, BETT has only maintained its incredible level of global success for nearly three decades because sector suppliers exhibiting at the show focus on offering training and advice on their particular products or services, rather than pure sales.

In our time of budget constraints and constant policy change it is vital that teachers have access to good quality professional development (CPD) at a low price.

Make sure you book your ticket for BETT 2012 at www.bettshow.com. For full information on the APPG literacy enquiry please visit www.besa.org.uk.

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